Thursday, 12 July 2018

Book Review: The Last Flag by Wren Cavanagh

What would you do to pay the bills; to survive, or to just get rich, would you compete against other teams in a quarantined town filthy with zombies wanting to bite out your throat?
Emma and Lewis sign up for the race, they need the money to save his life. But they won't just be racing the dead, the surprise blizzard or the other contestants.

Because anger and vengeance know no bounds and like everyone in the blighted town they become pawns in a game of retribution.

The contestants become nothing more than live entertainment to viewers who watch and judge their every move in the town of Prideful as they race each other to arrive alive to a final flag. The team that makes will get airlifted out alive and go back home richer for it, the others walk back to a pittance and if they are not careful. They won't get out at all. 

My Review: 
50 blocks of gaming area, 50 square miles, 2 days, over 500 undead, 3 flags and a life changing sum of money if you survive and win. This is the new game show by Fats Whitford and his team. They have emptied a town of human life, and built fences to contain the zombies. They have hidden various flags around the town and each team must seek out three flags each worth $500 000 before going to the highest building and grabbing the last flag, which then guarantees victory, a massive payout and a helicopter rescue. Lose and you will  forfeit your flags to the winners, enjoy a hike out to the fences for rescue or get eaten.

It is three months after the zombie apocalypse begins but for the most part, it is being contained and life is going on much as normal. Fats and his team are determined to exploit the sudden interest in zombies and secure high tv ratings before interest begins to drop again or the scientists find a cure. This is The Last Flag. They recruit four teams of people who want or need the money to change their lives and who are willing to take the risks of battling zombies to get it. Each team has three members except for the Pines who are taking both of their children into the game zone. Each have a reason for being there-money to pay medical bills to save someone's life, getting rich quick or similar. But all of them have underestimated the danger.

This was a fun read! I love my zombies and I was never going to be able to resist having zombies in a game show format. If this game was real you can bet I'd be watching it on a Saturday night because I'm a twisted kind of person! I liked the idea of the game being used to get ratings while zombies were the in thing, because you just know that certain tv networks would do just that, caring more about ratings than the well-being of the contestants. I also liked the setting, in that although there had been a zombie outbreak, it was pretty much under control and life was continuing. It was nice to see a zombie book that didn't go into the end of society, but instead had the authorities fighting back.

The format of the game was fun, as was the flipping between the various teams as they each close in on a flag, only to discover that the task is not as easy as they were led to believe. Teamwork and quick thinking soon become the order of the day, but individual glory and cheating are never far away with some of them. I liked following the character who sprained an ankle just getting out of the helicopter, knowing that this would put him and his team at risk from the zombies and made it tougher for that team to win.The idea that someone would take two children into the game is pretty sick, but made interesting reading. There were also the gung ho risk takers who were so reckless that you were just waiting for something bad to happen to them. My sympathies were really with the camera men and women who had to go round with each team to capture all of the action.

The characters themselves were interesting. I liked Fats although he was trying to make money out of misery but I'd liked to have seen a bit more of him during the show. There were a couple of characters that I was rooting for and a few that I wanted to see die before the end of the game. In this kind of book I have more tolerance for horrible people as I can look forward to the hope that they will be eaten! Characters like that in a horror game show are good for the story. I was interested in the 'zombie' who was starting to think for herself and looking to get help as the game played out around her. Another interesting sub plot was the employee who blamed Fats for all her problems and had a plan to bring him down.

The one issue I really had was the editing in the book which was not the best. This can be a problem with Indie and self published books so I can usually let that go and just enjoy the story. I'd like to get the paperback but I'm a bit wary in case these editing issues were not fixed before going to print. Don't expect award winning literature as you won't get it but you do get some good zombie action, death, betrayal and a couple of twists to keep things interesting. It is like a b movie on the SF channel-it's not oscar material but it is a fun way to pass some time and get an entertaining zombie romp out of it. 

Overall I liked the book and would probably read it again at some point. I will also be looking out for any sequels that might come along.

Read March 2018.
3.5 stars.


  1. Well, this looked like another one I was going to be tempted by until you mentioned the editing.

    Oh well, win some, lose some I guess.

    1. I did still enjoy the story-a bit of mindless zombie fun!