Review: “Threshold,” Jeff Olah

Pros: A few neat details
Cons: Stilted and inconsistent delivery
Rating: 2 out of 5

I’ve developed a weird fascination with post-apocalypse or prepper fiction, particularly with a biotech twist. This means I read a lot of bad–and some good–zombie fiction. Jeff Olah’s The Dead Years – THRESHOLD – Book 1 (A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller) (Volume 1) falls shortly below the middle, I’d say.

Mason is at a gym when things go crazy, so he bashes zombie heads in with a kettlebell (note: this is my favorite detail in the whole book). Three cheers for Mason being more ingenious than your average zombie target. Anyway, he attempts to meet up with (and flee with) April (the wife he’s separated from) and their teenaged son Justin.

There are sections where the author spells something out to the reader, then goes back and shows it through the narrative–seriously, just show us through the narrative. That’s more efficient and more effective. There’s one chunk early on where he narrates a whole bunch of things that happen. While that can work with some details, it is used to excess here. I was thinking, you know, a lot of this could be condensed into some dialogue… until I reached the dialogue, which was extremely stilted and not-natural-feeling.

Why the hell are these called “Feeders”? What’s the deal lately with no one ever wanting to use the Z-word? Are your characters that sheltered? Or is their world missing all zombie fiction, in which case, what else is different? (I’m only being half-sarcastic with that last question.)

What Mason didn’t know was that Randy was about to be put to the test since the majority of the Feeders were coming at them from behind.

What’s the point behind telling us this? It’s misplaced, for one thing: there’s no point in such a tell when it’s literally going to happen in the next page or two. That kind of large-bore break in the narrative should be kept for times when it makes a real difference. There is no point to putting it here.

This has not just a little cliffhanger, but a BIG cliffhanger. I hate that sort of cliffhanger, and do not continue reading most series that use them.

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