Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Compound - by Robert Ford - Zombies in York County, PA

5 of 5 Stars

If you've read more than a few of my reviews, you may have picked up on the fact that I enjoy horror and the zombie sub-genre in particular.  In the last several weeks, I've read and enjoyed, The Hungry 3: At the End of the World from Stephen W. Booth & Harry Shannon, Cannibal Corpse, MC by Tim Curran, and the zombie erotica anthology, Fifty Shades of Decay, edited by Stacey Turner.

This week I chowed down on, The Compound, from Robert Ford.  I'm not sure what makes me want to keep coming back for more.  Maybe I just have a thing for controlled chaos.  It's a bit like my love of roller-coasters; the higher, the faster, the more twists, turns and loops, the better.  I wouldn't want to do that in my car, I'd be afraid for my life and the lives of those around me.  But strap me into the seat of a roller-coaster and even at 60 years of age, I'll keep coming back for more.  Same thing with zombies, the gorier the better.  There is so much horror in day to day life, I find it comforting to put myself in the place of the story's hero or heroine and destroy the evil in the world, one lurching, stumbling, decaying, already dead, monster at a time.

Before we get to a bit about "The Compound" I wanted to relate one of the best dedications of a book I've come across in some time.  Robert writes, "For my mother and father...for always finding a few bucks for me when the Book Mobile came to town and for staying up with me to watch those old Twilight Zones and Tales from the Darkside.  This is all your fault."

The Compound  is actually Tartarus Federal Penitentiary, home to the worst violent criminals society has cultivated. It’s also a revolutionary modern day fortress, powered by solar panels and built to be a self-sustaining environment, complete with dairy barns and green houses. It’s the perfect place to be when an experimental virus hits the American public, making the dead walk the Earth once again.

Two brothers become entwined in a deadly struggle for power among the crowd of prisoners that have overtaken the guards.

Divorced parents fight for survival, trying to find each other and keep their daughter safe from the growing number of zombies.

An old biker is a man on a mission, trying to fulfill a promise to his dead wife, apocalypse be damned. Both his will and his supply of ammunition will be tested.

As the survivors on the outside fight for their lives, their lines of fate converge, leading them through the crowds of zombies and forcing them into the hell of the prison to save one of their own.

In The Compound, the reason for the zombie apocalypse is explained right at the beginning and that's OK, because the book isn't about the buffoons who cause the crisis, it's more about family and the lengths people will go to protect and take care of their loved ones.   Don't get me wrong, It's not all sunshine and roses in central Pennsylvania.  The writer also gives us some of the grossest and most vile prose I've ever read.

One of the highlights for me was seeing what Robert does to one of his friends who happens to be a guitarist and lyricist for a popular death-metal band.  Very entertaining.

Due to violent content, language and adult subject matter, this one is not for kids.  But, if you are a like-minded adult, looking for some fresh zombies while the Walking Dead is off until the Fall, this one should help to tide you over.

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