Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel by Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: St.Martins Press
Source: From publisher for review
Release Date: Oct. 25th, 2011
A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite.
It’s the perfect time for a zombie read, isn’t it? Halloween is just around the corner, spooky decorations are going up, and AMC’s The Walking Dead’s Season 2 premiered on Sunday night. Yep, perfect! If you’ve been following the blog for a while, it’s no secret that I’m a pretty rabid Jonathan Maberry fan, so when I got a copy of Dead of Night, it was all I could do not to drop my current read and dig in. Dead of Night is a zombie novel. It even says so right on the cover, but don’t expect your usual zombie fare. Dr. Herman Volker has been on a mission: a mission to punish those like the heinous killer that ravaged his mother and sister so many years ago. A retired government project called Lucifer 113 fit the bill rather nicely, so it’s a good thing that Volker had a hand in its development. When a savage serial killer is set to die by Dr. Volker’s hand, he sees an irresistible chance for vengeance. Lucifer 113 is injected into the killer, and his body is set to be buried in a pauper’s grave. This isn’t quite what happens though. An aunt no one knew existed orders the killer’s body be returned to her for burial, so Homer Gibbon is sent back to the small town of Stebbins. This will turn out to be a very unfortunate turn of events, first not only for mortician Doc Hartnup and his cleaning lady (who’s timing is just terrible, seriously), but for the entire town of Stebbins. A nasty, nasty virus is on the loose, and it’s turning its victims into rotting, slavering spitting corpses that just want to eat, and eat, and eat. Homer Gibbon isn’t quite like the other monsters though… He’s much, much worse.
Dead of Night’s narrative mainly goes back and forth between Officer Dez Fox and her partner J.T, and reporter Billy Trout and his camera man, with some interludes involving military and the upper levels of US government. Dez and Billy have a longtime, fiery, on again, off again relationship, and Billy would like nothing more than to be back with the woman he loves, yet Dez has spent her life pushing away anyone that really cares about her. Both of her parents died very young, and J.T. is very much a father figure to her. Dez is one tough cookie, though, and when the government begins to turn on the inhabitants of Stebbins, Dez may be their only hope. Meanwhile, Billy Trout is uncovering the horrible truth about the virus that is taking over the townspeople one by one. Dead of Night has man of the traditional zombie elements that fans have come to expect, but with Jonathan Maberry’s deft touch and relentless pacing, the story jumps off the page and takes a bite out of you from page one. These aren’t your run of the mill zombies, either. These are far more horrible than the usual mindless, ravening creatures. I won’t tell you why, because that’s a big part of the story, but suffice it to say that Maberry brings humanity to Dead of Night, just like he does in his Joe Ledger series, and some parts are simply heartbreaking. Zombie and horror fans won’t want to miss this, and even if it’s not your usual fare, I urge you to give it a try, because, in my opinion, it’s really hard to go wrong with anything that Jonathan Maberry writes. Horror and thriller elements combine explosively in a book of zombie apocalypse that you won’t soon forget!
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