Title: In the Dead of Night
Author: Jamieson Wolf
Cover Art: Victoria Miller
Publisher: Breathless Press
Buy Link: In the Dead of Night
Length: Novella/37,147 words
Rating: 1.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by LadyM
Review summary: A confusing jumble with gay angels in the middle of zombie apocalypse.
Blurb: Ikarus remembers nothing.
One moment there was darkness and the next, there was light. However, Ikarus Kane remembered nothing.
The world he knew is gone. Waking from a coma, he finds the world as he knew it greatly changed. It is now infested with the living dead. Ikarus has one choice: find shelter and hide or risk becoming one of them.
He finds shelter in an abandoned bed and breakfast. But there is someone there already. Mikhail Jones is a man who has survived more than just the zombie apocalypse. There is something about him that sets Ikarus’ body on fire and, despite knowing him only moments, he wants Mikahil desperately.
Ikarus is more powerful than he knows, however. Ikarus and Mikhail become entangled in a fight for survival where only they can save the world; only they don’t know it yet. They are part of an ancient prophecy that has been set in motion.
When they find a woman named Ruthe in one of the bedrooms upstairs, with no memory of how she got there, things are only beginning to get interesting.
In a desperate race to find answers, Ikarus and Mikhail cling to the only thing that feels right: each other. They will need the love that blooms between them if they are all to survive the night…
There aren’t many zombie themed books in this publishing niche, which is the main reason why I immediately jumped at the opportunity to review this book. Nothing says escapism like zombie apocalypse. Unfortunately, the final result was a confusing jumble of different motifs and ideas and flat characters with inexplicable motivations which ultimately failed to entertain.
Before you start reading In the Dead of Night, you might want to read a short prequel Dawning of the Dead which is available for free. This is basically a prologue of the main story, but it is not necessary for you to read it.
The story begins with a series of articles reporting the environmental disaster which eventually leads to the creation of zombies and complete destruction of human society. The two survivors and our protagonists – Ikarus and Mikhail – meet in the first chapter in an abandoned bed & breakfast. Soon after, they find a woman – Ruthe – in one of the bedrooms upstairs and thus their adventure begins.
Many things about this story didn’t work. The characters lack any background or development. That’s not surprising as most of them don’t remember anything about their pasts. But, Mikhail does, yet the author doesn’t give us any information about him at all. Those among the characters who do know something about their current situation (like the little girl Sati), hide information from the others because “they are not ready to know”. Therefore, the characters (and the reader with them) stumble blindly through the dark while they run from the zombies. The things that are revealed along the way – including the fact that most of the main characters are angels – were poorly explained and left me completely dissatisfied. The identity of Ikarus’s mother made me roll my eyes. The bad guy of the story was a caricature who wanted – guess what? – immortality and power. The beings – The Others – who incite him to create zombies remain mysterious as well and their motives murky at best.
The relationship between Ikarus and Mikhail develops at the speed of light. Their attraction is immediate and overwhelming and it turns into love in a matter of days. This is something recognized not only by the two protagonists, but everyone else. This was completely unbelievable, even in such an extreme situation like a zombie apocalypse. Additionally, the author inserts a completely unnecessary threesome into the story in the vein of “sharing is caring”. The sex was unappealing too:
“In one swift movement, Ikarus was inside of Mikhail’s asshole and he wondered if he had found nirvana after all this time.”
Finally, the resolution of the novel which can be summarized as “all we need is love” seemingly erased every problem not only for the characters but for the rest of the world as well.
The book frustrated me to no end. The mysticism – angels, gods, The Others – muddied the waters unnecessarily and complicated the story of survival and battle of good vs. evil, leaving the characters undeveloped. The circular explanations were another source of frustration. The worse was I felt that the author had something here, something that could have been a decent story. He certainly had great models – Romero, movie 28 Days Later and Stephen King’s The Stand were recognizable. The spark of occasional nerdy humor saved the book from complete loss.
“What happened in horror movies? What happened to the heroes? He wondered if he would have to remain a virgin in order to survive.”
“Amateurs. Star Trek, right? The guy in the red shirt always bit the bullet first, before any of the other crew. Always the red shirts.”
In the end, this review is only my opinion. Perhaps you will find In the Dead of Night more to your liking.