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94 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One heck of a good zombie novel
If the Z in Z.A. Recht doesn't stand for Zombie, it ought to because the man has given the world a great zombie novel in Plague of the Dead (actually, I think the Z stands for Zach, but maybe he can go about getting that changed). Usually, when I start reviewing a zombie novel or movie, I start by pointing out that this horror fan has never been a huge fan of zombies,...
Published on February 18, 2007 by Daniel Jolley

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, good material, but not used to its full potential
One of Recht novel's biggest merits is to bring the light back onto this old -though fascinating- Zombie theme. Looks like it is the latest trend in horror books, given the number of new publications on the subject as of late...

Anyway, I have enjoyed the "international" coverage of the theme: for once, the action is not strictly limited to the US and not...
Published on July 8, 2007 by T-Rexx


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Companion to "World War Z", May 18, 2007
This Book has provided great characters and the storyline is excellent.Francis Sherman reminds me of Ben Raines of William Johnston "Out of the Ashes" and the struggle to survive is realistic with the sudden loss of known people.The character of N.S.A. agent Mason had me thinking of the actor,who played Fox Mulder on X-Files,as the renegade trying to redeem himself and help the one scientist to find a cure for the disease.The Book gives us a ground zero for the disease to spread over the world and is a great prequel to "World War Z".
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43 of 57 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An epic scope undermined by a lack of details, imagination or skill, March 25, 2008
To me, Z.A. Recht's Plague of the Dead has the distinction of being the most ambitious, epic and inventive of Permuted Press's somewhat lethargic and pedestrian line, however extremely poor characterization, a pervasive disregard for fact checking or character and world details and a rushed, surprisingly timid style completely buries any creative surprises that might be found within.

I won't deny Mr. Recht his props. In some ways, he really deserves them. Most of all because I think he might have done what many considered to be impossible, he came up with a new way to present the zombie plague and he did it by simply combining the age old with the new in a way that works really surprisingly well. Its so inventive and fun in fact, that I wouldn't be surprised to see the idea of sprinting, rage filled and infected living that when killed then rise again as the shambling, shuffling dead start to catch on and appear in the more "main stream" zombie stuff. It was a creative bend on existing ideas and it worked. Kudos, Mr. Recht, well done. He also has not only obviously put together some thoughts and a little bit of research on his plague, its biology and its origin, but also on his greater story itself, as this is just the first part of a proposed trilogy. I can respect the effort evidenced, at the very least, if not the execution.

Because, quite frankly, this is where Plague of the Dead stumbles, falters and then fails. The characters are so one dimensional that calling them paper thin would be a compliment. Their motives and speech patterns are completely and totally interchangeable. If you had a page of dialogue without qualifiers, you wouldn't be able to even guess gender, let alone the character identity. At their core all the characters can all be boiled down to simple, one word descriptions: General. Girl. Scientist. Loner. Black guy (admittedly that's two words... sue me.) but even then they get confusing: Soldier, soldier, soldier, young soldier? To top it all off, half the names are so similar that at a glance, many could be mistaken for each other.

And speaking of "at a glance", the worst mistake of the book is so huge, that it simply can NOT be ignored. CAN NOT! Now, lets ignore the fact that he obviously did not even look at a picture of the Suez Canal, lets ignore the fact that he obviously has no idea as to the Suez Canal's purpose, lets ignore the fact that there is no way in the world that if a dangerous plague was threatening to jump from Africa, from Egypt and over the canal, that the entire opposite bank wouldn't be lined with the entire Israeli armed forces, not to mention a huge chunk of America's, lets EVEN ignore the somewhat silly idea that we would even TRY to quarantine Africa, alright? Barring all those little flubs, which, come on now, when listed together suddenly don't seem so little (and this is by no means an even close to complete list of all the inaccuracies, mistakes and things that don't make sense) barring all those things, there is one mistake that towers over everything, that destroys, DESTROYS, any credibility the author or his book might have had, a mistake so god awful dumb that... I can't even quantify it, man...

You'll read some reviews that will refer to it as a "simple" geography mistake, but let me assure you, it is not. Look... Africa is to the WEST of the Suez Canal, THE WEST! You don't even need a detailed map in order to see this. A child's globe, even an inflatable globe beach ball where you'd find a big yellow blob labeled simply as: Africa, would tell you this at a glance! AT A GLANCE! Africa = west of the Suez! Africa only connects to Asia at one point! ONE POINT! COME ON, MAN! Who was the editor on this book? They should be fired, just fired out right. A typo, a mistake... that's one thing, but for an entire chapter he gets this wrong and that only makes it obvious that the Editor DID NOT do his/her job. Doesn't this upset Permuted Press? Is this what they want to present to the world? How very, very professional.

So what else? Really, at this point, after that, is it worth going into all the little aggravating mistakes, technical inaccuracies and poorly conceived and choreographed moments? I could go into the fact that a hundred or two more pages or so were needed and that the story was crippled by be confined to so few. I can go on about the lack of character development and the hesitancy displayed when faced with an emotional character moment but not when it came to gore, but what's the point? I mean, if you can get it wrong that Africa is to the west of the Suez canal, does anything else really need to be said?

Overall, this is a very poorly done book, but it is one that feels like a very early first draft, as Mr. Recht shows an inventiveness and a sense of action and story lay out that could be nurtured into something much better, if only given some time, even if the end result would most likely be somewhat clichéd and surface. And while, yes, the blame for this does lay firmly on Mr. Recht's shoulders, a healthy portion also falls on Permuted Press whose editorial staff did the man a massive disservice with their ludicrously poorly performed job.

This is a cheap, paper thin, clichéd, one dimensional child's adventure, but there is a sparkle of imagination contained within that might someday outshine the myriad of mistakes and mis-steps... maybe.

My recommendation: Anyone with even low-medium standards need not apply.
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Laugh Out Loud Awful, December 1, 2008
By 
D. Morgan (Colorado Springs CO) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Don't waste your money. I read the outstanding World War Z and middling Day to Day Armagedon and wanted another good apocalyptic read. Given the solid reviews for Plague of the Dead on Amazon, I purchased the book -- what a mistake! Poorly written, jampacked with jargon, short on suspense, loaded with unintentional absurdities, filled with cliches, and completely predictable. Bits and pieces of action are followed by long passages of meandering/meaningless "character development"; despite the author's extended efforts, one doesn't give a hoot about his character stereotypes. Indeed, the only reason I finished the book was the hope they would all die. Like other titles published by Permuted Press, the book is set-up for a sequel. I can't believe anyone would buy a follow-up to this piece of trash. And after several other disappointments, I'm becoming very hesitant to believe good user reviews on Amazon.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Start to a promising series, April 9, 2007
Lt. Colonel Anna Demilio of the USAMRIID knows the danger of this new bug dubed the Morningstar Virus.The goverment plays down the advances of the virus in africa despite Demilio's warnings. The story follows the US soldiers (and civies) from Africa to the the USA all the while running from the Morningstar Strain.

The public was not properly notified due to the efforts of the government to hush it up. By time the characters reach the US, it is clear that the virus has hold. This virus infects the living turning you into a mindless flesh eating zombie, but it keeps you alive. These "living zombies" are fast and can chase you down as the never wear out. The other form is the more traditional Romero zombie, slow shamblers. Formerly fast zombies (ones killed without a headshot)can be killed the same way any person can, however they will wake up again as shamblers. Shamblers can be killed with a headshot, but inflicting damage anywhere else does not kill them.

This book has everything from an all out assualt and military defenses to close quarters battles and shut in sieges. There is plenty of action to keep you interested and the writting is of solid quality. The only issue maybe that the characters are bit more shallow than I would like. I'm a big fan of indirectly fleshing out characters, its a way of working in little kernels of info on them that will make characters a little bit more real. That's not to say the characters wre not interesting, far from it.

In the end Plague of the Dead intorduce little new to the genre. Even so, Recht managed to take the sacrificial hero, paranoia, and outright terror of survival to twist them into a cohesive and exciting reading experience. This is book that I had a hard time setting down, in my mind that is the best mark of good book.

you can read more of my reviews and zombie info @ [...]
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great zombie read., February 6, 2007
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I read the free online serial of this novel and was struck by how professional the story was. I am very happy to see the author make the leap to published work and wish him much luck and success. The book is well written with a fairly unique explanation for the cause of the rising dead. Unlike other stories in the genre, the author goes into some detail as to how such a thing could happen, and it is nearly believable. The characters are well written and I found myself liking and disliking the appropriate characters. Anyone that enjoys zombie novels and stories will love this book. Anyone that has never read a zombie novel will still find the story, characters and plotlines very entertaining.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book!!, December 20, 2006
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I preordered the book and was real excited to get it. The book is action pack. I am not big on reviews but I had to leave one. If you like Zombies you will love this book. It has zombies and a virus outbreaked it has it all!!!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beginning of a Perfect Zombie Trilogy., March 23, 2007
I have been hungry for intelligent zombie fiction. So far, I have been pretty unsatisfied. Until now. I just got this book in the mail and I read it cover to cover. Up until this point, I only saw Max Brooks as a standout in this genre. His survival guide was abolutely awesome, and I felt that World War Z was a great appetizer of things to come from him. But the whole time I read that book, I was wanting more. The stories were too short for me. I wanted more. And Z.A. Recht has definitely delivered. Keep an eye on this guy, he's going places.

Reading the book, you can tell that Recht went to a lot of trouble to research details so as to make it more believable than any zombie story I have ever read. His spin on the origins of the plague and it's pathology is superb. His military and weapons details are pretty good as well. As a VERY picky Iraq veteran, I was pleased.

Characters and their development are great as well. I found myself growing a bit fond of the various characters in the book and I am anxious to see how they survive and develop or if they survive at all.

The action is great. I could give examples, but I don't want to ruin anything for anyone. Think of whatever cliche blurb you can think of, but this is the real deal, folks. Intense.

And finally, the plot is great. Plenty of possible side stories I could see developing maybe in the later books and the main plot itself is pretty fresh. I cannot wait to see where it goes.

But the last and most telling thing that was on my mind upon finishing this book was this: Why the hell hasn't a major publisher snagged this guy and his book yet?! Mark my words, people: Z.A. Recht is going places. Do yourselves a favor and pick this book up!

I promise you will not regret it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome story!, March 7, 2007
Great story, well written. The only thing I didn't like was that this book details the downfall of civilization, but ends there. I hope there is a sequel so I can find out what happens in the aftermath and how the survivors cope in their new world.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ambitious effort, but..., April 17, 2008
By 
If I were a high school teacher and one of my students turned in this story, I'd chide them for paying too much attention to gung-ho war movies and not enough to the dialogue, detail and character development. At one point, there are three different characters in a single scene, all with last names beginning with "D" and it was virtually impossible to tell one from the other because they all sounded the same.

A good zombie / end-of-the-world story not only delivers shocks, it also forces us to look closer at ourselves and society. I think the author shows promise and with a little polish, could turn into quite a good storyteller. This book is certainly ambitious, and deserves a look from fans of the genre.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars for the zombies, 2 for the people, October 30, 2007
By 
nemo (Brooklyn, New York USA) - See all my reviews
Yes, four stars for the zombies. A great mix of pre-existing zombie mythology and some gripping action sequences definitely stand out. But two for the people because the characters are really disposable. They're a bit cardboard, and it's really hard to care when one of them dies. As others have pointed out, the multiple "D" named characters all blur into one because no one is really developed (a more important "D" word that would have helped this novel). I didn't realise it was the first of a trilogy when I read it, so I found the ending sorely disappointing. Now that I know that, I'd cut it some slack, but I don't know that I care enough about these people to want to read about them further. If you just want to read some fun zombie mayhem sequences, it's worthwhile, but it gets a bit tedious towards the end when it becomes more about the people who become MORE thin as characters as the story goes on, and, in essence, are less interesting than the nameless undead they fight, which is a shame, because I really wanted to care. Still, some fun military/zombie action if that's what you seek.
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Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Strain
Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Strain by Z. A. Recht (Paperback - December 29, 2009)
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