Titan Books, out now
A zombie infestation plagues university town Redwood Grove, and only a handful of people are immune to its effects…
So far, so ho-hum – but where Plague Town scores over some of the recent entries in the zombie canon is its very self-aware sense of humour. (Think the Matt Stone/Trey Parker Team America.)The idea that genre films and books are really vaguely reworked versions of a reality that the world’s governments need to be kept hidden is not particularly new but it fits this tale, and the group of “wild cards” who have survived zombie bites, most of whom are extremely well-versed in pop culture.
Fredsti uses the James Herbert/James Patterson template, with one main story (here, as in most Patterson tales, told in the first person) alongside shorter sequences showing what’s going on to assorted other characters, the vast majority of whom don’t cross paths with the leads, at least in a way you’d expect. This gets round the problem of the omniscient narrator, but Fredsti wisely doesn’t overuse the idea of the readers being too many steps ahead of the heroes.
The gore is suitably gory, the sex graphic enough for most tastes, and the cast of characters suitably diverse, with some nice twists (the secret that one of them is keeping is pretty high on the gross-ometer). Narrator Ashley can become a little too Buffy-lite occasionally, but that element is reined in for the most part.
Verdict: Very cinematic in its structure and pacing, it’ll be interesting to see how Fredsti handles taking her characters onto a wider canvas in later books. 7/10