A new flu strain has been spreading across Africa, Europe, and Asia. Disturbing news footage is flooding the cable news channels. People are worried. People are frightened. But Zed Zane is oblivious.
Zed needs to borrow rent money from his parents. He gets up Sunday morning, drinks enough tequila to stifle his pride and heads to his mom’s house for a lunch of begging, again.
But something is wrong. There’s blood in the foyer. His mother’s corpse is on the living room floor. Zed’s stepdad, Dan is wild with crazy-eyed violence and attacks Zed when he comes into the house. They struggle into the kitchen. Dan’s yellow teeth tear at Zed’s arm but Zed grabs a knife and stabs Dan, thirty-seven times, or so the police later say.
With infection burning in his blood, Zed is arrested for murder but the world is falling apart and he soon finds himself back on the street, fighting for his life among the infected who would kill him and the normal people, who fear him.
Going to eat at his mother's house and beg her for rent money is not high on Zed's list of fun days out-neither is finding her mauled and his zombie stepdad biting him. After passing out from the fever of the infected bite and ending up arrested for murder, Zed is in jail when all hell breaks loose in town. Even if he can escape, is there anywhere safe?
I liked Zed. He is the original anti-hero, a guy who is a bit of a waster and scrounges money from his parents, and knows pretty much nothing about surviving prison or zombie apocalypses. He has no clue how to identify a brand of weapon never mind use a gun, which is refreshing, or how to hot wire cars. He relies on Murphy to help him escape. Murphy is a great character and I get the image of Michael Clarke Duncan(The Green Mile, Armageddon)when I think of him. Zed and Murphy are well developed characters who aren't superheroes, who get things wrong and who get into trouble. They are believable and real, and this is part of why I liked the book. You are certainly rooting for them, which is a must in a zombie book!
It's not easy to find a different kind of zombie plot without it going too far away from traditional zombies, but this book has something different. There are those who are infected and die straight away, coming back as zombies. Then there are those like Zed who survive the initial infection-'slow burners' who aren't zombies but they aren't fully human now either and nobody knows when they will turn so nobody trusts them. Slow burners can evade the zombies in some cases but not in others which was intriguing. We get a small bit of back story on the outbreak in Africa without info dumps or lots of scientific stuff-for the most part Zed and the reader are both guessing about what else is happening with government and infection rates.
The plot itself is good. This is a zombie book that is FULL of zombie attacks and dangerous situations, sneaking around looking for supplies, rescues, crazy plans...all the things you want in your book. The action sequences are well written and explosive and there is a good mixture of gore and tension throughout. I'm hoping to get a look at the second part depending on price but I recommend this to traditional zombie and horror fans.