Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Play Dead” as Want to Read:
Play Dead
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Play Dead

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  259 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Today’s #1 New York Times bestselling thriller writers agree: Ryan Brown’s compulsively readable first novel is unbeatable—a darkly humorous, rich and pungent zombie shocker that melds our national obsession with football and the newest wave of fascination with the undead.For the first time in Killington High School history, the Jackrabbits football team is one win away fr ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Pocket (first published May 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Play Dead, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Play Dead

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 519)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Giovanni Gelati
Jun 03, 2010 Giovanni Gelati rated it really liked it

This is Ryan Brown’s debut novel; reading the novel you would never tell though. I have to admit it is a shifting of the gears for me to go with this genre once a week at least, but I think the challenge is well worth it. Especially if there are more books of this quality out there. Fortunately I seem to be finding them. Saturday I will be dropping in a post on Jonathan Maberry’s The Dragon Factory, the novel rocked.

Play Dead boiled down is a basic story of the different types of lives in a smal
May 18, 2010 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Killington’s high school football team, The Jackrabbits have played a good season. They are only one win away from becoming district champions. The town and the boys are pumped.

Cole Logan is the quarterback for the Jackrabbits. He is accosted by several of the Badgers. The Badgers are the Jackrabbits rivals from Elmwood Heights. Two of Cole’s fingers are hacked off. Cole refuses to go to the hospital. Savannah, the sheriff’s daughter drives Cole home.

Black Mona is rumored to be a witch. When on
Jun 01, 2010 Patrick rated it liked it
What we have here is a zombie vs. steroid high school cheaters football game. I looked at the photo of the author and decided that I didn't want to like this book. (He is blond and all American and has a cocky charming smile that makes teenaged girls tempted to buy this book only to sleep with the image of his face between their legs. Qualities I wish I have.)
But I do.(Not the qualities but the fact I liked this book)

The beginning is creepy with the description of the undead preparing listlessl
Sep 17, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it
As promised in a blurb, this debut novel by former TV and film actor, Ryan Brown, is very much like Friday Night Lights meets Romero's Dead films, but with a healthy dash of satire. Just imagine the works of Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, Christopher Moore and you'll get what I mean. But toss in a spicy dollop of Texas horror-meister Joe Lansdale and you'll see what I mean. While the zombie-action doesn't begin to take place until about halfway through the novel, I found this novel easy to get through and ...more
Mary (BookHounds)
Friday Night Lights with Zombies! This is a smart and witty debut with all of the pathos of almost adult high schoolers mixed with a horror fest that is football. Except that horror fest turns into a funny commentary on high school and sports. I am not a huge football fan, so I was a little worried when I started to read this, but just like Friday Night Lights, football is just a background for the real story here about a football team that turns into zombies. Brown gets right to the story withi ...more
Dec 04, 2010 Erin rated it liked it
This book was everything I expected. It was like reading a B movie. I mean seriously, Texas zombie football players? No, it isn’t going to win a Pulitzer, or even be read by many folks for that matter. However, when approached as a work of mindless zombie apocalypse fiction set into the backdrop of the crazy world of Texas high school football, it is unsurpassed. Maybe it is unsurpassed because it is in a class all its own – at least I hope it is. There can’t be more books like this out there, o ...more
May 17, 2010 Bridget rated it it was amazing

When a fatal school bus kills everyone on board except for the school quarterback, Cole, he knows deep in his bones that it was no accident. His team, the Jackrabbit's were determined to beat the Elmwood Heights Badgers and win the district championship. Their dreams were cut short in this tragedy but Cole isn't ready to give up. With a little help thanks to black magic, Cole resurrects his teammates. This is where the story gets really interesting.

I read a bunch of rave reviews about this book
Liza H
May 19, 2010 Liza H rated it it was ok
Shelves: done, kindle
It was a hokey story (as most zombie stories tend to be) but it just went a bit too far beyond hokey into stupid at points. The violence was pretty good, but I just couldn't accept that a whole town would be so dumb/gullible to believe their dead high school football team/sons could be walking around after a horrible crash, and NOT be more questioning and concerned. What kind of parents are these, anyway?

It was a very quick read though, so the pain of the bad didn't last too long at least.
Jun 10, 2010 Tressa rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, zombies, 2010
This is a pleasant if not groundbreaking book on zombies. There is NOTHING new in this book, but if you want to pass the time with a lighthearted story about a high school zombie football team, by all means read Play Dead. That's all I have to say about it.

Dlmoore83 Moore
A zombie read I couldn't pass up. Started out slowly, but picked up speed towards the end. A movie I'd watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon on the sci-fi channel....
Jun 15, 2010 Barb rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult
Zombies, fun, football.
Ashley Ehlers

Was originally posted on Paranormal Sisters:

Go big or go home, that's what Texas is known for and this book doesn't fall short of that.

I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into when I found this book at a thrift shop in 12'. But the cover was intriguing and the summary caught my interest, so for a $1, I said what the hell. If you don't take this seriously and take it lightly, you'll enjoy it.

Diving head first I was surprised by how many point
May 17, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
This is one entertaining book. I quickly became interested even in the football aspects of this book, mainly because he referenced two good QB players. Elway (hey, I am a die-hard Bronco's fan!) and Flutie (my second fave team is the Patriots). So, right there, I knew I would enjoy this book. I also love the cover of this book. Zombie football players. Heh... 101 jokes here people! Oh, and for those not that into football, do not worry. There really is a story around football more than the footb ...more
May 18, 2010 Cinnamon rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
I know what you're thinking. Football and zombies? A fantastic and energetic sport combined with the gruesome and not so energetic undead? Well…yeah! When you think about it they're actually pretty similar. In football, players try to kill each other to get control of the ball; zombies…well, they may try to rekill each other to get control of your brains. Stick them together and you've got a winning combination.

PLAY DEAD by Ryan Brown was fascinating mainly because I wasn't expecting it, yet it
Wendy Hines
Jun 01, 2013 Wendy Hines rated it liked it
Cole Logan is the star quarterback of the Killington Jackrabbits, the high school football team. And for the first time in their history, they have a real shot at taking the district championship. But right before the big game, Cole is attacked behind his trailer and two of his are fingers hacked off.

Not to let that stop him, he gets the town behind him in a pep rally to beat the rival Elmwood team on the field. But the Elmwood team has their own thoughts. They've been juicing up all season for
May 19, 2010 Theresa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Older teens to Adult
When I read the synopsis for this novel, how could I resist? Take a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, throw in a football team of zombies, add some dark humor and it promises to be an entertaining read. I was certainly not disappointed.

"Play Dead" had an interesting story line that held my interest and kept me in suspense. I found myself not only engrossed and wondering what would happen next, but chuckling and laughing out loud at times.

I found myself really liking the main character and h
William Bentrim
May 17, 2010 William Bentrim rated it really liked it
Play Dead by Ryan Brown

My first reaction to this book was, oh brother another zombie story. You can’t swing a dead body around without hitting a zombie or vampire book. To my surprise I enjoyed the book. This would be an entertaining Friday Night Lights book exhibiting the gritty competitive football played in rural Texas without the zombies. With the Zombies this is an Urban Fantasy.

For those of you who grew up in a more suburban atmosphere, you will have difficultly believing the depths of pa
Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
My Thoughts: I enjoyed reading this book. To me, it was a very tongue-in-cheek jab at football in Texas - where one team is taking enough steroids to choke a horse and the other team is brought back from the dead for "one last game". And the fact that the opposing team would try to take out Cole by injuring him and when that didn't work try to take out the team. At the same time there was a lot of gore (they are zombies) and a lot of humor.

"But did you get a good look at those guys, Logan?"
"So t
Jul 15, 2010 Nichole rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: zombie fans
I picked up this book after a friend of mine brought it back from a thriller writer's conference. This was the first I decided to check out after sorting through the stack of books he had acquired. I really didn't know what to expect from a book that was described as a thriller/comedy about zombies. I personally am not a zombie friend but decided to give it a go. I easily read through the first 100 pages enjoying the storyline, bit different from the other thrillers I read. It is a fast and fun ...more
D. Eric
Jul 08, 2010 D. Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Zombie football, how can you not like it (if you like zombies and football)? That being said, I just liked this book. It seems to be written by someone without firsthand experience of playing football (or he forgot what it was like) who ignores the powerful groups that control high school football--especially in Texas. And, zombies aside, it just pushes the boundaries of possibility too far. Here is the May Publishers Weekly review. It gives a good idea of the storyline but makes the book out to ...more
Carmaletta Hilton
May 18, 2010 Carmaletta Hilton rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ed Dexter
Sep 05, 2012 Ed Dexter rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, zombies
Another reviewer hit on something when they said everything is pretty much revealed to you up front with this book. On one hand, you have to know what it's about, otherwise, why would you want to read it? On the other, you can probably guess what's going to happen along the way from reading the jacket summary.

While reading this, it kept playing out in my head as a movie from the 80s as a low budget cousin of Return of the Living Dead. If it were a movie, I'd rank it as something you find while f
May 05, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
This review was originally posted on my review blog :

The Killington High School has never felt the glory of victory at the district championship. This is the first year that they have even come close to coming out victorious in the end. They are only one win away, and now they must compete against their most ferocious rivals, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. The two separate towns have been at each others throats for as long as the two towns have stood, and now
Patrick D'Orazio
Nov 05, 2010 Patrick D'Orazio rated it really liked it
Play Dead is a story about a down and out Texas football team that has never been much to talk about...until a new Coach and a new quarterback turned their luck around. Now, with the help of Coach Hickman and Cole Logan, the renegade QB, the Killington High Jackrabbits are one game away from the District Championship and a meeting with the hated Elmwood Heights Badgers.
But apparently, the steroid guzzling badgers, led by Line Backer Booker Flamont, have decided that it would be best if they jus
Jul 22, 2011 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing
Killington High School and Elmwood Heights have a long, nasty history. Their rivalry goes back to the town’s founding fathers – but in recent years the animosity has been taken out on the football field between the rival high schools.

Tensions are running especially high when victory is in sight. Three teams are left and for the first time in a long time the Killington Jackrabbit’s are close to a win, after a long dry spell. But the rumour around town is that the Elmwood Heights Badgers have a l
Mindy Detweiler
May 18, 2010 Mindy Detweiler rated it really liked it
My Take: Ok so Football and Zombies. Football is usually not my cup of tea but I love the movie and series Friday Night Lights and this said that it was set in Texas amongst all that football hysteria ( hey I grew up in Indiana and know about hysteria (basketball). I have read several books about zombies lately (Forest of Hands and Feet, Dead Tossed Waves) and lets face it the author is really cute. (I know that this has been mentioned several times). So I thought I would take a chance.

I wasn't
Mary Kennedy
Jul 02, 2010 Mary Kennedy rated it it was amazing
Brad Thor called you the "new Stephen King." Can you give us a quick description of PLAY DEAD? PLAY DEAD is part sports satire and part horror-comedy. Set in Texas, it’s about a high school football team that dies in a horrific prank gone wrong and comes back from the dead as zombies. Only a victory over their vicious district rivals (who also happen to be their murderers) can save the their souls. Think FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS meets DAWN OF THE DEAD.

You have a fantastic resume; starring roles in Th
Robert Beveridge
Ryan Brown, Play Dead (Gallery, 2010)

I had gotten it in my head somehow that Ryan Brown's debut novel, Play Dead, was teen lit. Then I got it, and saw the blurbs. Lee Child does not blurb teen lit. And then I read the first couple of chapters, and Brown doesn't write like a YA author. There are a few things about the book that make it look like it was maybe retrofitted for the teen crowd (specifically the main romance), but it reads like an adult novel. So if you're out of college and don't like
Oct 11, 2010 Bookish37 rated it liked it
A football rivalry between two Texas towns turns into mayhem and murder, when a quarterback is viciously attacked and then a school bus full of players is killed on the way to a district qualifier. Cole Logan, the quarterback who was assaulted, and the coach's daughter team up with a local witch, who loves football, to resurrect the team and exact justice from the rival players. Only what they bring back from the dead is very, very hungry and not just for a victory on the field. Though a victory ...more
May 18, 2010 Julia rated it really liked it
Play Dead by Ryan Brown is frightening, fast and flat-out funny. Definitely not a book you want to take seriously. I was a little concerned half way through that the plot had gotten a little flat and more horrifying than hilarious- not that horror is a bad thing. Football isn't for everyone. Neither are zombies... but combined? Brilliant!

The Killington High Jackrabbits has never had a successful football team, but their time has finally come. They have two games left to claim the district champi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dying to Live: Last Rites (Dying to Live, #3)
  • Unfed (Undead, #2)
  • Rise of the Corpses (The Undertakers, #1)
  • Extreme Zombies
  • Afterlife With Archie #1
  • Tempted by a Warrior (Galloway Trilogy, #3)
  • The Ninth Day (Emma Caldridge, #3)
  • The Outer Banks House
  • Day by Day Armageddon: Origin to Exile
  • Rider (Spirals of Destiny #1)
  • We're Alive: A Story of Survival, the Third Season
  • Zom-B Fugitive (Zom-B, #11)
  • Licensed for Trouble (PJ Sugar, #3)
  • Sick
  • Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser And Curiouser
  • A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor
  • In the Shadow of the Cypress
  • The Six-Liter Club
Following his graduation from the University of Oklahoma, with a degree in film studies, he moved to New York, where he went on to study theatre at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Within months of arriving in New York, he was cast in the role of Bill Lewis on the CBS Daytime Drama, Guiding Light - a role he would play for the next three years.

Ryan relocated to Los Angeles and landed the ro
More about Ryan Brown...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »