Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: Apocalypse of the Dead

Joe McKinney, 2010, Pinnacle

Two years: that's how long it's been since the hurricanes flooded the Gulf coast, and the dead rose. The cities were quarantined, the infected contained. But now a boatload of refugees has made it out of the quarantine zone - and the horror is unleashed again. As civilisation falls, disparate groups of survivors find themselves converging upon a single refuge, deep in the North Dakota Grasslands. But is this place, run by a self-appointed preacher of fierce conviction, truly the sanctuary it appears..?

A loose sequel to McKinney's excellent Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead contains all the same elements that made the former title such a brilliant read. The plot canters along at great pace, and - while certainly 'ticking the box' on many familiar zompocalyptic themes and tropes - remains fresh and engrossing thanks to a cast of unique characters and McKinney's focus upon issues and elements previously only touched upon in previous zompocalyptic fiction.

In short, Apocalypse of the Dead is a great addition to the genre: familiar enough to please those readers who prefer not to reach too far beyond the Romero template, sufficiently inventive and original for those who look for something new. A very satisfying read indeed.