Patrick D'Orazio's Reviews > Dead City

Dead City by Joe McKinney
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Nov 05, 2010

really liked it
Read in February, 2006

Eddie Hudson is a police officer in San Antonio dealing with something his years of training and time on the streets could never prepare him for. In this story by Joe McKinney we are thrust into Eddie's world as he is just discovering that the hurricanes to the south that ravaged Houston have uncovered some sort of virus that causes the dead to walk.

The story is told in first person as Eddie relates the challenges he faces in not only trying to get back to his wife and infant son but just survive as he battles through the night just trying to deal with and comprehend the onslaught of the living dead that want to tear him and every other living soul to pieces.

This is a very fast paced read and the gore is quite vivid. This book, more so than many others I have read in the genre, lends itself to becoming a movie because we smoothly cut from one action sequence to the next and the images are bright, raw, and easy to see in your mind. At a rapid fire pace we are taken from scene to scene and Eddie is joined by different secondary characters who are detailed but never overshadow him or his goal to save his family.

The book strikes the right chord for a story told in first person form. We are drawn into Eddie's world and the emotions he is feeling. From the sense of helplessness he has with one co-worker who is bitten and dying to exasperation with another who seems to be almost unphased by this incredible disaster.

Perhaps some of the secondary characters are not tremendously complex but given what type of story this is their depth is more than adequate. We do get some nice touches, such as a small part of the story where Eddie faces off against another cop whose father (also a cop) has been turned into a zombie. The son not only refuses to kill his father, he is willing to fight off Eddie to protect someone who means so much to him. Elements such as this make zombie stories so incredibly intense for me. The author understands some of the genuine terror we feel towards zombies is because they are simply not just alien monsters, they are us. They are our families, our friends.

While the ending of the books slows things down to an abrupt halt I cannot say it did not necessarily work here. Certainly the author could have kept the breakneck pace until the very end but at least in this way we are granted a complete conclusion to this story, for better or for worse.

If this is in fact Joe McKinney's first book as some of the other reviewers have mentioned I have to say it is certainly an auspicious start to what I hope will be a long and exciting career. This was a good and fun read and I look forward to more to come from this author.
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