This was a fun, fast read full of non-stop action that delivered exactly what it promised, no more and no less. A police detective is recruited by a secret government agency to stop an impending release of zombies by Islamic terrorists on an unsuspecting American public. The zombie scourge is caused by genetically-manipulated prions; these zombies are “fast movers,” more akin to those in 28 Days Later than the George Romero kind. The action is fast and furious, with vivid, well-described combat sequences throughout the book. It would probably make a fun summer action movie.
- It’s typical of technothrillers, I suppose, but it’s darn silly to provide makes and models of every piece of equipment mentioned, including gym bags and watches. It could be a subtle gibe at the genre, I supposes, but there’s not enough evidence for that argument.
- Everyone refers colloquially to the Department of Homeland Security as “Homeland.” That’s unrealistic. I worked for ten years in government service , including two there, and everyone, civilian, military, law enforcement, intelligence, refers to it as “DHS.” Likewise, Maberry has named the “black ops” organization the Department of Military Sciences (“Science” on the back cover), which is also silly. “Department” has a very specific meaning in government parlance, and it doesn’t work here. Also, “Homeland” is often used as a generic term for the U.S. intelligence community, as though DHS had the lead. That is almost never the case. DHS has a small intel shop of its own, but let’s be honest: it’s small, ineffectual, not particularly influential, and half the people working there are detailed from other agencies, either inside or outside the department. On matters like the ones depicted in the book, CIA and FBI would have the lead. I tended to mentally substitute “the IC” for “Homeland” because all those references really irked me.
- “Hooah” is (sadly) not just a Ranger term, it’s widely used throughout the army (and I’ve heard it used by the other services s well).
- Perhaps the silliest bit of all: one of the major characters is a British woman who is purportedly a major in Britain’s SAS who heads up one of DMS’ field teams. Now, to the best of my knowledge, women are not permitted in the SAS, so her background doesn’t make sense, and why would a British citizen be recruited into an elite, “black” combat unit? If she had been described as a liaison officer, I might accept it, but she’s not. There’s really no good reason for her to be a Brit in any case. It’s a bit of an oddity.
Little things like that. I hate to criticize a book for such niggling errors, but when a technothriller purports to depict the military and intelligence comunity realistically, I do think that the book must be evaluated on its own terms and flaws have to be pointed out.
The publisher has also made available a short story that elaborates on the opening scene of the novel, which you can sign up to receive here.