by Mina Gorey
The Dead Infested:
By Edward J. Russell
2 / 5 zedheads
Author Edward J. Russell takes a rocket launcher to zomlit with The Dead Infested: Second Bane.
As with any big ‘ol boomstick, one need not hit the mark dead on to deliver a respectable bang, and Russell achieves this with Second Bane. Despite a few problems, at 218 pages, the book is a fast-paced read with solid page-turning action.
Zombies overtake the world and factions of humanity struggle on. For some, it's in orderly militaristic fashion, as in the group lead by Ward "The Warden" Wilson. For others, it's a true nomadic lifestyle, as with Colonel Hastings’ crack army force on its endless seek and destroy mission to eradicate “zips.” Lurking beyond the fringes is the rough and ready Dante and his band of jackals who suddenly realize winter looms before them and, as in the fable of the Grasshopper and the Ant, all they’ve stockpiled is a fearsome reputation, aided by the antics of the notorious Crazy Bitch.
Enter Reed, a mysterious loner who stumbles into the midst of this chaos, as these three factions hurtle toward the inevitable clash. Reed’s odd ways, shady past, and apparent skill as a “zombie whisperer” hides a darker secret all three groups will do anything to discover, although harnessing it may prove to be a bigger challenge than anyone could imagine.
Nonstop action, a varied cast, depth, subtle character development, three innovative varieties of zombie, and a nod to some fairly plausible science, as well as obvious military knowledge, all adds up to good story value for The Dead Infested: Second Bane. Russell has done his homework here and the result is an entertaining, well-paced yarn with a broad enough scope to sink your teeth into that ably sets the stage for a possible sequel.
The novel's bothersome points reflect the opposite side of this bright shiny coin: there’s almost too much here. The massive cast requires a certain level of focus to keep track of and the scope of the story itself with its almost-frenetic pace feels just plain clunky at times. Russell hands us a lot to chew and while it’s a solid meal, you may find yourself pushing away from the table before he’s even served the last course. Approach this book with an appetite and be ready for more than you bargained for – or perhaps even want.
In sum, Russell’s The Dead Infested: Second Bane largely hits the target insofar as story value, but one hopes he opts for more precision with his next choice of weaponry, as opposed to simply banging away with raw firepower.
Mina Gorey aka Em Gee is a deeply disturbed individual who tries to channel her more worrisome eccentricities into the analysis of quality zombie film and literature and too much time on Twitter (NSFW).
She was able to pick Greg Nicotero out of a lineup 15 years before the advent of The Walking Dead. She refers to George Romero as the Father of the Modern Zombie and will bore you to tears with why at the least provocation.
Her hobbies include gore-whoring, screaming zombie trivia at strangers at bus stops, and gleefully throwing stuffed mice for her cat. Her other hobbies include more mental stability than she cares to admit to, 11 years of indie webmastering several adult websites, and spending time with friends and family, whether they’re zombie fans or not.