Thursday, September 4, 2014
Book Review: Isolation
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended to fans of all things Zombieeeeee
Publisher: Infected Books (self published)
Released: August 2014
Man, has it been awhile since I've had an opportunity to sink my teeth into some David Moody zombie lit! And I suppose I couldn't have timed it any better since I hear this collection may be the final-curtain-call-of-all-things-zombie for him. Sad news for the genre, but super exciting news for whichever genre of fiction David lays his hands to next.
In Isolation, the title novella in this collection, we meet Keith. Before the infection that turned the whole world into bumbling, stumbling, oozing walking dead, he was a nobody pencil pusher pulling a nine-to-five in the office, and a five-to-nine at home as his drunken dad's ass-wiper and spoon-feeder. Initially surviving the zombie apocalypse made him realize just how uncomfortable he is with death, but it sure as hell broke him free from his boring ole routine. After a nearly fatal trip out to the local grocery store, he meets up with Anna, a young but incredibly confident chick who doesn't bat an eye as she busts up some zombie skull. She's hunkering down in the middle of the city park, in a caretaker's shed, and Keith follows her there like a little lost puppy, promising to do all of the cooking if she does all of the killing.
As the days crawl by, we watch a change come over the reluctant roomies, and once Keith is forced to kill his first zombie, there's no going back to the way things were.
True to form, Isolation's zombies never gnaw down on the living. But that doesn't make the world David's created any less terrifying. As I read the story, I kept thinking "shit, if the zombie apocalypse ever came, I'd die for sure. I'd die die die die." I'm blind without my contacts, and in the apocalypse I'd be forced to wear my glasses, cause who'd have time to store them and clean them and put them in and take them out, and in the fight to save my life, if I'm wearing my glasses, I guarantee they'd end up broken. Without them, I'd probably mistake a zombie for a tree and wander in too close and end up eaten. Or, because I'm certain I've got tinnitus, with all that crazy ringing in my ears, I'm sure I'd never hear those dead fuckers shuffling up behind me and one would be chewing through my neck before I knew what was happening. Or, because I'm no girl scout, I'm sure I'd eat some poison berries IF (and that's a big ass mother fucking IF) I managed to live long enough with my poor vision and horrible hearing to outlast whatever canned food I could scrounge up. But I'd never make it on my own. I'm just not cut out to survive a zombie take-over. My best bet would be to hole up with a bunch of badass strangers and hide like a little shit-scared kid while they hack and saw their way through the dead bodies....
So yeah, while all of this is going through my head, Isolation comes to an end, and I get started on the five short stories that make up the rest of the collection. Each one offers a unique peek into the world of the zombie apocalypse.
Who We Used to Be is written from the perspective of cognizant zombies; zombies who are aware of the fact they've just died, and are now awakening into a strange and confusing hell where all they wish they could do is escape their ever-decaying bodies.
Tightropes follows a member of the "clean up crew", a group of government (?) survivors who blitz infected areas. This particular guy apparently can't keep it in his pants, EVEN in the middle of a zombie take-over, and dude gets in over his head cheating on his wife. All that he works to clean up eventually comes back to bite him in the end. (see what I did there. Bite him. It's a zombie story. Huh. Huhuhuh.)
In Muriel, the sole survivor is trucking along, doing his thing, until he sees a woman he knew from his childhood, and suddenly, he's knocked off his game.
And in the final story, Wish I Was Here, we read about a zombie chick was appears to be aimlessly wandering around a neighborhood, trying to remember who she is and where she's from. Though she struggles to recall, her feet seem to know exactly where they are taking her.
Kudos to David Moody for taking what could easily become a tired ole genre in less capable hands and bringing it to life, time and time again, in new and fascinating ways.
I will always make time to read a Moody.