The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 6, 2017
First, the compliments. Dirk Patton writes well. There are some random grammatical and comma-placement errors, but these emphatically do NOT detract from the author's ability to set and narrate terrifically captivating battle scenes. So far, so good. Unfortunately, the Author also falls prey to a standard trope of Zombie novels, which can be characterized as follows: "Oh, look, our Hero is in danger. Phew, he barely manages to survive that attack--of course, it took a Deus ex Machina to do so, but OK, it's the Zombie Apocalypse after all; one Deux ex is reasonable. OK, so now he and hsi sidekick have managed to find shelter. There are even *other* good-guy survivors to help survive the ZA; there is strength in numbers, so that's good, right? Of course it is! But wait--now that things are relatively comfortable, something really quite ridiculous has to happen to put our Hero back in harm's way. Yup, and sure enough, EVERYONE of the good guys EXCEPT the sidekick(s) is killed in the latest inexplicable disaster. Fortunately, the Hero and Sidekick(s) always survive to escape and try again. Wash, Rinse, Repeat." In the case of the first two books here (spoiler warning), John, Our Hero, manages to save the Babe, Rachel, and they go through well-narrated Hell to get to safety--an Air Force Base in Tennessee. The entire US coastline, East, West, and South, has been devastated by the zombie virus , but a few areas in Tennessee-Kentucky and other midwestern spots have escaped and are fortifying. Why are they fortifying? Because the zombies from the coasts, although mindless beasts, have somehow decided to march IN UNISON against the last remaining US uninfected strongholds. Wait. They can't think...so how can they march in numberless hordes more tightly organized than most modern armies could achieve? Another jarring moment occurs when the Air Force Base safe haven is suddenly subjected to a *second* wave of zombie conversions coming from nowhere, even though the virus supposedly lasted only the first two days. WTF--how could this happen in reality? The answer is clear: if the author had NOT created this absurdity, he would have returned home to his wife in Arizona by the end of book 3 at least, thus depriving the eager readers of at least 12 books (I believe he's up to #15 or #16 by now). Another absurdity is that the male zombies move very slowly indeed--think Romero zombies all the way--but the *female* zombies move lightning-quick; in fact, even quicker than they could when they were alive. These are just a few cases. After a while the absurd plot devices pile on top of one another and frankly become quite tiresome, at least to me. I could recount numerous others plot holes, but the above should be sufficient to make the point. *I* require a story arc that satisfies the rules of logic, not just writing dramatic battle scenes. From the first two books, this series, however compelling in other ways, clearly fails. Note that the Author is HARDLY alone in this sin--in fact, MOST zombie apocalypse writers fail in the same way. Not to pick on them exclusively, but, as examples, Nicolas Sanbury Smith's and Timothy Long's Z-Risen ZA series have exactly the same problem. The heroes begin to gain a safe haven, then BOOM, a deus ex machina renders their situation perilous again. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. For those of you who have read this far, I suggest that the ONLY ZA story arc that is REMOTELY suspension-of-belief believable is John Ringo's unparalleled Under a Graveyard Sky quadrilogy. If you want something that makes sense, RUN, not walk, to read that series. The only downside is that you'll then be left with a definite unscratchable itch when it comes to other ZA series, because of the literally unbelievable Deus Ex's that the authors must resort to. For the record, I admit that I appear to be in very much the minority here; most other readers appear to be content NOT to read critically, but to just enjoy seeing the Hero escape from impossible situation after impossible situation. In the case of Dirk Patton, I will end by saying that, despite these to-my-mind fatal flaws, I am finding it hard to resist purchasing volume 3 of this series, simply because of Patton's excellent tale-telling skills. So there you have it--the good, the bad, and the ugly. YMMV.
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