Joe McKinney’s book Dead City received rave reviews and this sequel is also fantastic. I haven’t read Dead City yet but I want to, now that I have sampled McKinney‘s work. This book stands on its own – even if you haven’t read Dead City, if you’re a fan of the living dead and the zombie apocalypse you’ll love this book. Lots of action, human interest, and zombies galore made this a page-turner I had trouble putting it down.
In Dead City, a series of hurricanes devastated the Gulf Coast, leaving destruction, death, and disease to ravage Texas and surrounding states. Somehow, many of the dead returned to life and any survivors quickly found themselves in a fight for their lives if they were unfortunate to have survived the devastation. Apocalypse of the Dead starts up two years after that outbreak; the apocalypse was stalled, and the zombies were contained in a quarantined area across the coast. When the quarantine was established, both the dead and living were trapped inside the zone with no way out.
A member of the quarantine authority and an embedded reporter are flying routine flights over the area when their chopper goes down inside the zone. A request for extraction was denied, and they are left to fight their way out of the quarantine, along with some survivors that tagged along. Meanwhile, a boat full of survivors manages to escape the zone, but there is an infected on board, and the zombie apocalypse begins. The zone is breached and the zombies quickly spread across the country. A prison chain gang is overrun by the horde but a couple of inmates escape to a gated community and one manages to survive with some of the locals as the community is overwhelmed with zombies. Another group of survivors find themselves banded together, fighting for their survival, looking for somewhere safe to flee to.
All of these groups head away from the coast looking for a future, and along the way they see signs for a safe haven in North Dakota, encouraging survivors to find their way there where all will be welcome. The groups all eventually find their way there and what they find is perceived differently by the various survivors. To some, it is a miracle and a new home, but to others, it is just another prison, run by a self-appointed religious leader reminiscent of Jim Jones and his Kool-Aid poison solution.
For sure something is not right – the leader is engaging with sex with young members of the community, free thought is discouraged, and something catastrophic is being planned. I won’t tell you how things turn out, but most of the book builds up suspense of the survivors trying to make it to North Dakota, and the last part of the book deals with the situation when they get there. I found this part of the book fascinating – full of realistic scenarios that one can imagine happening as survivors try to rebuild a world ravaged by the living dead. I highly encourage any zombie fan to read this book – extremely well done.