Title: Dead Things
Author: Meredith Russell
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: horror, romance, alternate worlds
Length: novel (283 pages)
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Larissa
Review Summary: Zombies!! Need I say more? Oh yeah. There is a romance!
A deadly virus creates hungry monsters. Devin Reid, a survivor, risks his life scavenging food and supplies. One day, Devin finds someone with the potential to change a dark future into one of hope and second chances, Noah Weber.
A deadly virus rages indiscriminately across the United States and then beyond. The survivors face a new terror–the undead creatures created in the wake of the infection.
Devin Reid is part of a group surviving out of a high-security penitentiary near Kansas City. Resources are limited and it’s down to a handful of people like Devin to meet the demands on food and supplies. The newly-made monsters are hungry, and the survivors risk their lives scavenging the cities and highways.
On one fateful venture, Devin finds something, someone, with the potential to change a dark future, destined for blood and heartbreak, into one of hope and second chances. He finds Noah Weber.
CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains graphic violence.
We all love a good zombie story. Alright, not everyone, but I sure do. So it was a no-brainer (pun intended) for me to read Dead Things. In a way it didn’t disappoint. It started of really good. There were things in this story that worked out quite well and there was enough blood and gore for me to satisfy my bloodlust. Yes, I’m very bloodthirsty. There were other things, though, that didn’t quite work out so well and that had me wanting to do many: headdesk or facepalm
So I guess now you want to know what and why, right? Well grab another brain and sit back, relax and let me tell you.
I won’t rehash much of the plot, because it’s basically as the blurb says. The story really starts when Devin meets Noah, because Noah is special in a way. Not only does he kick zombie ass, there is something in his blood that might help the survivors.
This first part of the story worked out quite well. It was detailed and a good set-up for the rest of the story. It’s nicely written and very detailed. Lovers of zombie horror will dig it!
It’s when Devin brings Noah back to the sanctuary that the brains hit the fan (almost literally too). Suddenly the high and mighty and arrogant of his ass Corden makes an entrance, a character made to fit the story to enhance certain plot developments.
Suddenly Noah is not so kick-ass as something is done to him and the rest of them basically let the bastard scientists. I wonder if they thought of asking him first… Noah is the kind of man who would have agreed too.
Devin also starts acting out of character. Up until then the reader has a certain picture of him as the tough and strong, kick ass, but caring and still grieving zombie killer. But suddenly he lets the pompous Corden walk all over him without a fight? Erh?
In fact, everyone hates Corden. So why do they keep him around? I doubt just for his organization skills and good looks.
The story then moves on to the second part that is a road trip to Chicago. While the circumstances are a little sketchy, it’s good action. Noms! Brains!
There were again a few things that were developed to fit the story, rather than be a part of it. Bringing a pregnant lady on a road trip is one thing, but a blind one? The story in no way indicates that she can contribute anything special, apart from keeping Devin in line as it is his sister. Again, why would Devin, who is so overprotective of his sister, allow it? Not to mention her husband.
Then along the way and in Chicago there were also a few incidents that made me raise my eyebrows, but it wasn’t too bad. Not that the above made the story any less, it just made less believable.
There is no real world building in Dead Things. The author relies heavily on existing concepts of zombie apocalypses. There is no deeper layer of how the world works now, except the obvious surviving and looking for a cure. Because zombies are so popular, this actually works for Dead Things.
While there was some characterization, none of the characters are really well developed beyond their function in the story. Devin is the obvious strong leader type, who cares, but is also still grieving the people he lost and one in particular. Emily is the loving, blind, sister who is married to Devin’s best friend Jack. You only realize just how much of a survivor Devin is when you read the background story between Devin and Jack.
Noah is the love interest who has a special role to play. Also strong and a survivor, he is jaded, but still cares as to what happens around him. He is deeply scared by what happened to his family. He’s also stubborn and pursues Devin single mindedly.
Corden is the obvious bad guy. He plays a role in almost everything that goes wrong in the story, which made him a not so very believable bad guy as he existed only so certain events could happen like the major big turning point at the end that made me headdesk a lot.
It may sound like I’m only nagging on this story, while in fact I really did like it. I think it might be because of that. While I hoped the story would be a bit more – it had the unfortunate fate to be read after me re-reading Homer’s Iliad – it wasn’t bad at all, it was pretty entertaining. Yes, it falls prey to some of the obvious zombie tropes, but hey, this is a zombie story! Dead Things is an enjoyable, gory, bloody, braaaaaainns, adventurous light read that most fans of zombie stories will enjoy and you get a romance to boot.