Review – Plague of the Dead by Z.A Recht

Posted: August 1, 2014 in Horror
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What with the stifling heat, work commitments and a baby growing teeth at a rate of knots, my reading was fairly non-existent last week. But, I thought I’d finish off the month with the last of my second-hand book shop zombie novel finds. Published in the UK in 2010, Plague of the Dead by Z.A. Recht was a great way to end the binge. Though the author died, the trilogy that this novel begins was finished and I may have to hunt around for the rest.

Released in the US in 2006, Plague of the Dead is clearly a product of America’s growing suspicion with its government and its agencies. Recht begins the book with two of the main characters, an army medical researcher and a general, emailing each other about the threat of a virus; the Morningstar strain. Their emails are being monitored, however, and soon both Lt. Colonel Anna Demilio’s medical knowledge and General Sherman’s tactical know-how is put to the test as well as their loyalty to the army and the government.

Demilio understands the extreme danger the virus represents and the ease with which it can spread across the globe. She is soon put on the spot, forced to defend America’s decision not to close its borders on television. Frustrated, she leaks information about the viral outbreak in Africa, along with her own research that proves carriers can reanimate, to journalist Julie Ortiz. As the threat of the virus grows General Sherman is drafted into a task force attempting to close Africa’s borders at the Suez Canal. Neither plan goes well. Demilio and Ortiz find themselves detained by the NSA whilst Sherman is in full retreat ahead of a horde of infected, crazed, biting maniacs.

The real action of the book centres around Sherman and his motley crew of survivors made up from refugees and army soldiers. Recht’s novel has a filmic feel to the description and set ups but some of his characters and their interactions are clumsy and they make odd decisions at times. Certain actors appear out of the group purely to be made whole and then fed to the zombies. That said, the novel does rack up the tension toward the end and what Recht has achieved is a great mix of zombie monsters. He employs both the rabid, fast moving infected as well as shuffling, reanimated undead. His work on the spread of the disease and his rule set for the infection and then reanimation are consistent.

Whilst there are some caveats to Recht’s book, it was a fast read. It’s pulpy, a bit cheesy in places but with a movie-esque vibe. Whilst it’s not at the top of my zombie novel list (Zone One probably holds that spot) it was an entertaining end to my zombie binge.

My copy
Published by Pocket Books


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