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Book Review: ‘The Savage Dead’ by Joe McKinney

With all the breathtaking suspense and action of a summer movie thriller, The Savage Dead reads like Under Siege meets Resident Evil. With a diverse cast of characters whose internal struggles appropriately establish a sense of dread and force the reader to watch the events unfold with discomfort, The Savage Dead delivers a zombie adventure fans of the genre will love.

The Savage Dead Joe McKinneyA biological weapon unleashed upon unsuspecting innocents who’re enjoying a vacation on a cruise ship; the premise is familiar to readers, but McKinney’s method of delivery brings the story to life. Forensics, military weaponry, politics, and zombies—a fun read that is both relevant and intelligent. While I flipped through this page-turner, I envisioned a Ridley Scott-directed film that would focus on the characters and their place in the world; with an antagonist who begs for readers to sympathize with her cause, McKinney challenges our worldview and gave me pause for thought on several occasions.

In the real world, drug cartels are armed and dangerous, and with the ‘war on drugs’ seemingly reduced to an afterthought in the public eye, one is forced to wonder about the capabilities of a wealthy organization whose members have made the battle against the U.S. a personal affair. After decades of crippling drug lords and removing them from the power they’ve enjoyed at the behest of accommodating governments, what’s stopping the cartels from becoming terrorists?

This is one of the most prominent questions I found lingering in the pages of McKinney’s work, and his attention for detail and accuracy add to the story’s frightening realism. The zombies are products of a world gone mad with greed and derision (and maybe even political wastefulness, if you want to read the book on a deeper level, which McKinney allows you to do). The zombies in this book are as fierce and savage as the title implies, but this savagery is underscored by the novel’s hyperrealism, a contrast that makes the zombies all the more effective as monsters.

Zombie fans should be excited for The Savage Dead. You’ll read this one more than once; with characters to cheer for who are thrown into a series of conflicts our society has become all-too-familiar with, the pages are packed with thrills only a master storyteller can provide. I finished reading The Savage Dead instead of watching football—I felt like I was sitting in a movie theater, and when it was over, I wanted to Google to find out when the next installment is coming.

The Savage Dead can be found here: http://amzn.to/13LhZzo