Monday, January 21, 2013
Dead Stop [Book Review]
Genre - Horror
Year Published - 2012
Length - 297 pages
Written by D. Nathan Hilliard
Rating: 5+ Skulls
Welcome to the Textro Truck Stop... where they have hot food, hot coffee, and even hotter waitresses.
It's a slow Friday night at the Textro, and business isn't expected to pick up until the football game let's out in nearby Masonfield. Deke, backed up by his friend, Harley, is here on a mission of romance. Rachel Sutherland has come to unwind from a bad day at the clinic. Thomas "Grandpa Tom" Burns and "Leaping" Larry Brown have dropped in for some diesel and coffee while, across the diner, Holly just wants to get her socially disastrous boyfriend, Gerald, home. Waitresses Stacey and Marisa are taking it easy during the lull, serving the few patrons while waiting for the game crowd to arrive.
But things are about to get busy in an unexpected and deadly way.
There is a storm coming in and the crowd that arrives with it isn't from Masonfield... at least, not anymore. These surprise guests are from the nearby Mazon County Cemetery, and they have their own idea of what should be on the menu.
Now, a dwindling collection of locals, waitresses, truckers, out-of-towners, and one astonished veterinarian find themselves in a desperate fight for survival against a foe they thought only existed in the movies. And as the night wears on they discover that if they don't escape by dawn, they may not escape... ever.
Let me start off by just telling you that this is, by far, the BEST zombie novel that I have read. (and I've read dozens!)
Hilliard's prologue (titled "Awakening") - basically the arrival of Armageddon - builds the foundation of the story - the "awareness", the "NEED" of the abominations that he has so vividly created... (and Chapter One is right up there with the classic Night of the Living Dead - and it only continues to get better!)
Hilliard brings to light, previously un-thought of (to me anyway) concepts, such as a corpse's eyes and mouth being sewn shut (rendering it blind and unable to feed) or, after a feeding frenzy, the victim's feet being left behind, due to them being tied up inside of boots, etc - things like that - brilliant!
There are also several "Hold Your Breath" moments throughout the book.
Hilliard does an outstanding job juggling multiple, interesting characters - characters that you generally care about and want to learn more of. Also, he does not hold back, at all, when it comes to the gore! (a particular nauseating autopsy scene comes to mind)
I genuinely cannot rave enough about this book!
It has a fantastic concept, is superbly written, and is extremely realistic/terrifying!
This is the 'True Romance' of zombie novels. Buy this book either for yourself, or for your loved one - it will make a great Valentine's Day gift! ;-)