Forty years in the future and in New York a bio-weapon was released, allowing the dead to come back to life. Not as traditional zombies, but as humansForty years in the future and in New York a bio-weapon was released, allowing the dead to come back to life. Not as traditional zombies, but as humans who are de-aging. They start at the age they were when they died and then they get younger – shocks, alcohol, smoking all contribute to literally take years off their life until they regress through childhood and disappear as a newborn. This is the world that Paul Donner returns to after he and his wife are murdered on a night out. Struggling to adapt he decides to investigate his own murder forty years before... The premise of this book is what initially attracted me. The idea of investigating your own murder may not be original, but Dempsey’s take on zombies is unique and I loved the idea of them de-aging – getting younger and younger. After all, they say youth is wasted on the young! How this impacts society is fascinating – with a husband de-aging and a wife growing old – how long can they make a relationship last? Entertainment dominated by re-animated stars – Elvis truly lives again!
However, the investigation side was very much a start/stop plot for me. Things would move in one direction so I felt like I was reading a hard-boiled noir detective novel set in the future, then it took a left turn and I was reading a freedom-fighting rebellion story and then it changed again and I was in a semi-mystical, family drama. This did provide twist and turns that made the story unexpected – but meant I never fully relaxed into the story. The writing was excellent and inventive. However, at times I wasn’t quite sure how this future worked. There is a lot of nostalgia for the past but in some areas I never quite got the future elements.
The ingenuity and originality is entertaining but massive story changes and some blurry details on the future world meant I couldn’t quite enjoy the story as much as I wanted too. Recommended for fans of Christopher Fowler and Philip K. Dick. 6.5 out of 10 ...more
Terry, lone survivor of abattoir attack and Lesley, Scottish reporter down on her luck, end up on the run in a countryside full of dangerous wildlifeTerry, lone survivor of abattoir attack and Lesley, Scottish reporter down on her luck, end up on the run in a countryside full of dangerous wildlife – from cows, pigs and rats to squirrels, cats and dogs, while Geldof, teenager with bad skin, out of control hormones and parents in full hippy mode is struggling to convince his parents of the danger. Each of these characters feels real – none of them are Bruce Willis or Angelina Jolie. What they are, are fully formed flawed and entirely likeable characters that you can’t help but root for. Even the secondary characters have great personality and leap off the page!
This is a serious comedic novel, or should than be a comedic serious novel? Either way, this book is a brilliant mixture of zombie horror and sheer ridiculous situations. The comedy is less laughter track and more awkward The Office style coming directly out of the situation and the characters. And this just gives the book a brilliant grounding in reality. I didn’t need to use a lot of imagination to picture the British government reacting in exactly this way! That said, the story is played completely straight with some very horrific scenes and the animal attacks not as scary as some of the human reactions to it.
The writing is confident and assured – and certainly doesn’t feel like a debut novel. Throughout I was both entertained and enthralled with the story and the characters. At times it reads like a straight forward zombie horror book, but then a twist happens which will have you in stitches. And if you find the idea of zombie cows funny, I promise by the end of the novel you will be looking twice at those bovine neighbours and making sure your beloved Fido goes out at night! ...more