Standard Operating Procedure

Plague of the Dead - Bowie V. Ibarra, Z.A. Recht

Though it starts promisingly enough, Z. A. Recht's Plague of the Dead quickly descends into standard zombie apocalyptic territory as the U.S. makes every effort to curtail the spread of a virus on the African continent that turns people into slobbering rage-filled monsters, and then once the hosts are dead, returns them to life as shambling zombies, with forms programmed to do nothing more than spread the virus. This best of both worlds approach (think George Romero and 28 Days Later) is about the most novel addition Recht makes to the proliferation of zombie literature in the universe at the moment. Everything is else is standard, if inoffensive; predictable, though readable.

Characters are by the numbers, with the narrative boiling down to two separate groups who, by the end of the novel, are aiming to meet one another somewhere in the middle of the fairly large land mass known as North America. This implies one aspect of Plague of the Dead which was less than stellar: It is far from its own self-contained novel. In essence, it reads like Part 1 of a massive zombie tome, and offers nothing approximating a conclusion, instead baiting the reader to continue with the second book in the series ...

Of course, this was Recht's first book and to be fair, as far as first books go, I've read far, far worse. It would have been interesting to chart Recht's progress as an author, but sadly he only wrote one other book - the sequel to this one - before dying at a tragically young age.

Honestly, I'm not sure if I'll bother seeking out the sequel at this stage. I'll have to see if curiosity eventually overwhelms me.

2.5 Non-Sprinting Shamblers for Plague of the Dead.