Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: August 4th, 2020
It begins with one body.
A pair of medical examiners find themselves battling a dead man who won’t stay dead.
It spreads quickly.
In a midwestern trailer park, an African American teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly-risen family and friends. On a US aircraft carrier, living sailers hide from dead ones while a fanatic makes a new religion out of death. At a cable news station, an anchor keeps broadcasting while his undead colleagues try to devour him. In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak preserving data for a future that may never come.
Everywhere, people are targeted by both the living and the dead.
We think we know how this story ends.
We. Are. Wrong.
Before he passed away in 2017, horror movie legend, George Romero, had been working on a novel titled The Living Dead, which would have brought his epic zombie saga from film to page for the first time. Sadly, he never got to complete his manuscript, but author Daniel Kraus has been able to bring it back to life using his notes. And overall, I think Romero would be quite pleased.
With its 656 page count, The Living Dead is a beast. As you can guess from the premise, in addition to loads of zombies, there’s also a large, diverse cast of characters and backstories. Kraus wisely keeps the chapters short and tight though, which makes it easy to follow. My favorite character, hands down, is Etta Hoffmann, the autistic researcher and chronicler of the zombie apocalypse. She is unquestionably the heart and soul of this story. While in the beginning, everyone is separated, fighting their own battles, once they’re brought together, the plot really takes off. My one criticism is that this could have been edited a little, particularly in regards to the numerous details included as part of the multiple backstories, yet aren’t really necessary in making the characters memorable. But honestly, this is a very minor complaint. Despite its length, I finished this in three days. When real life interrupted I found myself longing to return to my reading.
In my opinion Daniel Kraus has done the legacy of George Romero proud, and I believe most purists will be pleased even with changes like switching the timeline from the sixties to present day. It has all the classic zombie gore Romero fans would expect, along with fascinating characters you’ll connect with, and an absolutely thrilling storyline. I HIGHLY recommend this to the legions of fans who admire Romero’s work, as well as anyone who appreciates a well-told horror tale that will keep them up reading late into the night.