Shana Festa is a new author, but make a note of her name. She's going to be big, very big.. You may already know her under her alter ego, The Bookie Monster, a website where Shana reviews horror and paranormal books, with an emphasis on (but not limited to) zombie fiction.
Shana has put all that reading to good use and has written the first in a proposed trilogy of zombie stories, Time of Death: Induction.
Maybe you're thinking what I was thinking; new author, reviewer, how good could this possibly be? Well, it's better than that. Actually, it's really, really good. Shana, doesn't write like a novice, she writes with the skills of a seasoned professional. And she gets right to the point in the prologue, like an arrow shot from the bow of a champion archer.
As I read, I tend to make little notes for myself on things I may or may not include in my review. One such note, "written by a true dog lover." Later, I learned that the lead character's dog, Daphne, shares a name with one of the author's dogs. THAT is a dog lover.
As if dealing with a zombie outbreak isn't bad enough, there is also a category 3 hurricane bearing down on Cape Coral, Florida and Shana manages to combine the two disasters with aplomb and pulls no punches in describing all the horrors found in this changing world. "The wandering corpses had begun to thin out and I wondered if they were migrating elsewhere or if someone else was killing them. I knew they hadn't begun dying off from decay because the ones that wandered into our vicinity looked like they had gone through a meat grinder. The air had a constant rancid odor that I suspected would only get worse as the days passed. Through my rifle’s scope, I got an up close and personal view of the maggot riddled corpses. What I first thought to be the heat creating a rippling effect in the air turned out to be millions of maggots infesting the undead. They writhed in open wounds and fell out in clumps as the zombies moved."
By the way, kudos to the author for allowing bad things to happen to good people. Too often select characters survive when the story would be better served by their demise.
Time of Death: Induction is not fun and games zombies. This is serious business. Every bit as enjoyable as the best episodes of The Walking Dead.
In my opinion, the best zombie stories are ones where the zombies almost become incidental. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of zombie gore and mayhem in this book, but there is also a good story, with romance, pathos and comedy. I loved it.
Time of Death: Induction, from Permuted Press, is available from a wide variety of online retailers in both paperback and eBook formats.