Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry Reviewed by: PnJsBookReviews 02/18/2016
Serial killers. Who likes them? Killing men, women, and children as if they are inconsequential while causing fear, and chaos to reign over the mass populous. Then if our police are lucky, diligent, maybe both, and they are arrested, we house and feed them while they navigate the legal system. While they strangle more life out of our countries budget and now can control that chaos and fear, even while “off the street.” The public resumes its status quo existence until the next big story breaks on the news, giving less and less thought to that serial killer, while they are living and breathing behind prison walls. Back to the safety of our own individual lives and that thin veil of “safety” we each believe we have. What about the family of the victim? Do they resume normality, just in a new state? Or do they sit and brood about what they would do if they could get their hands on the killer of their loved one? What about the officers and staff in the prisons that deal with those serial killers every day? What if after the 10th, 50th, or 300th time as you continued to watch the tsunami of destruction that one person’s actions can cause, you start thinking about how death is easy, it’s the living that’s hard. What if you have found a way to preserve someone’s thoughts, feelings, and rationality all past the sentence of “death” that they are given, would you use that power to “even the score” just a bit? To allow the prisoner’s brain to remain intact, thus feeling the body as it dies, but consciousness remains. To feel every bug and worm consuming the shell that was your body. To exist in darkness but unable to move even a finger to do anything about it. Would that “even the score?” Could you do it if you were given the syringe and told to inject it just before lethal injection occurred? Would you want to? Would you think about the potential consequences of that single action? What if the same agency funding your research on how to perform this very feat assure you the body will be buried in a box on the prison grounds, always within watch and will be maintain public safety? Could you do it then? For all the senseless brutality forced upon an innocent child, a kind of “revenge” for the heinous crimes committed. No one would know. Would you do it? Could you?
This is the exact morality position we find ourselves in the suspenseful Dead of Night novel by zombie master Jonathan Maberry. One injection from the prison doctor, Dr. Volker, on the day of the execution of Homer Gibbons, a heinous killer, given and the start of the worlds demise. This tale is told by many perspectives of many of the characters in this small town, and how each one reacts, or is reacting to the rapid spread of “violence,” was the “icing on the cake,” as they say for me. Learning of the transfer of the body of Homer Gibbons to a local mortuary, as well as how the zombie wave starts its modest ascent, and then its building to a crest throughout the novel kept me turning pages well into the night. Seeing the world collapse around this small town, starting with “Doc” Hartnup, the local mortician, and his transition event, through his own thought bubbles on his journey to becoming a “Hollowman” was truly frightening. A consciousness and rational thought process, trapped in a Hollowman’s body, (one that used to be who was known as “Doc” Hartnup), and the driving force to kill made me cringe that on its fundamental principles, is not unthinkable in its simplest form. We also view the story through Officer “Dez” Fox, a local war veteran returned from Afghanistan, who I instantly identified with, and in truth, was rooting her on as if we were old friends. Dez is loud, Dez likes to drink and party, and Dez is a fantastic cop with killer instincts that she attributes to gaining while serving in Afghanistan. (I think more closely to the truth would be her character was meant to just BE a bad ass, because she was!) We also introduced to her partner, Officer J.T. Hammond, who serves as a “father figure” to Dez as well as the “Yin” to her “Yang.” This book is SO fantastic that I do not want to be the one that puts out spoilers, (as I HATE when that happens when I am reading an intense book), so what I can say is the entire plot leads you down a path of enlightenment as to HOW all of this really began, as well as a glimpse of what a future that starts as this one did could look like. I found myself cheering, and wanting to bite my nails, and hanging on to the edge of my seat while simultaneously angry and sad. THAT, my friends, makes a FANTASTIC novel.
If you are a person who loves thrillers and horror and that “quick let me check under the bed for monsters” feeling, then this is the absolute right book for you. If, however, you are looking for a book that ties up nicely and everything is just perfect, may I point you down the road towards the Twilight series where everything is sparkling and perfect and everything ends on a good note.
This novel has a sequel called Fall of Night, which I quickly obtained, but haven’t started yet. Everyone needs a chance to let their heartbeat come back down to normal before continuing on in the little town of Stebbins with their huge zombie conundrum. This is a fantastic novel with just enough blood and carnage to keep you hanging on tight to your seat without being over the top, completely unbelievable, or just gore to be gory. (If you like that type of book, may I point you in the direction of author Matt Shaw. Don’t get me wrong, I love his writing too. His are straight gore fests!)
I would recommend this book to even those zombie lovers who say “all zombie novels or movies are the same.” I would definitely challenge that, as I too thought at first, “what possibly could an author do with zombies that is new?” Well, friends, jump on board with author Jonathan Maberry and his series starting with this unbelievable novel, Dead of Night. You truly won’t be sorry. What fantastic writing Mr. Maberry did, and I am now anxiously waiting to jump into Fall of Night. I hope you all enjoy your home “safe” feeling. I’m headed to stock up on ammunition, food, secure my home, and get EVERY other novel Jonathan Maberry has written to read while being ready for the Zombie Apocalypse his book is building to.
Now, GO! RUN! BUY THIS BOOK! You won’t be sorry you did!