Michael and his brother Patrick have been on the run from zombies, called “Bellows,” for weeks in rural West Virginia. Michael has been protecting the emotionally fragile Patrick from the reality of their situation by telling him that it’s all part of a game, and that he receives instructions nightly (after Patrick has fallen asleep) from the “Game Master.” The game is complete with points for downing zombies and scavenging for food and ammo. They’ll “win” once they find the Safe Zone and are reunited with their mom. Michael’s carefully constructed game begins to fall apart when they encounter other survivors: An insane cult that worships the Bellows, and a small, but well-armed, group led by the mysterious Captain Jopek.
The novel’s main strength is Michael’s stream-of-consciousness voice that’s littered with video game references and lingo. This may turn-off some readers, but I loved it! Martin, a debut author, is great at writing action and grisly descriptions of the undead. There’s a lot of both. I highly recommend it to big brothers, gamers and zombie enthusiasts.