Published October 25, 2011.
A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite. (goodreads.com)
I continue to be amazed by the awesomeness that is Jonathan Maberry. He writes zombies like none I’ve ever seen. But it’s not just the zombies. It’s the lives of the people around the zombies, and even the lives of the zombies themselves. He knows what he’s doing so well that if there’s room for improvement, then I’m a natural blonde. I am continuously struck dumb at the end of Maberry’s novels, in complete awe of the awesome that they are. From ROT & RUIN to DUST & DECAY and now DEAD OF NIGHT. I have the first two Joe Ledger books in my pile and I look at them longingly. But once those are read, my Maberry library dwindles and I’m left with little else. That’s a sad day.
DEAD OF NIGHT is written in alternating viewpoints using mainly Dez, Billy Trout and Doc Hartnup as the rotating POVs. Dez is the hot white trash cop that’s a total hard ass and will sooner kneecap you than compliment you. Billy is a reporter just striving to get a hit when he stumbles onto this mess. And Doc who unintentionally at the forefront of the apocalypse and hating every minute of it. We get peeks through other eyes and while those moments are small, they’re no less significant. Each provides valuable insight into the greater story. Without it all, each and every piece, the story would be missing something. Thankfully it’s not.
The thing is, even with all of the characters that we do end up bouncing around to, they’re all written so uniquely that it’s impossible NOT to tell them apart. They each pop off the page in their own singular way that all you have to do is read a few words from that particular chapter and you’ll immediately know whose head you’re in. Really, it’s phenomenal.
And then there’s the heart factor. One of the best parts about Maberry’s ROT & RUIN series was how he humanized zombies. In DEAD OF NIGHT he takes it a step further and puts you behind the eyes of the single-minded corpses to see what’s really going on. And it’s truly horrifying. The deal with this strain, it detaches the conscious thought from the body, letting the parasite control the physical while the mental still belongs to the person. It is horribly, horribly, horrifying to be looking through Doc’s eyes as he’s doing things he can’t control and begging for a real death. Not to mention a bit nauseating. I would not recommend reading this one while eating. I keep making that mistake.
The best heart, though, is Dez’s. You see her as the immovable rock that she is in the beginning and slowly all of the horrors around her break through her defenses and you see her crumble only to build herself back up just as quickly. She’s such a moving, dynamic character that it’s hard not to like her. Yeah, she’s a loud-mouthed bitch that shoots first and probably won’t ask questions later but there’s hope in her, buried pretty deep. But it’s there. And as the story goes on it crawls its way out and really, the end is pretty touching. There were tears on my end. I won’t lie.
I can’t forget the human horror in the story. These apocalyptic tales are bound to have them. Enter the military and martial law and all that comes with it. Even though that part was pretty much expected, I didn’t care. I loved every second of it. Because in reality, I believed it. I believed everything Maberry wrote. Seriously. This guy writes guns and battle and form like he’s done it all himself (and I’m pretty sure he’s done a lot of it). No cocking triggers for this guy! I was able to see, feel and hear it all. I’d get so sucked into the story’s reality that I’d lose chunks of time and actually lift my head disoriented. How many books can do that to you?
If you love zombies, Maberry’s got the front-running mark in that category. I’ve read three of his books so far and they’re all astounding. DEAD OF NIGHT carries on his awesome writing, his eye for specifics and his insane character development to the next level. How he keeps hitting these marks he sets with his own books I have no idea. But I continue to be surprised bythe epicness that is Jonathan Maberry every time I read one of his books. Really, you’d think I’d expect it. But to say Maberry surpasses my expectations is like saying Pamela Anderson’s boobs aren’t that big.
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