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Zombie Road: Convoy of Carnage Paperback – February 3, 2017
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In David A. Simpson's Zombie Road: Convoy of Carnage, we find ourselves introduced to a variety of nick-named truckers hanging out at a truck stop, right before the world ends. Well, not the entire world, that's one of the fun and interesting elements of this book, but before we dive into that, we'll tell you a little more about the main characters.
The protagonist of the story is Gunny, an ex-military man, who the book opens up with as he is being interviewed, presumably where the series ends, talking about how he survived. We quickly come to learn that the fall of civilization, to a very fast and ravenous form of zombie, was orchestrated by people with evil intent. The chaos starts almost immediately, with our group of truckers surrounded inside the truckstop learning how the rest of the country has fallen. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the country, we find Gunny's wife and son trapped in even direr circumstances.
With the help of his friends and fellow truckers, Gunny prepare's for the long journey to rescue them.
There's a lot going on in the background of the story. Shadowy government organizations, an unexpected new president and a foreign power suspected of orchestrating the fall of humanity. Oh, and did I mention nuclear peril? It's almost as if, even if they do survive the zombies, they can't possibly survive all the other things that are going to destory them. All of these multiple elements really keep you on the edge of your seat and hungry for the story to continue.
What did I like about this story?
At first, I was getting whiplash from all of the truckers with nicknames. Everyone seemed to have one, but I quickly came to find and delight in the fact that each of those names came with a story of their own. Each made sense and made the characters not only memorable but also loveable.
I loved the fact the story was so action packed, pretty much right from the get go. The author makes light of the fact that zombies were impossible until they weren't, something any modern zombie story needs to have is a little bit of self-awareness about the genre, and he does that well.
What didn't I like about this story?
While I'm not generally a fan of fast zombies, they add to the action packed thrills of Zombie Road. Hordes of slow zombies wouldn't be all that scary if they were getting mowed down by a semi, but fast ones, that don't stop running, even after you've burned rubber down the road, well that's some scary shit!
Aside from that, it did take awhile for the Convoy of Carnage to begin, but not without reason. You can't just roll out and drive through this crazy world without a plan.
Eric A. Shelman, an author of Zompoc fiction himself, does a fabulous job of narrating the book, including adding little tidbits like making the radio communications sound like they are actually coming over the radio and giving each of the main characters a unique voice.
Conclusion: (Aka: Would I listen to more by this author?)
Absolutely. This book has been getting rave reviews for months and I actually moved it up on my listening schedule so I could find out what all the hype was about and it didn't disappoint. The second book is out now and I'll be listening to it soon and then I'll be like the rest of Mr. Simpson's ravenous fans and chasing his truck down the road screaming for him to finish book 3!
The only reason I gave this 2 stars instead of 1 is because the author can write a good fight scene. Good fight scenes are vital to a book like this, but they are not the be all and end all. The characters are cardboard cut outs, the plot is bog standard and there is some material which might be considered rather Islamophobic. Now I think this is the first novel for this author, so I'm inclined to give more benefit of the doubt, the series could improve. More details below, but spoilers as well. TL;DR I might get the second one if it's cheap, more to see if the author matures than anything else.
I've never heard of this author, but either a lot of his politics seeps into this, or he's really good at sounding like a libertarian Islamophobe. I'm not sure how much he actually knows about Islam. Being an atheist, I'm far from an expert, but I'm pretty sure the chances of Wahhabist Sunnis working closely and effectively with fanatical Shia (and vice versa) are pretty much zero. Zombies are almost more believable. The idea that they could pull off a worldwide conspiracy to send zombie virus contaminated meat around the world is laughable. The idea that a billion other non radical Muslims would go along with it is just offensive. Also, it appears that in this world "big government" and regulation/taxes are almost as bad as the zombies. But, ok, it's fiction. We'll suspend disbelief and roll with it. Writing wise, the characters are one dimensional stereotypes, and the plot is thoroughly unoriginal. Good action scenes, and to give the author his due, he writes heavy trucks better than most. I like the switching between characters, but the dialogue is almost painful in places. So I see that there is a sequel out, and I have to admit I'm tempted. I'm the kind of person that likes to know what happened, and I'd like to see if the author matures, both in the craft of writing, and maybe a little bit more nuance in terms of religion, race and sex. On the other hand, I'm not sure if I want to support this author financially, and have many other books to read that don't insult my intelligence/knowledge of the world. Still thinking about it.