Monday, September 19, 2011

"Dead Beyond the Fence" Book Review

Fall is here, and we are back! We have spent the summer traveling, reading stacks of zombie books for review, and watching the world go zombie crrrazaay. From video games, movies, books, pub crawls, and even the new 5k zombie dash in Maryland, it has been non-stop zombie love taken to the next level!

All that being said - we are back to start our full run of zombie book reviews, so that you will have more than enough reading material for the long winter ahead. I know a few of you have been waiting patiently for these to start, so let to it!
Our first book review comes from the author Brian Kaufman. We will be posting a interview with him soon, so stay tumed for that! in the mean time, here is a quick run down of "Dead Beyond the Fence" reviewed by Grady Arth, our newest edition to the iLovetheUndead Crew!

Zombie novels are not regular Pulitzer Prize winners, and with good reason. It's hard to make the undead more than formulaic and occasionally gross. But, see, here's the thing: I sat down to give it a chance and two hours later I got up to close all the windows, double-check the locks on the doors and nervously watch cartoons before going to bed, jumping when the neighbors made a loud noise upstairs. It got under my skin. In Kaufman's novel, the action sequences are remarkably engaging, with the characters showing an unnervingly realistic mix of fear and the kind of boredom that comes from being horribly traumatized for a long time with no respite.
Dead Beyond The Fence tells the story of Kevin and Angel, two people in Fort Collins, Colorado, who somewhat randomly hooked up when the world suddenly became jam-packed with zombies. When their building's security is compromised the two of them split with no plan and fewer resources. After a meticulously mapped hike through the streets (Kaufman lives in Fort Collins; he was clearly brimming with glee while imagining zombies at all the intersections and businesses he describes), the pair happen upon a fenced research facility. The 10 people in the building protected by the titular fence are mostly scientists who have been brought together under the charismatic control of one Nurse Rached-style woman.
The greatness shines in little flashes when Kevin and his new friend Corey go out on short trips to look for food and supplies. Armed with a hand gun and a crowbar respectively, they search for food and weapons to take back to the comp
ound. The zombies are slow, so their primary defense is walking away when one comes close. That makes it sound kind of boring, but these little confrontations are actually remarkably gripping. There were several passages where I had to remind myself to slow down and actually and read the words and not skim just to find out what happened next. There are a couple places in this book where I get the cloudy impression that Kaufman wanted to convey a generalized "be nice to nature or it'll kick you like a cranky mule" message, and maybe a little "human nature is a black, vile monster barely held in check by the fragile chains of society, so you guys better watch the hell out when society crumbles" thrown in, but he never comes right out with it.
The novel itself is a decent little yarn about regular people struggling through a crisis.

iLovetheUndead Score: 3/5

Stay tuned for our interview with Brian Kaufman!