Facing a zombie apocalypse, a man journals about his survival in this first book of Philbrook’s (The Failed Coward, 2014, etc.) eight-part saga.
Narrator Adrian Ring describes himself as “moderately successful” at life: He had a job, a condo, a girlfriend, a cat. But by the time readers meet him after the zombie apocalypse, Adrian has lost almost all of his old life. Now, instead of his girlfriend, he’s facing dangerous zombies; instead of his condo, he has a fortified school campus; instead of his job, he has a collection of weapons; and instead of his cat—well, good news, he still has his cat. Through it all, Adrian writes in a casual, humorous style that doesn’t spare the expletives: “I know, this shit is grody, but I’m recording history for posterity, so fuck you if you’re sensitive and offended.” Interspersed throughout the diary are occasional stories from other characters’ points of view, e.g., the clerk who sold Adrian his guns and who loses his will to live. Though not as humorous or personal as Adrian’s diary, these related stories broaden the view of the apocalypse. Adrian is an amusing and realistic protagonist in some ways, as when he expresses a desire to update his Facebook status; at the same time, he’s heroic yet likably nerdy enough to survive a zombie apocalypse. He’s the book’s most compelling part: The zombies are rather typical, the plot is somewhat episodic, and the end of the book doesn’t feel like any kind of grand resolution. But for readers who like zombie fiction, it’s nonetheless an amusing ride thanks to Adrian’s being the tour guide. Occasionally, he even drops the humor and gives a glimpse of real feeling; while anti-zombie preparation is fun, Adrian is more engaging when he mourns over the loss of childhood wonder and innocence.
Gory fun thanks to the narrator’s appealing voice.