Dead City (Dead World, #1) PDF

by Joe McKinney Oh, zombie books, how I love you and how you hurt me. Some of the worst books I've read this year have been zombie books. Apparently walking dead allows you to substitute out character development, which is such a shame because I believe the best character development can come out of stressful life or death situations. You can get right down to the core of a character with simple actions at the right moments. Maybe I'm looking for too much from the genre.

Dead City is a first person POV told by a police officer named Eddie Hudson as a zombie outbreak occurs during his evening shift in San Antonio, Texas. The reasons for the outbreak are kind of loose, which isn't really a problem for me. I'm not the sort of person who needs to see the infected monkey in a cage spitting at the janitor who through some weird twist of circumstances ended up trying to clean a room he had no clearance to be in on his first day of the job. Besides, you can't get that level of explanation from a first person narrative, but I still wasn't a fan of how the outbreak supposedly came about in this book. There was a hurricane, people got sick from living condition, and evacuations of people who were carriers but not yet totally infected spread it. I didn't take a star off for this because you can't expect a better virus evolution from an average first person zombie narrative.

The first round of stars came off because I didn't quite believe Eddie would do half the things he did. After an infected cop Eddie rescued kills himself rather than let the infection progress, Eddie goes to let the cop's family know he died. When he gets there the baby is half eaten and the dead cop's wife is clearly the culprit. If he'd gone to the house to assume responsibility for the other cop's family, like evacuate the wife and child right along with his own wife and child then I would've better understood it. With his motivation being a simple matter of notification I felt like this was meant to scare the audience into thinking the exact same thing could happen to Eddie's own wife and child. Blah. I wasn't impressed.

On his way to his home where he hopes to find his family, Eddie gets distracted several times — the outing to the dead cop's family included. The sense of urgency and even my belief that he really cared about what happened to his family as diminished by all his 'ooh gunshot! I should check that out!' It's a zombie outbreak. There's going to be a lot of gunshots. Pretty much everyone that has a gun is going to shoot it that day. What was the goal there? To make me question how bright Eddie is or to think he was a big swaggering hero? The only thing achieved was making me think his family was so-so on the list of important things.

Eddie also seems to think his wife is brain dead. He repeatedly tells himself she's a "smart girl," but he says it in a way that seems like the kind of blanket and meaningless reassurance you give yourself when it really can't get any worse. Besides, in just about every scene his wife is presented as a shrill shrewy thing. The book opens with her arguing with him on the phone about switching his shift, refusing to understand he doesn't get much of a say in it, and demanding help with the baby. It's never said whether or not April, the wife, has a job, but she seems to believe that the kid needs TWO STAY AT HOME PARENTS AT ALL TIMES. She's bothering him while he's on patrol because she can't handle the baby on her own. She comes off as ridiculous, needy, and unlikable. It's a fun start for female characters that doesn't get much better.

The next female character solidly introduced is a reporter who flags down Eddie and a cop demanding to know what they're going to do about civilians holed up in a building who need evacuation. Basically the whole city is over run with walking dead and this is the largest pool of living people Eddie's seen. He's only encountered a couple of living cops, all his ranking or lower. He's essentially on his own with one other cop who might be a little crazy. The reporter is deliberately trying to make our intrepid hero look bad. She is then distracted by the better looking and slightly psycho cop and proceeds to thrust her boobs out and flutter her eyelashes at him. We'll call her Bambi. When the inevitable zombie outbreak occurs near this cache of survivors Bambi turns into a whimpering teary mess. The cops save Bambi, but she gets eaten anyway because she sits in the car sniffling while they work to clear a path to drive it down.

As if that wasn't enough the next female to occupy pages gives up fighting, sits down, and allows herself to be eaten when the cops are out of reach to rescue her. She literally chooses to die when those big strong men folk can't hop the fence and take care of her. I wouldn't have read too much into her gender had it not been the third female character with absolutely no sense of self-reliance.

To go back to the wife, when Eddie finally meets up with her again she tries to shoot him and he has to talk her into believing he's not a zombie. He points out zombies can't speak and she cries because he's yelling at her. She shot at him and then cried when he was upset about it. Poor baby. Honestly, I kept wondering if the woman the author is married to was really okay with how every woman in this book was portrayed? We never find out where April has been or what she's been doing but apparently she's heading back to the house because she left without packing baby food and diapers. Wtf. Did she think she was going to stop at CVS to refresh her supplies?

There's very little character development. I read another review where the reviewer said it was basically the plot of a video game and I agree. One obstacle course after another. Anyway, if the book had only been a shallow story I still would've given it two or three stars, but the fact that all female characters were too stupid to live was too difficult for me to tolerate for 288 pages. One star; I don't recommend it to anyone.

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