If you are a fan of zombie splatter and the polished supernatural fiction of a solid hit maker like Stephen King, AfterDark Chronicles: Survival by R.L. and M.R. Reeves will be familiar territory. Our tale begins with the end of the world from a zombie plague. Everything is exactly as the mythology demands with a few extras thrown in by the Reeves.
Mr. and Mrs. Reeves write with an engaging vocabulary of exploding skulls and gushes of arterial blood that keeps the action rolling very cinematically. They don’t forget to develop their characters either. A father and his adult daughter embark on a quest to reach the rest of their family on the other side of the country. A tough as nails marine with a heart that gets her in trouble at times joins them. They do stupid things and really smart things just like all of us would. At times the characters fall into their stereotypical uniforms, but I managed to stay invested throughout. As they cross a crumbling America, the band of survivors encounter the well-armed rednecks and fanatics we love to see heroes destroy, and they do it convincingly with a fun flair.
My biggest complaint is the supernatural element that gets introduced does not get near as much screen time as the zombies. An otherworldly force takes interest in certain survivors of the plague and mysteriously intervenes in their lives. This tried and true plot line of the masters is kept fresh by the Reeves’ naive villain that allows for a brief flicker of uneasy sympathy and convincing innocents that anyone would want to protect. I hope this story line will be amplified in the other books of the trilogy.
AfterDark Chronicles: Survival by R.L. and M.R. Reeves gets a solid three severed heads, and you better not get too close to these heads because they will eat your brains after finishing your intestines.
Heads Will Roll,