Monday, May 2, 2011

Book Review: Dead Reckoning

I am not a frequent reader of zombie novels, liking the movie option much better for my zombie fare (World War Z being a noteworthy exception) but I thought I would see if I could kick-start my ATZ zombie solo-campaign at my public library.  I picked up literally at random Dead Reckoning: Dawning of the Dead by Anthony Giangregorio.  Dead Reckoning is published by "Living Dead Press" which appears to do nothing but publish zombie novels.
To put it bluntly, Dead Reckoning is one step up from fan fiction, and it is a short step.  The book appears to be an unauthorized sequel to the movie Dawn of the Dead, featuring Fran and Peter from the movie.  In the preface the author admits to wanting to know what happened to them after they escaped the Philadelphia shopping mall, and decided to write story himself.
In Dead Reckoning Fran and Peter make their way to Pittsburgh where the non-zombie population has dwindled down to two groups, a group of relatively regular survivors lead by a man named Pearson, and a group of tough guys led by a man named Carver.  The two groups are in constant conflict over the remaining supplies in Pittsburgh, which now include the helicopter belonging to Fran and Peter.
What I liked about the book was, for all of its underwhelming narrative and lack of real horror, was the scenarios Giangregorio created pitching Pearson's survivors versus Carver's gangers.  Much of the book has the two groups battling over grocery stores and warehouses, and I could easily see converting these into any wargaming scene.  What was really lacking was the zombies being a legitimate threat.  The characters were too good at killing them, rarely missing when shooting them in the head or going into hand-to-hand.  Only fickle fate or gross incompetence seemed to really pose a problem.  The real peril is Carver, who is both more violent and possessing greater weaponry.
The ending is a huge meh, and frankly flies in the face of Giangregorio's stated desire to see a resolution to the plot of Dawn of the Dead.  Fran and Peter spend most of their (surprisingly limited) time in the book woolgathering about what happened in the film.  Given that he has written no less than eighteen other zombie novels for Living Dead Press, I'm sure he has ample opportunity to do so elsewhere, however.


  1. I like that it continues after the original movie but only if I find it cheap somewhere.

  2. Might be a good "interlibrary loan" candidate. You can read it fairly quickly, too.