Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book Review: Slow Burn: Zero Day by Bobby Adair

Slow Burn 

Category/genre: Adult/Horror 

My star rating: 3/5

Goodreads blurb: A new flu strain has been spreading across Africa, Europe, and Asia. Disturbing news footage is flooding the cable news channels. People are worried. People are frightened. But Zed Zane is oblivious. 
Zed needs to borrow rent money from his parents. He gets up Sunday morning, drinks enough tequila to stifle his pride and heads to his mom’s house for a lunch of begging, again.
But something is wrong. There’s blood in the foyer. His mother’s corpse is on the living room floor. Zed’s stepdad, Dan is wild with crazy-eyed violence and attacks Zed when he comes into the house. They struggle into the kitchen. Dan’s yellow teeth tear at Zed’s arm but Zed grabs a knife and stabs Dan, thirty-seven times, or so the police later say.With infection burning in his blood, Zed is arrested for murder but the world is falling apart and he soon finds himself back on the street, fighting for his life among the infected who would kill him and the normal people, who fear him

THE RAVE-WORTHY:  I'm a sucker for a good zombie story, but it's difficult to find one that isn't basically the same old done-to-death plot with the MC's name being the only real difference.  SLOW BURN offered a few new elements into the mix that I haven't come across yet.  First of all, immunity was introduced and handled as a main source of conflict.  He was scared of the other "infected" and the uninfected were scared of where does that leave Zed?  This book also gives up a tiny glimpse into the world of being a zombie, which was pretty cool.  The imagery was fantastic, I could actually picture myself slipping and sliding in blood and guts...that's a good thing!  I was a little nervous going into this book because I had read so many reviews that complained about the lack of character development, and I have to say that I couldn't disagree more.  Zed isn't your typical love everything about 'em protagonist.  Actually, in the beginning, he's a flat out a jerk.  But he had his reasons for being a jerk and I found him to be totally relatable and realistic.  Plus, bonus!  He becomes less of a jerk as the story goes on and "develops" into the hero.  The fact that you aren't immediately on his side was a little refreshing.

THE GRUMBLE-WORTHY:  From what I can tell, this book was self-published.  And unfortunately, you can tell.  The MC speaks like no twenty-something man I've ever met, and the narrative/dialogue is a bit repetitive.  In parts where the text should have (and COULD have if it had been pushed just a little more) jumped off the page and made your heart pound I found myself going, "Oh, look.  Another dead guy.  Meh."  Like I said above, the imagery was there, what it was lacking was urgency.  I also found myself being put off by the way race was handled in the book.  When the MC finds himself in jail he's suddenly surround by POC and for at least an entire chapter one cellmate is constantly referred to as "the big black guy."  But, to be fair, the person to which he was referring did become one of the critical motivations for my eventual affection for Zed (hard to explain with out inserting spoilers, so I'll leave it there).  Bottom line, a little editing and slightly more delicate handling of a pretty big issue (for me) could have taken this book from good to great. book review, reading, writing

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