OK....well maybe I don't LOVE Zombies, but I love the genre!! Starting with the cheesy Romero movies, all the way to the new "Dawn of the Dead" and "28 Days Later", I have a passion for them. But I have to say, I haven't read a lot of Zombie books. Enter Monster Island by David Wellington (288 pgs, Thunder's Mouth Press). This is the first in a trilogy of Zombie books that Wellington originally published online.
Some time in the very near future, the Epidemic hits our planet. What is this epidemic? We never find out: but it causes the dead to rise again. Dekalb used to be a weapons inspector for the UN working in Africa. After the Epidemic took his wife, Dekalb and his daughter were captured by a band of female rebels in Somalia, led by Mama Halima. Normally, a man wouldn't have a chance with this group of females. But Dekalb has special knowledge that the Somalians need: he can lead them to the UN hospitals. Mama Halima needs AIDS medication. After a lengthy search through many of the countries in the area, no meds are found. All the hospitals have been raided. There is only one place Dekalb can think of that will have the much needed medical supplies: The UN Headquarters in New York City. With his daughter being held as collateral, Dekalb and a band of teenage school girl rebels set out on a ship and sail halfway around the world to find the drugs.
Now we meet Gary, a man who used to be a doctor in the city. Gary decided the old philosophy "if you can't beat them, join them" was the only way to make it. With his medical training, Gary felt that the reason the Zombies were so slow and stupid is because of a lack of oxygen to their brain when they dead and before the reanimated. So Gary hooked himself up to machines to keep everything flowing through the death process. When Gary "awakened", he was still able to think logically and move better than the rest of the zombies. The only real difference is the hunger that is unquenchable.
This book was fun!! The best part of the novel to me was the change in Dekalb. He had to rewire his way of thinking: from a peace keeper to a survivor. It was really hard for him to pick up a weapon against others, even if they were already dead. But when it came down to it, Dekalb became the hero that he needed to be to save his daughter. Wellington tells a great story and doesn't go too over the top. The suspense level was high from page one all the way till the last page. Although, I must say, he left us hanging, BIG TIME, by the end. So I guess this means I'm going to have to read Zombie Nation now!! 4/5