Brains….brains….I need brains…..mmmmm…..
Yeah. That's what I expected when I read Dead Meat by Chris and Patrick Williams. I mean, c'mon. With a title like that, I figured the book would be all about zombies eating human flesh and walking around with no real destination in mind. Granted, there is some of that in this book, but there is so much more!
First of all, the word zombie isn't ever mentioned. Gavin, the narrator, can't deal with thinking of them as once being human, so he nicknames them bees. And they are kind of like that. These zombies sway and swarm together looking for a pattern to the world around them. Their world was once called River's Edge, a small town where rabies or "something" has become rampant. Though we never really find out what's up with that, it doesn't matter. River's Edge has a big problem with its residents eating each other and that's enough for Gavin and his new buddy, Benny, to try and leave town. Unfortunately, the government appears to have other plans for them and due to the "Exterminators" (soldiers at the edge of town who shoot both the living and the dead), their evacuation plan becomes harder than they imagined.
This is a gory book. It's graphic in its violence and though I consider myself pretty seasoned when it comes to reading about death, this had me shuddering from time to time. However, that being said, I would not say that this is your typical zombie story. It really isn't about working together as a team or defeating the military. It's about survival and how far you are willing to trust another human being. Benny and Gavin's relationship is a tenuous balance of power and allows growth in both characters. I went from hating Benny to really thinking he was pretty cool and the kind of guy I might want around at Doomsday. Gavin is our every man who has to deal with what's happening and then figure out who he really is--wimp or fighter?
I have to admit the ending did not make me happy. I sorta saw it coming, but I'm not a fan of first person narratives that end in this particular way. But that's just me and I won't spoil the outcome!
You can pick up your copy of Dead Meat at the following locations: