There’s a lot to be really impressed by here. I say that as a man who doesn’t generally read zombie novels, who thinks that we’re over-saturated by the undead and that most of the depictions aren’t that interesting. But, if you spin that on its head, then I suppose the fact there is so much zombie media out there means some of it is going to be good. It’s the law of averages.
The first half of this novel is fantastic. If you too are tired of zombies, I’d still recommend the first half. It’s basically an injured man trapped in a flat watching the world fall apart outside. It doesn’t really matter that it is zombies, it could be Cthulhu sending its tentacles down every street. The horror comes from his being trapped and helpless, in a big city but cut off from the rest of the world. It’s gripping, claustrophobic (which is obviously a type of horror I love) and the scares come from the practicality of having nothing and having no way to get anything.
Once our protagonist gets out of the flat, it’s not quite as interesting (even if this is a book which visits my old stamping grounds of Surrey Quays and New Cross). Still, the fact that it remains self-consciously Robinson Crusoe with added zombies makes it a winner in my eyes. A smart and entertaining read that that takes an intriguing conceit and keeps finding new ways to make it thrill.
There are no zombies, but if you feel like a free FRJ short story, there’s one available here.