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Plague Town by Dana Fredsti REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW Toughie the zombie slayer

This book is a real accretion of clichés. For the first couple of chapters it’s awful: introducing the newly-divorced heroine Ashley, going back to college, a mean-but-handsome-man, a mysterious virus outbreak... nothing especially groundbreaking.

Once the zombies really start rising, things improve dramatically. The book doesn’t become any more original, but it is entertaining as Ashley, one of a tiny fraction of people to be bitten by a zombie without getting infected, is drafted into a specialist zombie-killing squad (punk, black guy, old guy, teen girl, bitchy woman: all the familiar types) and has to help clean up her college campus. It’s proper pulp, but writer Dana Fredsti clearly knows that, and loves her horror. Not only are there frequent references to films like Army Of Darkness and Dawn Of The Dead , there are others to Buffy and SyFy original movies, all the sort of stuff most horror fans know and have affection for.

There’s far less sex in Plague Town than in the later Anita Blake or Sookie Stackhouse novels, and less plot than you’ll find in a Dresden Files book. The level of gore is roughly similar to a Blake or Dresden: described, and there’s plenty of it, but apart from some bits focussing on eyes and breasts at the start (which don’t match the style of the rest and feel as though they were added later to hook the reader in) it’s nowhere near splatterpunk. Young, dumb and full of fun.

Miriam McDonald

Plague Town is a revised and updated version of Ashley Drake: Zombie Hunter, a book Dana Fredsti originally self-published.

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