SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1168 Dying to Live, by Kim Paffenroth Book Review |

Dying to Live, by Kim Paffenroth cover image

Dying to Live, by Kim Paffenroth
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Permuted Press
Published: 2007
Review Posted: 4/14/2008
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Dying to Live, by Kim Paffenroth

Book Review by Ray Wallace

Have you read this book?

Kim Paffenroth's Dying to Live is a zombie novel. In case this needs some explanation, what I mean by this is that it is set in a George Romero "Night of the Living Dead" type of universe where corpses have suddenly started getting up and walking about. They have also discovered that the flesh of the living makes quite the tasty dish. By sheer numbers these "zombies" have overrun the planet leading to the collapse of civilization. Now, the humans who have managed to stay alive, either through sheer luck or surprising ingenuity, must fight daily for their very survival.

Dying to Live is told in the first person by a man named Jonah Caine who is on his own after the death of his family. Doing nothing much more than trying to keep himself from becoming zombie food, he struggles to make sense of the catastrophe that has so deeply affected him personally and the world at large. After months of wandering about on his own and finding himself no closer to any answers, he comes to a city where he discovers a group of survivors who have been living inside of a museum they have converted into a fortress. This community welcomes Jonah into the fold and he quickly finds himself viewing these new acquaintances as an extended family.

Among Jonah's new housemates (or museum-mates, to be more accurate) are Jack, the de facto leader of the community with his military training and organizational skills, Milton, a scholar and a prophet who seems to wield some strange power over the undead, and the tough-as-nails Tanya with whom Jonah all too quickly finds himself romantically involved. Soon, Jack is training Jonah in the ways of hand-to-hand combat with the undead and then sending him off on a reconnaissance mission into the city for supplies. Along the way Jonah spots a helicopter on the roof of a nearby hospital. Days later, Jonah is involved in an attempt to secure the helicopter only to find himself caught up in an impromptu rescue operation involving a man and his infant daughter found at the hospital. And later on, after smoke is seen rising in another part of the city, a different group of survivors is encountered at the local prison and it is here that we discover the message at the heart of the book, that the living can be more monstrous than the undead ever could be.

With Dying to Live, Kim Paffenroth has by no means reinvented the zombie tale. Nor has he tried to. What he has done is joined the chorus of those who have come before, namely George Romero and the myriad other writers and filmmakers who have helped to flesh out--so to speak--this immensely popular horror sub-genre, and added his own voice to the mix. A voice that is steady and true in its storytelling with an interesting little morality play to convey. The bottom line here is that if you consider yourself a fan of the zombie story then you should give this one a try. I doubt you will be disappointed.
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