Dead North is an anthology of Canadian zombie literature featuring some of the most amazing & imaginative horror scenarios that I’ve ever read. Usually, when I think of zombie literature, I think of outbreaks described in the States, the UK and, on occasion, Australia. Canada has simply been that place that American survivors try to flee to in the stories. While I am no stranger to Canadian authors, I’ve never given much thought to apocalyptic outbreaks scenarios up North, which is a poor reflection on my imagination, especially considering that I live “next door” in Michigan. And – wow – have I been missing out on some great zombie stories!
The reason I picked up this anthology is because I had heard that one of my favorite Canadian authors, Chantal Boudreau, had written another zombie story (she’s one of my favorite YA authors as well). I’ve also been looking for something a little less mainstream, and, well, original. I don’t know what impressed me more: the diversity of the stories in this collection, or the strong cultural themes within. And, for that, all of the authors should be commended.
Of course, when you’ve read as much zombie-lit as I have over the years, you begin to develop a palette for certain flavors of undead horror. So, some of the stories appealed to me more than others. There are, I think, 20 stories in this anthology (I may have miscounted), so, rather than review each one, I am going to highlight my personal favorites:
THE HERD by TYLER KEEVIL was the first story, and a great way to begin this undead buffet of gore and drama. The Herd reminded me of the movie Ravenous, but with zombies.
KEZZIE OF BABYLON by JAMIE MASON has a zombie horse. Enough said.
THOSE BENEATH THE BOG by JACQUES L. CONDOR was the most frightening story in the anthology, as far as I’m concerned. I would really love to see more horror from this author in the future.
GROUND ZERO: SAINTE-ANNE-DE-BELLEVUE by CLAUDE LALUMIERE had me hooked with the first paragraph, and dragged me down a path of unexpected terror.
DEAD DRIFT by CHANTAL BOUDREAU is sure to please her fans. I loved the source of the zombie virus, and I wish that she would turn this story into a full-length novel.
HALF GHOST by LINDA DeMEULEMEESTER was the very last story in the anthology, and a great way to wrap it all up. The creepy-factor was very high in this undead tale, but it left me wanting more. Prequel? Sequel? In any case, it left me hungry for more (pun ABSOLUTELY intended).
I have learned my lesson. From now on, I will make sure to include Canadian zombie lit in my reading list, and I recommend Dead North to my fellow zombiephiles, regardless of which country you live in.