Code Z: An Undead Hospital Anthology, from KnightWatch Press (with cover design by David Naughton-Shires), will have readers avoiding any trips to the hospital if they can. This anthology was edited by horror author Lyle Perez-Tinics, and he did an exceptional job. The theme of the anthology – outbreaks beginning at hospitals – was clear and strong throughout the entire collection. Not once did any story seem out of place, and all the writers involved contributed some great undead pieces. I was thrilled to see so many of my favorite authors together in one collection.
UNDEAD ON ARRIVAL by Armand Rosamilia focused on a zombie outbreak in the ER while one of the doctors stresses out over an affair with his best friend’s wife. Even though this story was surprisingly tame for Rosamilia, it showed the range this author is capable of writing.
AND IN THE BEGINNING by Anastasia Wraight takes place in a waiting room, with a family involved in a medical research experiment. There is quite a build-up, considering the brief length of the story, but Wraight does a good job of avoiding obvious conclusions.
TO WALK THE HALLS by Rebecca Besser was one of the most horrific stories in the anthology: a woman goes into labor a month early, and gets bitten by another patient. Besser spares no one…
SKIN AND BONES by Rebecca Snow takes place in the psyche ward of a hospital; a young woman is receiving medical assistance for an eating disorder when the hospital goes into lock down as an outbreak occurs. I loved the twist.
ANTICIPATING DEATH by Pembroke Sinclair was one of my favorites in the collection. A young man goes to the ER with severe abdominal pain, falls asleep in a room after being admitted, then wake up to a bloody aftermath. Full of suspense.
BROKEN by Jeremy L Mahan was one of the very best stories in the anthology. A guy gets hit by a car while running from an undead neighbor, blacks out, and wakes up in a hospital with memory loss.
DELIVER US FROM EVIL by Peggy Christie was extremely disturbing. A woman visits her mom in a hospital, and tries desperately to escape when an outbreak unfolds.
FAST FOOD by Jonathan Wood takes place in the UK, and is full of surprises. A Security guard at the local hospital makes a shocking discovery about the mortician.
LOCKDOWN by Shawn M Riddle features a doctor’s POV of an outbreak with a fantastic use of a marked timeline.
MOMMY AND DADDY by Bowie V Ibarra was another favorite; an outbreak of Biter Syndrome spreads to the family of a little boy having a domestic dispute in the hospital.
THE NIGHT OF THE BEASTS by Eric S Brown was a classic Brown story, and I loved it, but I’m not saying anything else…
OUR LADY OF THE RESURRECTED by Monique Snyman was a nice addition to the collection, centering on an urban legend with a tale of twins in a hospital outbreak.
SHOWERS by Steve Gierman was Night of the Living Comet meets Return of the Living Dead…great entertainment!
DEAD INSIDE by Jim Bronyaur had multiple POVs of an exciting attempt to prevent an outbreak from spreading any further. An excellent way to end the anthology!!
Code Z is imaginative, dark and expertly executed. This is definitely a collection that all zombiephiles can tear into!