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Play Dead

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  264 Ratings  ·  82 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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by Gallery Books (first published May 1st 2010)
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Giovanni Gelati
May 25, 2010 Giovanni Gelati rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Nov 10, 2016 Colleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, zombies
Nope, not a book for me. It almost felt I was reading a cartoon trying to be edgy. The hero of the book, the chainsmoking brooding quarterback from the rough side of town, and the smart nerdy (pointedly not a virgin) school reporter out for a scoop! The evil opposing team, from the rich neighboring town that stole all of the poor folks from Killington's resources, have all been injecting themselves with some kind of monster Bane like serum. But that is not enough, even though Killington has lost ...more
May 18, 2010 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 31, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 17, 2010 Bridget rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
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
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
Liza H
May 13, 2010 Liza H rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 05, 2010 Tressa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Jun 15, 2010 Barb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Zombies, fun, football.
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....
Jul 22, 2011 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Patrick D'Orazio
Nov 05, 2010 Patrick D'Orazio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ashley Ehlers
Dec 17, 2012 Ashley Ehlers rated it liked it

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
Apr 13, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 18, 2010 Cinnamon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Kennedy
Jul 02, 2010 Mary Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Carmaletta Hilton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 12, 2010 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
"Play Dead," by Ryan Brown is just plain fun.

Set in Texas, the story describes the problem of steroids in sports and is also a satire about the fanatical following of high school football and the manner in which football can dominate small town life.

The local high school football team, the Killington Jackrabbits, are having their best year and are only one win away from the district championship.

The key to the team is quarterback Cole Logan. He's attacked by three men wearing masks. He believes
William Bentrim
May 17, 2010 William Bentrim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 01, 2010 Karin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zombies, 2010-reads
PLAY DEAD by Ryan Brown is NOT a YA novel. However, that being said, it definitely could be. The only thing that would keep this off of my middle school shelf would be the language. Other than that, this would be the perfect book for the boys in my school. It is filled with football rivalry and gory zombie scenes.

PLAY DEAD is the story of high school football rivalry gone terribly wrong. The Killington Jackrabbits are one game away from winning the District Championship. If they win, it will be
Nov 01, 2016 Lexie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-once-owned
Zombies + Football =the entire plot of Play Dead. After a rival team's prank goes horribly, horribly wrong the Killington High football team is killed...but conveniently a witch is nearby to bring them all back (except for Cole and the coach, who survived). The rest of the novel is about the romance between Cole and the Coach's daughter, jokes about how you can't tell a teenager from a zombie, the rival team's absurdities and football. There is a lot about football in here, which I wasn't expect ...more
May 14, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Wendy Hines
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
Mindy Detweiler
May 14, 2010 Mindy Detweiler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
D. Eric
Jul 08, 2010 D. Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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