Char Robinson is a newbie author from Oklahoma, and I couldn’t wait to read another zombie tale from a female writer. Aside from the lack of any sexual content, and the limited gore, I couldn’t tell any difference from the zombie tales that the guys write. I’m not sure if Robinson was deliberately trying to write a PG-13 zombie story, but this would be acceptable reading for young adults. Unfortunately, after reading zombie novels by D’Orazio and DiLouie earlier this year, Robinson’s book, Zombified, seemed pretty tame…but it was still a damn fine survival tale with zombies…smart zombies…smart enough to avoid gunfire –and that is when the real horror sets in.
When a new virus hits the population, Mick Carter’s family joins several other families seeking refuge at Hudson Place, a survival fortress built by Dave Martin, Mitch’s boss. Everyone there has some sort of personal and/or work relationship with Dave, who is one of those guys who always believed an apocalypse would happen eventually, so the Hudson Place is fully stocked up, tricked out, and would satisfy the needs of any zombiephile. Mick continues to be reluctant to believe that zombies exist, until he watches how quickly everything falls apart outside of their sanctuary.
Call me selfish, but I thought it was kind of stupid for the survivors at Hudson Place to use a strobing light as a beacon to other survivors because Dave didn’t really calculate extras into his survival plan. The somewhat large group grows even larger with the addition of another family and other survivors passing through the area, causing Mitch’s group to go through their supplies faster. At least everyone was pulling their weight, as far as chores and keeping watch, but I wasn’t the least bit surprised when shit started to go wrong after the addition of the new members.
One of the new arrivals, Charlie Thompson, plans to continue on to the nearby town of Shady Oaks to find his daughter. Mitch’s group tosses around the idea that Shady Oaks could be cleared out and secured to allow for the relocation of new survivors, so they send some of their own family members with Charlie to check out the town’s viability. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but there are a lot of variables that the Hudson survivors didn’t stop to consider.
Charlie and his scouting party make a startling discovery about the zombies at Shady Oaks (yeah, I gave away that they are smart zombies, but that’s just scratching the surface), and they realize the infection might not be limited to humans. Meanwhile, the Hudson Place faces a threat from another group that is capturing survivors to use in medical experiments in an effort to find a cure for the virus…so some details, like keeping the weapons locked up in one place, or opening the door to see what’s outside, will most likely have you calling some of the characters idiots – but, remember, the characters were not zombiephiles to begin with.
Although some people might find Robinson’s style a bit raw, I liked the author’s writing style; Robinson didn’t waste time with flowery descriptions of the settings. The author sticks mostly to dialogue between characters as well as action scenes to keep the storyline going, although the POV – which is mostly third-person – occasionally shows us what some of the main characters are thinking, mostly Mitch and Charlie, but not limited to those two. However, for a horror novel this story could have had more gore, and more zombie-fighting scenes. I also would have preferred to see more characters die because there were just so damn many of them to keep track of.
At least Robinson didn’t end with a cliff-hanger. She finished up with a sweet epilogue that gives a few hints of what the sequel will include, when the next book in the series focuses on the Shady Oaks resettlement. If you’re not sure if you want to commit to the paperback, this novel is also available in a Kindle version.