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I think my reading slump might just be over, and this is the book that sorted it all out. All it took was a fast-paced sci-fi thriller with zombies which I couldn’t put down to remind me how much fun books actually are and get me out of my rut.
So, this is the story of Georgia Mason and her brother Shaun, bloggers in a world where zombies are very real. Twenty years before (the book is set in 2034, so a near future thriller) the release of two viral based cures for cancer and the common cold combined to create something new and horrible which leads to the dead becoming undead in that zombie way. This infection has changed the whole world; for example, any animal weighing more than about 40lbs will convert so people don’t really have pets, livestock is very carefully controlled (although for some not controlled enough), there are no-go areas and travel is a dangerous business unless you are properly equipped.
The way the media reacted (or rather didn’t react) to the initial outbreak has led to suspicion and distrust, so new ways of getting stories out to people through accredited blogs have sprung up. And that’s where Georgia, Shaun and their colleague Buffy come in; their big break is to be selected to cover the presidential campaign of Senator Peter Ryman.
And that’s what makes this a bit different from your run-of-the-mill zombie horror story. Because the zombies and the infection and the changes to everyone’s way of life are in the background, and this is really a thriller about political campaigning, dirty tricks, conspiracy theories and the fight for the country’s direction. It just so happens that because of the zombie thing the stakes are much higher and more (un)deadly.
I loved this; just couldn’t put it down. It helps that I could visualise this as a sort of West Wing with ghouls and I did play “cast the movie” while I was reading it but it is genuinely gripping and I really wanted to know who was behind the awful things that were happening. And it also helped that I really, really liked Georgia.
The structure of the book really helps things move along too; punchy chapters interspersed with extracts from the various blog reports being posted by Georgia and her team. And in places it is genuinely moving.
So don’t let the zombies put you off, this might give you nightmares but they’re likely to be more about what politicians are willing to do to get power rather than how best to despatch the not-dead.
Looking forward to reading the sequel as soon as I can get my hands on it.
This really is a mini-review because I actually finished this book back in June and meant to write my review nearer the time when I believed I would remember what bits I wanted to quote and what anecdotes I wanted to use but here we are, last week in July and all such useful information has been knocked out of my head by stuff.
This is a memoir of sorts by a British comedian about the year he turned 40 and how he goes a bit off the rails; a sort of diary of how it worked all out. I think Richard Herring is a very funny man, and this book just reinforces that view. He’s not to everyone’s taste (who is?) but this made me laugh out loud several times and that’s worth the cover price in my book. And it has a happy ending!