Pros: Fascinating and engaging premise and plot
Cons: Characters left me a little flat; more action than what I think of as horror
Rating: 3 out of 5
Doctor Victor Galloway has had a heart attack. Luckily for him he manages to dial 911—unluckily for him, the ambulance that shows up isn’t there to help him. The undead in charge of the Holy Evangelical Lady of the Lake (H.E.L.L.) Hospital have decided he’d be useful to them, so they’re planning to hasten his end and rebirth into their ranks. For some reason he comes out a little differently than the rest of them, though. He still has a conscience. The idea of feeding on people disgusts him. And he’s Hell-bent to put a stop to what’s going on—before his wife and son get turned into zombies, too. Not to mention the staff of every other hospital in the region.
The premise of John Karr’s Dark Resurrection is great. It’s a fascinating twist on the zombie theme, where zombies aren’t mindless killing machines, and they’re even using hospitals to cover up the harvesting of humans for food. The plot moves quickly and certainly had me turning the pages to find out what happens next.
However, while I found the plot engaging, the characters didn’t quite do it for me. I found it hard to engage emotionally with them, which for me is where ‘horror’ truly lies in horror fiction.
This partially speaks to my own genre preferences rather than the book itself. I prefer emotional & psychological horror to what I think of as action/thriller with horror trappings. Dark Resurrection is firmly in the latter camp for me—the horror comes in the form of critters and blood. If that’s what you’re looking for, then Dark Resurrection delivers a solid story with great pacing.
It did seem at times that some of the characters were a bit on the unbelievably foolish side. It was hard to buy the idea that the squabbling, always-hungry, arrogant undead could have kept their entire hospital operation a secret from so many people, for example. And I had to roll my eyes after a while at the idea that all of the women on the bad guys’ side were gorgeous sluts.
I think what it comes down to is this: if you enjoy creature-feature fiction, Dark Resurrection is great. It’s got all of the traditional elements—blood, explicit sex, action, and even romance—combined with a new and different premise.
If a more psychological and emotional horror is your cup of gore, however, this isn’t where you’ll find it.