Tom Chaney's Reviews > Plague Town

Plague Town by Dana Fredsti
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's review
Jun 07, 2012

really liked it

I didn't plan on reading PLAGUE TOWN. Initially I was just curious about the cover (I guess I'm a "chicks with swords" kinda guy). But then I came across a review based on a relatively small portion of the book -- a practice I'm not crazy about -- and decided to test the accuracy of said review. So I located a copy and gave it a whirl and ended up enjoying it much more than I expected to.

First the obligatory plot summary: college student (Ashley Parker) gets bitten by zombie but finds out she's immune to the virus; ends up recruited by secret paramilitary organization to contain a zombie outbreak near small town in Northern California. The book is written from a first-person viewpoint as so many are these days, and the narrator has a quippy, pop-culture-saturated voice that the larger audience should enjoy but some may find a bit grating in large doses. I thought most of her observations and asides were pretty humorous, but by the same token there are times when they bleed the tension from what could have been more suspenseful scene. At first the narrative is interspersed with third-person sequences of zombies being "born" or finding prey, so we do get to see things outside of Ashley's purview, but these vignettes seem to dry up about halfway through, which is too bad. I enjoyed the variety and was looking forward to seeing the exploits of these zombie killers through eyes other than Ashley's.

The characters can be a little wobbly at times, mostly toward the start. One not-so-subtle sequence has a general (who Ashley dubs "General Brasshole") trying to recruit her for his team. He is the standard caricature of an Evil Military Man and pretty over-the-top, and her response is not much better; she comes across so strenuously anti-military in this scene, it's like she forgot it was soldiers that just saved her bacon a few chapters earlier. Plus, why is she so angry that the military is dissecting/experimenting on zombies? Especially when she'll be hacking them to pieces herself just a short training montage later? It's an odd sequence, but once it's over a different commander is introduced and all the characters settle down and start to gel much better. Plus the action begins to pick up as well, and that's never a bad thing.

The zombies are handled with obvious affection, including a creepy new hybrid introduced along the way. I especially liked one sequence where Ashley and a team member venture into the infested town to rescue the other member's cats. I'm sure some readers will roll their eyes over this, but it fits well with another book I'm currently reading, NO BUDDY LEFT BEHIND, about the private operation to rescue animals adopted by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you don't think people would go to extremes to protect their pets, give that book a try. I haven't finished it yet, but so far it's a very moving account and highly recommended.

Tension in PLAGUE TOWN could have been increased a bit by offing a few more characters along the way to raise the stakes (as is, it sorta reminded me of Stallone's EXPENDABLES where no one was particularly expendable after all). But then this is obviously the first in a series of novels, so maybe the author will be upping the body count in later volumes. I hope so, and that she changes things up as she goes. Some of these series tend to simply reset the gameboard and replay the same book over and over again only with different names and locations, and that can get tiresome pretty fast. But I think given what she's established here, this could be the start of a very entertaining series. I will definitely check out the next book when it comes out. Even if it doesn't have a chick with a sword on the cover... :)

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Dana (new) - added it

Dana I really need to read NO BUDDY LEFT BEHIND... thank you so much for mentioning that in your review because yeah, there really ARE people out there who would do anything for their pets! So there, eye-rollers!

Kelley LOL I'm just now at the beginning of the cat rescue mission and seeing this review and comment made me chuckle. Because I have three cats that are my babies.

And as soon as Lil started worrying about hers I started thinking... "would my fur kids survive a zombacalypse?" and thinking about how far would I go to rescue them in a crisis?

message 3: by Dana (new) - added it

Dana Kelley wrote: "LOL I'm just now at the beginning of the cat rescue mission and seeing this review and comment made me chuckle. Because I have three cats that are my babies.

And as soon as Lil started worrying a..."

Kelley, I was just talking to a friend of mine who read my book. She told me when she got to the cat stuff, she knew she could stop worrying about them because this was me writing about it... and she knows I'd totally go back for the cats !

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