I don’t read much which comes under the Horror heading and, frankly, enjoy less. However, I do like to browse collections of short stories from time to time and so I wasn’t to upset to find that I’d won a copy of Joe McKinney’s Dead World Resurrection from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme. I really had very little idea what to expect but at least with short stories you don’t have too many pages to turn before you can hope for a change of tack.
If I was being mean, I could say that the basic premise remains the same from beginning to end. McKinney’s zombies are afflicted by a fast-acting virus that, as far as I understand it, doesn’t exactly kill its victims but turns them into flesh-eating monsters who feel no pain and remorselessly seek out living flesh until they eventually fall apart or suffer massive cerebral trauma.
That would be selling the book a long way short though, like saying James Hill or Jake Shimabukuro just play the ukulele (a few minutes hunting down videos of either of those two will show you just how inadequate that would be). McKinney works within a limitation and throws a whole series of unexpected twists so that, by the end of the stories, I was ready for some more. His day zero event is massive flooding of Houston, TX, bringing in a stream of infected water from the Caribbean which quickly leads to a global epidemic. However, he spans past and future and a whole host of characters, some loveable, some herioc and some tragic but all richly alive (well, at least at the start of stories).
It probably wouldn’t give too much away to say that most of the stories have reasonably happy endings, as much as can be the case in a world that doesn’t look set to find a proper solution to the problem. The highlight for me was probably the chapter where McKinney imagines (or pretends to imagine – he is writing fiction but it remains poignant) how he and his family would cope if his scenario really did occur.
I get the impression that Joe McKinney has written a fair amount and most of it around the zombie theme; it is a mark of how impressed I am with this collection that I’m keen to search some more out.