Dead Living by Glenn Bullion is definitely going on my top ten list of best zombie novels. It starts off with a tight focus as a man struggles to reach his wife, who is in labor with their first child, as the dead start coming back to life with a vengeance, and an appetite for human flesh. A small group of survivors band together and head for the proverbial hills. Then the novel jumps to twenty or so years later and to a new, larger group of survivors who have fortified a school complex to live a spartan existence. The two main characters, Aaron, the baby born at the start of the novel now grown up, and Samantha, a twenty-something girl who has seen the worst man has to offer prior to reaching the school sanctuary, are polar opposites. Aaron is kind, gentle, and trusting. Samantha is a solitary loner who sees herself as a hired gun. If you want her help, you’re going to have to pay the freight. I don’t want to spoil the ride for you, so pick up a copy of the book to find out more. There’s some great twists that kept my mind spinning and gave me new food for thought on the zombie apocalypse.
Why else should you read it? The pace is amazing. I opened it on my Kindle, just to get it to the top of my reading list, read the first few lines and couldn’t put it down. The characters are well drawn, sympathetic, and, generally, restore my faith in humanity. In particular I liked Samantha, the solitary, bloodthirsty enjoyer of zombie killing. She wasn’t portrayed as the type of cardboard cut-out, action figurine female that too often shows up in zombie novels. She’s intelligent, has the capacity to change, and, in spite of what life has thrown at her, she keeps trying to survive.
The book reviewing duties at the Zombie Emergency Rescue Organization are shared with another staffer and lately I’ve felt that the other reviewer always seems to get the heartwarming stories while I get total gore and massacre. Not that I’m complaining, the zombie apocalypse is not a pretty sight, but sometimes one needs to root for the humans to survive. Dead Living made me feel that again.
Yes, there are villains. Yes, there is treachery and double-crossing. But, overall, the characters in this novel are the people I’d like to spend the zombie apocalypse with. Now, enough reading, go buy the book Dead Living by Glenn Bullion.