Willson’s (White Light Tarot, 2009) debut horror thriller follows a brave group of people as they battle vampires and zombies in Boston.
When the water supply in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is contaminated, it affects people in different ways. Some turn into mindless zombies or more aggressive vampires, while others receive enhanced abilities, such as healing or super-strength. Newly engaged Trips and Ami, along with their bike-messenger friends, break into a lab at Harvard Square to treat Trips’ possible infection.When they’re caught,Trips agrees to do scout work for the Army. Trips, a senator’s son and several other recruits ride bikes into the hearts of Cambridge and Boston, with the aim of drawing out the vampires and zombies so the Army can more efficiently destroy them. The plan isn’t perfect, and they lose several riders. But Ami, monitoring the security cameras, realizes that many of them have been taken alive by the vampires, who may be strategizing to take control of the zombie legions. Later, Trips and his pals, armed with swords and bats, face off against the undead to rescue the missing men. This novel almost feels like the second in a series; it opens in the middle of the action with the contagion already spread, and with Trips and Ami fleeing from smoldering zombies. It hits the ground running, and continues at an impressive pace. The author has a tongue-in-cheek approach to the genre; his characters discuss their romantic relationships even while fighting vampires, and zombie gore is often met with exclamations such as “Ewww!” and described as “gross.” However, most of the characters’ dialogue is drably indistinguishable—nearly everyone, for example, utters the word “dude” repeatedly. However, a scene in which Ami resourcefully defends herself against a zombie neighbor in a laundry room will likely have readers laughing aloud. The unknown fate of a notable villain hints that the survivors may return in a sequel.
Willson’s endless fights and relentless sense of humor offer pure entertainment for zombie fans.