Kirkus Reviews QR Code
AUTUMN by David Moody

AUTUMN

By David Moody

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-56998-3
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

When a fast-moving virus decimates the population, the few survivors struggle to make lives for themselves, even as some of the dead come back as mindless zombies.

The virus spread at an incredible speed, leaving almost everyone dead, seemingly in minutes. Those few unaffected by it were left with nothing but questions. What caused the virus? Did it spread worldwide? And what to do now that almost everyone is dead? In a smallish English city, a tiny group of survivors finds one another and holes up at a community center, but just when they’re starting to settle in, something mind-boggling happens—a large number of the dead slowly get up and start shuffling around. One survivor, Michael Collins, senses danger and decides that it is no longer safe in the city. He suggests that the group head for the relative safety that isolation in the country would provide. Most of the group decides to stay at the community center, but two others, Emma Mitchell and Carl Henshawe, join him, finally settling in at a remote farmhouse. They barricade themselves inside, mostly out of revulsion for the disgusting, but seemingly harmless, shuffling corpses. Before long, though, they notice a change, as the bodies seem to become increasingly aware of their surroundings, and more aggressive. Soon, isolated from a world that is mostly dead and surrounded by rotting, potentially dangerous corpses, the survivors begin to wonder whether there is any point in staying alive. The book trades the usual relentless drive of typical zombie horror for a slow, almost stately buildup. Unfortunately, the pace is far too slow, especially since the reader knows exactly where the story is going early on. Even though none of the characters utter the word “zombie” (which is odd, considering), it seems likely from the start that at some point the seemingly harmless re-animated corpses will turn on the survivors in relentless waves. The fact that it takes so long to get to the good stuff only makes the plot drag more.

Standard zombie fare from Moody (Dog Blood, 2010), slowed down to a lifeless crawl.