The apocalypse goes viral in the sequel to the gorefest Dead of Night (2011) as a viral outbreak and a hurricane wreak havoc on Stebbins, Pennsylvania.
Less a sequel than just another chapter in the large-scale zombie-infested world drawn by Maberry (Fire & Ash, 2013, etc.), this bloody, violent and testosterone-filled epic still teeters on the verge of parody, style-wise, but remains popcorn-shoveling awesome for fans of George Romero and The Evil Dead. To recap, a mad scientist created a virus called Lucifer 113 as a punishment for serial killer Homer Gibbon, the “patient zero” of the outbreak. Police officer Desdemona Fox is protecting survivors in a small school along with online hack Billy Trout. After already attacking the school once, the White House has ordered a media blackout as authorities deal with a superstorm and contemplate dropping thermobaric bombs to wipe out everyone. Meanwhile, the resurrected Gibbon is spreading the faith in his own way, terrifying Trout’s partner Goat Weinman. “I done this,” he says. “This plague thing. It ain’t no bioweapon like they’re saying on the radio. It was me that done this. The black eye opened in my mind and now I speak with the voice of the red mouth.” Most of the action stays with Desdemona, Homer or the White House, but Maberry also drops in gruesome but sometimes-humorous vignettes with secondary characters, always ratcheting up the gore factor to cartoonish levels. In an interesting choice, the novel also introduces a character who ties the series neatly together with Maberry’s YA series, Rot and Ruin. It’s all a bit over-the-top, but the vast scope of the novel makes for a satisfying contrast to the smaller-scale portrayals of similar catastrophes in The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later.
The end of the world as we know it, complete with 24-style dialogue and enough oozy bits to make Tom Savini queasy.