Pros: Lots of explosions; cancer cure angle; plenty of action
Cons: Zombies start out interesting then turn into standard fare
Rating: 3 out of 5
The Apocalypse Crusade War of the Undead Day One: A Zombie Tale by Peter Meredith starts out with plans for a clinical trial of a possible cancer cure. Dr. Lee’s experiment has been deemed the most promising, so Dr. Riggs’s work gets trashed as the company decided to go all-in on one line of research. They have a relatively small pool of subjects, but at least it’s a start. Unfortunately someone sabotages the research and there’s a zombie outbreak.
I liked the pre-zombie premise: cancer cure, trials, sabotage, etc. Usually this is the part of the zombie outbreak we don’t get to see much of and I found it interesting. However, I had a few problems with how it unfolded. The characters did hit on sabotage as a possibility, which was nice. However, those initial side effects match those from a different drug that research got suspended on, so someone should have picked up on that in particular. Now it’s nice to see a zombie story actually use the z-word, but that introduces another problem: even though everyone started calling them zombies, almost no one thought to try the head-shot solution. I also don’t understand most of the saboteur’s actions, since he stuck around until there seemed to be little chance of him escaping.
There aren’t many likable characters in this book. Some of them start out as stereotypes and become more; some remain stereotypes. Fleshing out the cancer patients’ personalities was a good plan. Unfortunately the story does eventually take a left turn into more common zombie fare. There were only a couple of differences–one being that the contagion is contact-spread rather than bite-spread, and the other being a couple of characters who briefly manage to retain some of their intelligence for various reasons. It’s like reading a zombie book that’s half unusually original.
I did enjoy the action-oriented parts of the book. Some of it got quite creative, including explosions and fires and plenty of blood and gore. I also liked the ending quite a bit–it set some very nice hooks for the next book.