The Blurb on Other People’s Words – T W Brown’s Dead

May 24, 2011 at 12:04 am (horror, Reviews, writing)

Presenting more of the books I like (still waiting on requests for reviews.) I’m guilty of loving zombie horror fiction, so if you’re not a zombie-lover, you may not share my preferences. If zombies give you a thrill, however, I think you’ll enjoy these as much as I have.

Dead: The Ugly Beginning – by TW Brown

TW Brown is very good at presenting his reader with the everyman. His protagonists tend to be average Joes with regular lives, dull jobs and routines that include sitting in front of the TV and hanging out with their dogs. It’s kind of appropriate that in this case the main character likes dogs, because he spends part of the book picking up lost strays (only human ones in this instance.)

Brown’s characters aren’t exactly the heroic type, but considering that the zombie apocalypse is thrust upon them with little warning and not the kind of trouble a veritable hero might go looking for, that’s no great surprise. It’s more an issue of thirst for survival than any valiant and lofty ambitions. In my opinion, that’s what these stories call for, a prime example of the basic human condition, in order to keep them believable.

There are other components that make for a great zombie story that I enjoyed in this book, in addition to the believable characterization. There was plenty of suspense and gore, well paced action scenes, and one of the things I look for – dark humour (zombie bowling anyone?)

The vignettes and the geeks were an interesting touch, providing a variety of perspectives of the apocalypse rather than just limiting the reader to that of the protagonist and a single viewpoint. I considered them an added bonus to the primary plot thread.

Overall, this was a fun and scary read, a combination of traditional apocalypse chaos and mayhem blended with greater character depth than the average zombie fare. It is certainly on my recommended list for those who are fans of zombie fiction.

Dead: Revelations – by TW Brown

I was surprised to find this book start off with vignettes and the geeks as opposed to what I always considered the primary plot thread from DUB (probably because it starts the original story and is written in first person, unlike the other sections), but I think this was intended as a mood builder, as opposed to tossing the reader back into the story cold. If that was what was intended, I feel it worked. It did set the mood for the book – windows into a myriad of lives in the post-apocalyptic world.

I appreciated some of the differences in this book compared to the first. The first focussed on the initial surprise and fear, learning to cope with changes to society and trying to re-establish some semblance of order – not an easy feat by far. It was all about panic, struggle, and survival, and how people’s lives were broken and transformed. Revelations moves on to the next stage of the story. There is a variance in intensity, the sensation that characters are starting to wear down in the face of their constant bid for survival. They have bent to the point of near breaking, in some instances turning on each other out of fatigue and frustration (and the strain of running out of cigarettes.)

A few of the things I really liked about this second Dead book was the fact that character relationships were explored in more depth, some of the longer term effects of the fall of society were presented in great detail and it makes you ask yourself, under these kinds of conditions what things might I do, out of desperation, that I wouldn’t be willing to do with the way things are now? We think we know ourselves, but we could end up much different people placed under that kind of strain for that length of time.

It still has all the wonderful action, horror, pain, loss and gore that TW Brown captures so well with his writing, but what keeps it interesting are his characters and their stories, the humanity amidst the chaos. I’m adding this to the other zombie stories on my recommended list.

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