I am more interested in character development than I am in raw visceral appeal that is related to the horror in horror novels. Give me some folks to root for and I will read with baited breath every last bit of their stories. Sad when they died, thrilled when they live. Don't get me wrong, the raw fear and emotions, the violence and excitement of a zombie tale are what makes them appealing. It is just that without the first element listed above, the story is nothing more than just a gory bloodbath that has little to no meaning to it. This story has a good handle on both areas fortunately and keeps you entertained at every turn.
Z.A. Recht has spun a tale worth reading for both zombie enthusiasts and those who enjoy thrillers in general. Two seperate stories are told here, one of the military troops stationed in Africa and the Middle-East attempting to contain a new strain of virus which has infected millions. The other part of the story is of a government doctor working desperately to try and understand the virus and hopefully find a cure for it. Morningstar is not your simple zombie virus; the dead do walk, for certain, but the living who are infected are also a menace. The virus and its impact is well thought out, plausible, and quite interesting.
Our two main characters, Lt. Colonel Anna Demillio of the US Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and General Frank Sherman who is initially stationed in Africa, begin this story swapping emails about the virus and its spread. We return to their correspondence in the early stages of the book to further develop the tale but much of the book is of their actual experiences. General Sherman must face off against the plague with his troops on land and later at sea, trying desperately to get back home to the U.S. Anna is fighting her own battles with the government as well as the virus in a laboratory environment. The virus is spreading globally but the government wants to keep the public unaware that it has reached our shores or that any of them are in danger.
Both sides of the tale are intriguing and have some good, solid action sequences. Mr. Recht did an excellent job of researching viruses-how they spread, past history with them, etc. He also has a solid understanding of the military and the hardware they use. Even more importantly, he gives us compelling characters in a well written story. This is an excellent first chapter in what I believe will be a trilogy of books on the Morning Star Virus.
This book goes on my list as a "must read" for enthusiasts of Zombie fiction. There are plenty of zombie books out there, ranging from some really bad fan fiction to top quality stuff that matches up with any other horror writing. This is one of those top notch ones that I heartily recommend.
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