I received this book for free from AudioBook Reviewer in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Neanderthal on March 14th 2014
Narrator: Greg Perry
Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
Genres: Horror, zombie
Source: AudioBook Reviewer
"The blood was still warm and there was meat and what looked like veins between his teeth - hanging out like dental floss."
Nobody knew where the still-living decapitated head came from.
But when the head bit Police Chief Rawger, he becomes a zombie with an insatiable appetite for human flesh, revenge, and power. But, unlike Hollywood-depicted zombies, he can think, speak, and strategize. He's also deranged, sexually perverted, and takes absolute pleasure in his evil acts.
As the zombie cop feasts on his family, neighbors, and out-of-town visitors, the only one who can stop him is Azriel Creed -- a 16-year-old bullied boy who becomes nearly paralyzed with pain whenever he gets angry or even thinks of violence.
While the boy struggles against his debilitating condition to save his family and friends, he's forced to confront the growing zombie horde using dark powers locked inside him that are potentially even more evil than the zombies he battles...
This has quite a few ups and downs. Sadly, most of them were downs for me. I do have to say that Ben Settle did have an idea that was unlike any other ideas that I’ve read about in the zombie universe, but I do not think they were executed well.
First thing that threw me was that this sounds like it was written for teens. Not because of the grammar but because of the speech for the children. Do teens really talk like this? It annoyed me so much that every time the narrator said something in his “teen lingo” I wanted to stop the audio. And there is a lot of it in this.
Then there is the plot of the story. Like I said it is coming from a good idea but the execution of the idea did not quite work. There is a zombie cop that feels like he is just going to go eat people and create other zombies. I like the idea of the zombie cop but he does things that do not fully make sense.
Then there is Azrael. He is supposed to be special (explained later but it’s a spoiler so we’ll skip why) and for some reason the zombies KNOW intuitively that Azrael is special. They want to kill him just because they have a feeling that he is bad for him. The entire town hates Azrael because of how he killed a horde of dogs that were coming after some kids. Yes, the scene is gruesome but are parents really going to be upset about HOW a kid killed the pack of dogs or that he saved their kids?
Azrael cannot get away from the way the town, and the way the people in the town, including his mother, feels about him so she and the church’s priest put him on a blue pill. This is also explained later but the idea behind the blue pill doesn’t quite make sense for who Azrael is. If there were more clues to the pill and more clues to what is later discovered about Azrael then the plot may have come together better.
Then there is the priest’s brother. This guy. He has no rhyme or reason for anything he does. He doesn’t tell Azrael a pivotal piece of information because Azrael could use it against him later but then he does tell him. Again, it’s a plot point that is strange and doesn’t bring everything together.
I am all for gore in horror novels. The more gore the better. I was reading Clive Barker’s Books of Blood as a young teen so I’m pretty used to it. This violence just seemed silly. A zombie rapes a young girl and brags about tearing her and spilling his seed inside her. The description of all of these acts of violence were created in a way to make them sound like they were written for a kid. All of the violence is written like this. The zombies eat people and enjoy listening to their screams and the entire time I was missing the real creep factor that comes with zombies.
Sadly, the narration was not great either. It was spoken as if in staccato. Every word ended with a period. I didn’t love the story but I think that the narration, if smoother, may have created a story that would help me not only understand the characters and plot more, but also feel like I’m in that world. I listened to this at a speed of 1.5 so I could get the narrator to sound semi-normal.