I think I have said it before on this blog, I tend to avoid zombie books like, well like the plague. It's a genre that has seemed to invade every writers list, just like vampire books. (Which I love, but don't get me started on that.)
Than every once in a while a book like this one comes along, and it changes my mind. This book lands on top of my short list of zombie books I have been able to read, and to love. Part Walking Dead, part Warm Bodies, and in a world all it's own, my friend Lori Whitwam has knocked it out of the park. Take a look:
It should be easy to tell who the monsters are in the middle of a global zombie pandemic…
The blank-eyed swarms of animated corpses who want to gnaw on your flesh. Well those are the obvious choice, of course.
In reality, though, it’s not always that simple.
In the early days of the global zombie pandemic, Ellen Hale learned a brutal lesson. While trying to survive the hordes of zombies, Ellen was abducted by a band of marauders and subjected to abuse almost beyond her ability to endure.
She is broken both mentally, and physically, and fears she is on the verge of becoming a monster herself…
Until she is rescued by a growing band of survivors and given a second chance.
Ellen is taken to “The Compound”. Where she meets ex-convict, Quinn.
He’s everything she’d ever been taught to fear, but his presence is the only thing that makes her feel safe.
Will she be able to look past his rough exterior and learn to trust him? Or will the memory of the men who subjected her to such sadistic horrors ruin her chance at a new life?
So what makes this book different? The focus is less on the zombies, and more on the humans. What we get is a look at society in the face of change. A social experiment of adaption that focus on how we survive, what changes, and what stays the same.
When Ellen gets separated form her brother in the early days of the pandemic, she is forced into a world of servitude that most could never fathom. Worse, it's at the hands of humans. While the zombies wage attacks outside, Ellen is faced with the fight of her life to survive her captors. Where do we draw the line on the anything goes when the world is ending mentality? Crime still happens, and people still exploit one another.
After being rescued, she finds herself in a cooperative environment where surviving humans have banned together. She also finds herself dealing with PTSD, trust issues and a new found drinking problem. It's bad enough to confront these issues in a normal world, never mind one where death comes knocking for you, in the quise of flesh eating zombies, at any minuet.
Enter Quinn, the ex-con with a heart of gold, and a habit of rescuing Ellen. Can she learn to trust him? Learn to live again? And can she learn what her place is in the new world the survivors are creating?
To me this book is entirely about Ellen. Her growth, her strength, her flaws, and her ever changing outlook. Whitwam gives us a strong female character who isn't afraid to show her flaws. She is raw, she is real, and she grabs you into the story. Told from Ellen's point of view, this is her testament on the apocalypse, and it is worth your while.
I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it. Beware it deals with adult themes and is recommended for 17+ due to language and sexual content.
Lori spent her early years reading books in a tree in northern West Virginia. The 1980s and 90s found her and her husband moving around the Midwest, mainly because it was easier to move than clean the apartment. After seventeen frigid years in Minnesota, she fled to coastal North Carolina in 2013. She will never leave, and if you try to make her, she will hurt you.
She has worked in public libraries, written advertising copy for wastewater treatment equipment, and managed a holistic veterinary clinic. Her current day job, conducted from her World Headquarters and Petting Zoo (her couch) is as a full-time editor for indie authors and small publishing houses.
Her dogs are a big part of her life, and she has served or held offices in Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees rescues, a humane society, a county kennel club, and her own chapter of Therapy Dogs International.
She has been a columnist and feature writer for auto racing and pet publications, and won the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Award for a series of humor essays.
Parents of a grown son, Lori and her husband were high school sweethearts, and he manages to love her in spite of herself. Some of his duties include making sure she always has fresh coffee and safe tires, trying to teach her to use coupons, and convincing the state police to spring her from house arrest in her hotel room in time for a very important concert. That last one only happened once—so far—but she still really, really appreciates it.
You can find Lori here:
Lori Whitwam Official Author Website: http://www.loriwhitwam.com
Lori Whitwam, Author, on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/loriauthor
Lori Whitwam on Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/loriwhitwam
Lori Whitwam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ripleygold
Lori Whitwam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4696047.Lori_Whitwam
*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for a fair review. *