Rhys Thomas’ ON THE THIRD DAY is a philosophical meditation on death wrapped in a viral apocalypse in which the victims suffer from existential dementia and often become violent, attacking others. I really enjoyed this one; it goes way beyond the standard formula for an end of the world novel. The people inhabiting the book are interesting and real, the book has a lived-in feel, the ruminations on death are engaging (although kind of depressing), the action is interesting, and the apocalypse is realistically portrayed in stages, with most people trying to cooperate instead of instantly forming raging biker gangs. My only complaint was the narrative loses its way at the end–there is an intentional effort by the author here (to what I can’t say to avoid a spoiler), but it didn’t work for me. That is a small complaint, however, that otherwise did not dampen my enjoyment of this rich, imaginative novel.
Great interview with Joe McKinney at Missions Unknown. His zombie novel APOCALYPSE OF THE DEAD is up for a Stoker Award. Congratulations, Joe! And thanks for the shoutout in the interview, I appreciate it!
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD co-creator John Russo is not as famous as George Romero, and has had a huge impact on the horror genre. He later worked on the RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD series. In 1974, Warner Books published his novelization of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Now it’s available with RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD in a single volume titled THE UNDEAD.
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD did not capture my interest but the 1974 novelization of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is amazing. The story is dramatically retold in a way that is faithful to the classic film that started it all but also completely fresh and, in many ways, more exciting, fun and realistic than the film. Recommended.
Great trailer for Jeff Carlson’s PLAGUE YEAR. His PLAGUE series is hands down one of the best, if not the best, post-apocalyptic trilogy I ever read.
If you like your fiction dark, violent, thought-provoking and providing a convincing portrait of the end of the world, you’ll love the fantastic authors and books on this list, just a few of my favorites.
Just finished COMES THE DARK, a survival horror novel by Patrick D’Orazio. I had fun with it. It reminded me of David Moody’s AUTUMN in that the zombies are literally rotting off the page. The world is realistic, lived in, smashed to pieces and almost hopeless. With its basic survival plot and extreme gore and violence, it serves as excellent meat and potatoes zombie fiction for fans who like their read bloody.