Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book Review: Dead City

"These aren't your mother's zombies..." boasts the tagline on the front cover of the novel Dead City by Joe McKinney.

I'm not sure about that-- seeing as how my Mother knows nothing about zombies; but in the off chance the zombie apocalypse does happen I'm pretty sure it'll play out something like this novel.


Eddie Hudson is a beat cop in San Antonio, Texas. His day starts out pretty normal enough. His wife, April, has called the office to nag at him again about being on the night shift. While he's on the phone with her he gets a call from dispatch about a fight in the city. Eddie goes to investigate. When he arrives at the scene the "fight" isn't like anything he's ever seen before.

Nothing is slowing down the mob of people that appear to be shambling toward the police. Not tear gas, not bean bag rounds, not even bullets to the chest stop them. When the cops begin to be brutally attacked it's only then that Eddie realizes that something is terribly, terribly wrong.

These people are infected. Living in post hurricane conditions  have caused a virus known as necrosis filovirus, and these people are infected. Only the deadly virus doesn't kill them. Well not completely. They are instead reanimated as the living dead.

In all the chaos Eddie can't locate his wife and his young infant son, but he'll do anything to get to them back safely.


I found Dead City and Flesh Eaters (the third book in this series) in a secondhand bookstore. I'm not sure why their previous owner would want to part with them, but for my sake, I am so glad they did.

This. Book. Was. Awesome.

While the plot isn't the most original (there's only so many times authors can write about the zombie apocalypse before some of the stories start to blur together),  the story is chock-full of action and suspense. I was literally on the edge of my seat reading this novel. There were times when I felt like yelling at the characters while I was reading, almost like I would do if I was watching TV. Yes, sadly I am one of "those" people.

Dead City is a zombie apocalypse novel ala Walking Dead with a touch of Left 4 Dead thrown in for kicks. I loved it so much I lent it to my friend and told her she HAD to read it.

There's just enough blood, gore, and zombie kills to make it a pure zombie "slash 'em up" novel but there also a good amount of zombie ethics to make the story have an emotional tie to it as well. The uninfected recognize that the zombies were once their loved ones and some even have a difficult time killing them.

There were a number of things that I liked about the novel. One was how realistic the characters' reactions are to the situation going on around them.

Eddie is scared, genuinely scared. He has no clue what to expect. All he knows is that the world is going to hell around him and he has to survive for his wife and son. I found this particularly satisfying, especially since I feel that many zombie apocalypse stories get it all wrong.

Eddie's reaction is logical. It makes sense.

I'm no expert but if you saw a bunch of rabid looking people walking down the street, I'm not so sure your first thought would be to just start shooting like you walked straight out of a Resident Evil movie. You'd probably be terrified out of your mind first.

Once you calmed down a bit and tried to make sense of what was going on, you'd probably want someone like Marcus on your team.

Marcus, a cop in Eddie's precinct, is definitely one of my favorite secondary characters. He added some comic relief to the story. While I liked Eddie's character, he was a bit of a straight and narrow kinda guy. He sees the zombies, but he's more opt to run away or hide than fight. Marcus is the kinda guy you'd want to be stuck with during the zombie apocalypse--the guy that's a little too trigger happy and ventures right into the thick of the zombie hoard just so he can have something to do.

I wasn't the biggest fan of April's character. She's the annoying, nagging wife who just nags for the sake of nagging. I hated her character from the minute she spoke to Eddie on the phone in chapter one and my opinion of her just didn't get better. She's always on Eddie's case even though he seems like a more than decent guy who's just trying to do the best for his family. Halfway into the novel I was hoping she would run into a group of zombies and become human mince meat. Too much? Sorry.

One thing to note however, is don't get too attached to anyone in this novel. No one is safe, but given that this is a zombie apocalypse novel you should know that by now.

All in all, Dead City is a fun take on the zombie apocalypse and a good read to keep you sane between waiting for new episodes of The Walking Dead. Now to just get Apocalypse of the Dead.

Rating: 5/5

Dead City is the first novel in the Dead World series. Apocalypse of the Dead and Flesh Eaters are the second and third novels in this series.


  1. Thanks for posting this! I'm definitely getting these books!

  2. Glad to! As a fellow zombie enthusiast, I think you will definitely appreciate this series!

  3. Apocalypse of the Dead was one of my favorite Zombie Apocalypse audiobooks last year. Dead City was also great. Flesh Eaters was probably my least favorite of the 3, but I still liked it.

    It's funny, I hated Marcus. I thought the character was well done, but I hated him. He sort of reminded me of Dewey from Southland, good for a laugh, but someone who causes as much grief as he solves.

    Joe McKinney has a really interesting guide to "The Dead World" books on his site.

  4. Bob- I'll have to check out the guide. Thanks for telling me about it!

    With zombies being the "new vampires" it's hard to find decent novels that keep your interest. I feel like I hit the jackpot with these. I can't wait to read the next two.

    While I did like Marcus, I agree he does seem to constantly get Eddie into trouble that probably could have been avoided. But he is entertaining, I'll give him that.



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