Review – Dead City by Joe McKinney

Posted: June 6, 2014 in Horror
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I think I must be missing The Walking Dead a bit too much. My latest read was another fantastic zombie novel, this time the aptly named Dead City by Joe McKinney. It was first published in 2006, playing a great part of the resurgence in zombie literature. I sat reading by my book light whilst looking after my sleeping son and the island of light I occupied in the blacked out room definitely added some atmosphere to the experience.

McKinney sets up the main character, a normal cop, and the action really well. Against a background of hurricanes and desperate refugees, an everyday dispatch call turns out to be the beginning of a zombie invasion. As a police officer himself, McKinney really captures the feel of the patrolman; his everyday routines, his expectations and experience and his subsequent horror as the world falls apart.

The premise of the book revolves around the protagonist, Eddie Hudson, trying to make it across San Antonio to his wife and baby son. It’s a rough ride from the outset. Surviving the first attack, Hudson’s confusion and terror is soon magnified as he finds himself in a pitched battle against a horde of the undead. His fellow officers are equally caught between the protocols of the law and the desperate need to survive. Hudson ends up alone, working his way through a city that is quickly unravelling. Along the way he encounters a particularly selfish and unpleasant character whose ideas about zombies are at odds with the reality of the situation. He also meets up with his old partner and a bit of a buddy cop scenario ensues. The humour and bravado all feel very real, especially against such a visceral and frightening backdrop.

A great factor in McKinney’s book is how unprepared and unremarkable his main actor is. Yes, he’s a cop with a gun but he’s also a new father, a husband and a normal guy not in terribly good shape. All these factors ramp up the tension as he seeks to find his family amid the chaos and seemingly insurmountable odds. As a new father myself there was a particular scene that really grabbed me and, whilst the action was a supercharged hell ride through the apocalypse, McKinney also got just the right balance of gore to humanity to make this into my top zombie novel recommendations.

If you’re interested, the author has a great site explaining his books but beware of the spoilers…

Published by Pinnicle
My copy


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