Dead of Night
by Jonathan Maberry
Published: October 2011 from St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!
This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite.
A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But before he can be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. Can two small town cops contain the plague before it spread beyond all control?
Dead of Night has everything I could want in a zombie book. I was kept up late at night reading and I may have even had a zombie dream or two, not gonna lie. Zombies are my thing right now – I’m fascinated by them. Mostly because there is no one right way to write about a zombie. Fast or slow, virus or spell, intelligent or brain dead, there are so many possibilities. Jonathan Maberry’s zombies are just how I like them, though – shuffling, brain-dead, why-won’t-they-just-die cannibals. From a virus. Always a plus!
Dead of Night actually takes place over a very short amount of time…only about twenty-four hours from first bite. And rather than be a story about a global apocalypse (though I do love those), the twenty-four hours showcase how and where the dreaded zombie apocalypse could start. Who would ever think it would be in small town America? From the moment our two main character cops Dez and JT come across the first risen bite victim, I started a body count – and that body count rose quickly. There are blood, guts and body parts galore, and that brief moment when you as the reader know that “there are zombies behind you, oh my god,” and want to yell at the unsuspecting cops to aim for the head!
Besides my obvious love for the zombies, I do still need some purposeful story to keep me entertained, and Jonathan Maberry delivers. Officer Desdemona (Dez) Fox is a kick-ass female lead who is brash, ballsy and one of those people you’re not sure you like right away but come to appreciate when it comes right down to it. Dez may not always be the best or nicest person, but she’s a good cop and by the end of the book I was cheering for her so hard. And her partner, JT Hammond…oh man, I don’t want to give anything away but…JT. An older cop, he’s still able to hold his own and blow away some zombies. Dez and JT compliment each other really well in temperament. He’s cool and collected, she’s loud and anxious. One of the other main characters of note – besides the serial killer who starts it all, Homer Gibbon – is Billy Trout, local news-reporter and on-again-off-again boyfriend of one Dez Fox. Billy’s character is our way of finding out the back story to the zombie apocalypse and his sections flow really well with Dez’s parts. We get some insight into Homer Gibbon, and the doctor that infected him with the virus. The voices in this book are all so unique and well written, but the best one? The zombie point of view. I was so excited to read parts from one of the first zombies, Doc Hartnup (mortician who accepted Homer Gibbon’s “body” into the funeral home). His thoughts are so intense, and really make you feel for the zombie.
Dead of Night is a zombie novel that is about more than just the zombies. Jonathan Maberry’s take on how a zombie virus could come about is in-depth, well thought out and I’d believe it. Why not? There are odder ways for a zombie apocalypse to start! Characterization and writing drags you in and keeps you running for your life while zombies and the military are hot on your heels. I really enjoyed the glimpses into his idea of how the government would respond to a viral outbreak with an almost 100% infection rate. Everything in this book comes to a deliciously intense ending that had me gripping the book, afraid someone would make me put it down in the middle of such an intense scene. And the very end…dude. That’s all I have to say. Love. If you like your zombies definitely dead and gory, your book with substance and don’t mind leaking emotions all over the place, Dead of Night is for you. Go read it.
(Me, I’m going to be reading more Jonathan Maberry. Starting with the one on my shelves, Dust & Decay!)
(Parents: there be foul language and zombie violence afoot. Proceed with normal caution)
ARC copy received from St. Martin’s Griffin and the author in exchange for my honest review.