I first came across author Patrick D’Orazio in an anthology that I reviewed in the past; he had written a short story called A Soldier’s Lament, which was about some National Guardsmen on a rescue mission into a hot zone full of DICs (Disease Infected Civilian or Deteriorating Infected Corpse). The story was packed with bloody action & a wicked ending, and his writing style doesn’t change much in the first two books of his Dark Trilogy.
I thought I was lucky to have two of the three books at the same time, but I will be going out of my mind waiting for the third one now. (In addition to wicked endings, D’Orazio loves to torture his readers with horrific cliffhangers too.) In the first, Comes the Dark, we meet Jeff Blaine, a guy who has just lost his entire family. He doesn’t care about survival anymore; he just wants to take out as many of the undead as he can.
While he is on his suicidal mission in his suburban neighborhood, he finds another survivor named Megan. Megan was letting herself starve to death, but she finds a reason to live in Jeff’s company. She reasons that if there are two of them, there might be more people still alive and she becomes obsessed with searching for other survivors. Jeff agrees to most anything as long as he gets to kill lots of zombies along the way, which earns him the reputation of being crazy.
So, it’s not surprising when Megan & Jeff find themselves trapped by a massive horde, and have to be rescued by George and Jason, the only two people left alive at a failed rescue station. The four of them try desperately to put some distance between themselves and heavily populated areas, but the undead always seem to find them. They meet other survivors who aren’t as interested in working together as a group. Comes the Dark ends with the four being taken hostage by another survivor group.
Into the Dark, the second of the trilogy, the group that have taken them against their will are led by a guy named Michael, who claims that he can keep them safe and sound in his fortified camp. There are many conflicts among the two groups of survivors, and Jeff, Megan, George and Jason realize they aren’t as tight-knit as they thought. After a supply run goes horribly bad, the sequel ends with another freakin’ cliff-hanger (thanks, Patrick…you are worse than the zombies).
There is no lack of gore or violence in these two books. Lots of action – not heavy with philosophical conversations or rants. No explanation of the virus is attempted, and the survivors don’t reflect on how the outbreak began or was spread. The reader is pretty much dumped into the zombie apocalypse after it is well under way. The zombies are mainly un-thinking shamblers, but D’Orazio hints that there might be more to the undead than just rotting corpses. Most of the story centers on Jeff’s viewpoint, but every now and then we catch a glimpse of what is running through the minds of his other three companions. The only problem that I had with the books is that they were over too damn quick.
I can’t wait for the third book, and I highly recommend this trilogy to my fellow zombiephiles. If you would like to know more about the author, Patrick D’Orazio, you can find him at http://www.patrickdorazio.com