A U.S. presidential campaign set in a zombie-infested future bears an eerie resemblance to the way we live now.
Aislinn “Ash” North and her housemates hope to hit the big time with their blogging skills when they apply to manage media for a Republican presidential candidate. Not surprisingly, “an Irish expatriate, a black man, a lesbian, and a techie who didn’t want to be nailed down to a gender” prove to be a bad fit for the GOP, but the friends are shocked when the Democratic nominee, a woman in possession of a blue pantsuit, reaches out. Things get complicated when zombies start disrupting campaign stops. It’s clear they’ve been planted—literally in one case, in Portland’s famous rose gardens—by someone out to affect the election. Author Grant juggles multiple themes in this addition to the Newsflesh series. The virus that spread to create zombies was designed to cure cancer and succeeded; flesh-eating monsters are no fun at a picnic, but they help with population control. The story is steeped in paranoia, be it between rival news factions or individuals versus the invasive and unending security procedures in place to preserve the uninfected. And the fear is warranted; secrets are revealed, people are betrayed, and terrible losses result. The diversity of Ash’s chosen family, not just in terms of race and gender but in their varied blogger castes, makes their discussion of the issues that arise substantive and deep. Readers new to the series may worry that they’re missing things, but the action comes so hard and fast it’s best to simply jump in and enjoy. Set in 2040, this story feels very current.
This mashup of medical and media ethics, politics and the living undead, is a whip-smart thriller overflowing with sharp ideas and social commentary.