First a postive one from Patrick Dorazio...
"I read a lot of zombie fiction. Just take a gander at my reviews over the past couple of years on Amazon and you will see that 95% of them are zombie fiction. No, this is not all that I read, but typically it is what I review ever since I got on my zombie reading kick a couple of years ago. I have enjoyed zombie movies for many years but I have taken it upon myself to try to read as much zombie stuff as there is available via Amazon more recently.
In this genre there are plenty of graphic novels, a small select group of mass market stuff, a wider array of product published by the likes of Permuted Press, which is a strong genre house that has produced some really solid zombie epics...and then there are the self published works.
I have read many of those, even the ones that previous reviewers have given ample warning that I should not even be considering because of their horrible editing, uninteresting storyline and atrocious character development. I enjoy zombies enough that it seems not to matter at the outset; my craving for stories of the undead seemingly unsatiable, although I have to admit that I really regretted forging ahead with some of the really horrible self published garbage out there.
Not here, not with this book. This one is definitely a keeper. I was hesitant at first. Why? Perhaps it is because of the my own confusion surrounding who wrote this book. It seems obvious that Tony Monchinski wrote the book, cops to it twice here on Amazon, but created an indepth fabrication as to who Tommy Arlin is. I was not sure about that but I can appreciate it as sort of the author's attempt at creating a pen name with a wink and a nod at the reader.
Tony does a bang up job with this story. He does change the writing style part way through but while I got used to quick automatic beat of the words early on I was able to settle in to the more traditional way he writes further on.
Our story centers around a high school principle named Harris who lives in NYC as the zombie plague breaks out. We follow him and numerous other folks that interact with him at one point or another, through his experiences after the zombies come and up to and beyond his time in Eden, a walled in fortress in Queens where a group of survivors are trying to survive and thrive as best they can. The story jumps backwards and forwards on different time tracks, giving us various perspectives and unveiling bits and pieces of the puzzle and mystery that is this story which starts out with our main character bitten and already cognizant that in less than 24 hours he will be dead and rising from the dead to become one of repulsive fiends he hates so much. This little tidbit is not giving away any secrets: we know within the first couple of sentences that Harris has been bit and we go from there. He wants to find out what human being allowed this to happen to him and get to them before he dies.
The story is a bit disjointed with the shifting time frame that allows the author to reveal both minor and major details at his own pace, not allowing us to understand the whole truth of things until the very end. It is a bit confusing but I was certainly able to keep track of it all, enjoying the pace the storyteller was able to set.
The author does a good job coming up with a few "tweaks" to the zombies themselves in addition to having a good story to tell. The undead can be slow, fast, screamers or silent and there are even a few "brains" amongst them, the true predators of the breed. They are smart enough to know how to hunt humans down more effectively and are, by far, the most disturbing of this new breed. If I were to be critical, it would be that we did not really get to see any of them in action during the book, or so it seemed. If you are going to create new varieties, use them. Not a big criticism by any means though.
I thought the author did a great job in describing the rapid breakdown of New York with plausible military intervention and government reaction to such a unthinkable catastrophe. Individuals come and go in the book but are not treated as extras but rather as solid human beings even if their fate is an abrupt and painful one. It is clear that our author knows the city and knows its people and uses this knowledge to great advantage here.
Solid character development, great tone and flow of story, and overall another worthwhile ride into the doomed world of the zombie apocalypse."