The first thirty pages of Plague Town had me a little nervous. I had
just read Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry and that was the best Zombie
novel I had read to date. What had worried me was the, more emotion
than action, paradigm that began the novel. For a moment, I thought I
might have a zombie 'Twilight' in my hands, but this quickly turned
around and failed to be an issue. Instead, Dana Fredsti steps up and
delivers a hard hitting experience that any zombie apocalypse fan will
love and most Speculative Fiction fans would enjoy.
The story centers around, Ashley, a former wild child that is finally
getting around to starting college. Ashley is a spunky, of course
extremely hot, and very funny woman. In fact, the book itself is pretty
comic. Fredsti has a strong sense of humor, which stays consistent
throughout the novel and is probably the factor that drives it all the
way to a 4 star book for me.
Early in the book, Ashley is just about to get heavy with her boyfriend
when they are set upon by zombies. Not only is her boyfriend killed, but
Ashley is bit, an odd way to start a zombie novel, until we discover
that Ashley is what the military is calling a "Wild Card." Wild Cards
are people that have been bitten, but are immune to the plague. They can
still be torn to shreds, but they could get zombie guts over inch of
themselves with no risk of negative effects, other than say vomiting.
And yeah, that happens to this odd miss-matched group of heroes quite
often in this novel. The guts covering more so that the vomiting.
Ashley quickly joins the other Wild Cards to fight off the beginnings of
a plague while many of the soldiers are falling ill. The Wild Cards are
an odd team and great fuel for Fredsti's comic talents. Yet, once the
area is quarantined and they start running low on soldiers, it quickly
becomes a serious situation where everyone inside of the quarantine zone
Possible downsides of this novel could include that the Wild Cards get
almost too quirky sometimes and are constantly cracking jokes when
screaming in terror might be more likely. There is plenty of action, but
a lot of it is implied and it left me feeling less concerned over the
safety of the light-hearted Wild Cards. This changes at the end of the
novel when things truly become life or death for everyone involved.
Ashley is a likable character and a fun heroine. I think both men and
women would enjoy this work and I will certainly grab a copy of Ashley's
second adventures. Fredsti makes a new twist on the genre with her use
of Wild Cards, which allows the zombie hero to be a little more casual
for the merest knick will not have them moaning and eating brains. This
is a strong novel and perhaps more importantly an enjoyable read. It is a
little easier to digest that some books, not a bad book for the beach
or a vacation.