Customer Review

95 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One heck of a good zombie novel, February 18, 2007
This review is from: Plague of the Dead (The Morningstar Strain) (Paperback)
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, but I'm not going to do that this time around. Thanks to the one-two punch of David Wellington and now Z.A. Recht, I now consider myself a true fan of the zombie genre. Today's new crop of post-apocalyptic horror writers have created something far more interesting than a braindead, animated corpse wandering the countryside looking for revenge on behalf of some voodoo queen.

Out of the remote regions of Africa it arose, a virus that made Ebola look like a case of the sniffles. The Morningstar Strain, as it was dubbed, doesn't just kill you (and thus itself); it reanimates your sorry ass and sends you out looking for sustenance in the form of human flesh. Yep, you can't blame any black ops government operation for the epidemic that threatens to exterminate human life on this planet this time around. This virus is completely natural - and beyond deadly. Lt. Colonel Anna Demilio of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) actually goes out of her way to warn the powers that be of the threat early on, but the bureaucracy as well as international opposition doesn't even allow for any travel restrictions to be put in place until it's far too late. By the time U.S. leaders realize the extent of the threat, carriers escaping the troubled regions have transported the virus to various places all over the world. America sends in troops to try and cut Africa off from the Middle East and all regions beyond, while the leaders back home rely on wishful thinking alone to keep America's shores safe of the threat. An official policy of denial actually hamstrings Demilio in whatever futile efforts she might have made in terms of working toward a vaccine - and lands herself and a brave, plucky reporter named Julie Ortiz some quality time in one of the NSA's least hospitable accommodations. The country and entire world is going to hell, but the government is consumed with punishing those who release the already obvious truth as traitors to their country.

Military attempts to cut the virus off on the African continent come to a head at the Suez Canal, but the forces under the command of Major General Francis Sherman are overtaken in the end by an endless horde of zombies. The veritable army of the undead comes in two flavors. While the shamblers are slowed down by the effects of rigor mortis and various decay, runners (those who succumbed to the virus before death) will freakin' run you down and can only be stopped by a shot to the head (or a skull-bashing whammy, but you really don't won't to be close enough to one of them to have to resort to hand-to-hand combat). Take these guys out in droves, and more of them just keep coming, climbing over the remains of the fallen. After a harrowing coastal evacuation, the ranks of survivor soldiers and refugees easily fit on one naval destroyer. Those numbers fall further thanks to an outbreak of Morningstar on board the ship. With limited men, food, and weapons, and no communication with any other military forces, Sherman and his men have to come up with their own plan once they reach the waters off the American West Coast. They soon get undeniable proof that even the rural sections of the country have not been spared in the least by the doomsday virus. The only seeming hope for humanity lies in the efforts of Sherman and his ragtag army of soldiers and civilians to eventually link up with Dr. Anna Demilio.

Plague of the Dead features just about all the zombie action you could want, taking you from the armed African offensives leading up to the battle at the Suez Canal to a number of dangerous and thrilling scenes of urban warfare inside America's hinterland. The fighting is, more often than not, intense and bloody, which is just the way I like it. Many a good character is lost along the way, some heroically and others quite ignominiously, but those who survive grow into really strong characters you really root for - and that, plus the promise of more bloody good zombie action to come, leaves you primed and ready for the forthcoming books in Z.A. Recht's zombie trilogy.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 17, 2008 9:38:18 PM PDT
Linda B says:
Thanks a lot... no need to buy the book now. You could at least warn it contains spoilers. You are "reviewing" right? Not giving us a plot summary/abridged version? Could have fooled me.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2008 8:03:57 AM PDT
Great review - the new books keep up the pace as well, making me glad that Z.A. kicked out some new flavors.
Damn this new reviewing system, BTW. I hate the term "fan."

Posted on Jul 2, 2010 3:54:05 AM PDT
THE Assassin says:

Just thought you might like another book that I could recommend to you. I didn't read your entire review (as it was a bit lengthy) though if you haven't read it already, you should definitely check out 'Day by Day Armageddon' by J.L. Bourne. If you're into this Genre, you'll not be disappointed. If you do end up readin' it, I'll look forward to your review ;o)

Posted on Mar 9, 2013 1:30:32 PM PST
trevor bajus says:
Please read the negative reviews before you believe this review and waste $10. This is one of the worst books I have ever tried to read- tedious, full of glaring factual inaccuracies, and riddled with the worst clichés imaginable and scenes stolen from popular movies like Aliens.

The. Worst. Book. Ever.

Posted on May 31, 2013 6:22:18 AM PDT
I always thought the Z A stood for Zombie Apocalypse.
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