Featured Post

Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Throwback Thursday - Dead City by Joe McKinney

note: This is a book review that I wrote for the old Gutmunchers website. As I was always looking for more zombie stuff to cover the work of McKinney caught my attention. I suppose this is a spoiler but while this was my first dive into his work it certainly wasn’t the last.

The book establishes that there has been a series of hurricanes that have battered the coastline of Texas as in introduces us to our main character. Eddie Hudson is a police officer in San Antonio Texas working the evening shift. Responding to reports of a prowler he runs smack dab into an uprising of zombies. While the book never explains why there are zombies, it does hint that it might have to do with some new illness related to the devastation from the storms. After establishing the dead are walking around eating the living the rest of the book is Eddie trying to survive and find his wife and young son. 

Let me say something right here at the beginning of this review. Dead City follows a familiar and predictable story that anyone who has ever seen a zombie movie will recognize. But I still enjoyed the heck out of this book. I like the main character of Eddie, as well as the other characters that he runs into as the plot unfolds. McKinney does a wonderful job of making him likeable and as a result bringing the reader into the story. I was completely invested in the character and that kept me turning the pages wanting to know what happened next (it was a long night without enough sleep!). Another thing that McKinney does very well is the structure of the story. Most of the book takes place during a single night. I’m not sure how he pulled it off, but when I was reading Dead City it felt like it had a manic pace. As a reader I was getting as exhausted as the main character was. Though again the book kept me hooked and up way past my bedtime, so that might have played a part in this.

I wanted to get back to what I had already mentioned about the plot being familiar. This book is an excellent example of what a writer or even a filmmaker can do when they pay attention to the pacing of a story and the characters. A talented author can jump into an established genre like zombies and still have fun with it while entertaining their reader. This is the only book that I’ve read from Joe McKinney, but if it is any example of what I can expect from him it won’t be the last. 

Lets talk about some gore. While McKinney doesn’t linger much on describing the terrible things done to the living and the dead in this book, I did find it satisfying.  Don’t get me wrong we are treated to plenty of headshots, teeth gnashing, and a bit with a baby that is disturbing. As I’ve already touched on the pacing of the book is part of the fun, so if each zombie and kill were described in great detail the pacing would have suffered. 

I’m a sucker for all things zombie and Dead City is a great zombie novel. If you like your monsters shuffling and deceased, you will enjoy this book. I recommend taking the time to track down a copy.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

No comments:

Post a Comment