Title: Deadline | Series: Newsflesh #3 | Author: Mira Grant AKA Seanan McGuire | Publisher: Orbit | Pub. Date: 2011-6-1 | Pages: 584 | ISBN13: 9780316081061 | Genre: Thriller Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Library
Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn’t seem as fun when you’ve lost as much as he has.
But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.
Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.
Deadline, the second book in the Newflesh series, follows The After the End Times crew as they discover that things were much, much worse than they appeared in the first book. The Kellis-Amberlee virus is scary, but people? People are just evil. And while I normally don’t like books that play into that “Rawr, we’re the real scary monsters here” shtick, the way Mira Grant does it, I’m willing to play.
The plots that are uncovered in Deadline are almost unbelievable, except for the part where you know perfectly well that people would try to pull the crap they do. And while the After the End Times crew has changed its lineup a bit due to, you know, the dying and stuff that happened at the end of Feed, they are still there, and the truth is still waiting to be found. This time, though, the gloves are off. Some of them have lost enough that they only thing that can lose is themselves, and they’re not as important as getting the truth revealed to everyone.
By the end of Deadline, I felt almost as exhausted as the crew did. Even given that this was not the first time I had read the book. The last half of the book will twist you every which way it can, with a game changer that you kind of had to know was coming, but still manages to grip your guts. Kellis-Amberlee had to stay scary, after all. Yes, humans are evil, but this disease will make you rise up and eat your loved ones. So, not something to be ignored, you know?
Deadline has a different tone than Feed does, for obvious reasons. But it’s still an interesting book that can get you almost completely engrossed in it. I say almost completely engrossed, because if you’ve read my review of Feed, then you know there’s a squidge factor. That squidge factor is, pardon the pun, amplified in Deadline. And for some readers, it may be a deal breaker. But if you hang in there, the very end will have you going “Holy crap!” and getting your hands on the next book as fast as you can. Because, yeah, you should have seen that last little bit coming, but no, you probably didn’t. And now you just can’t stop reading.
Now, if you haven’t figured it out from my veiled references, and you need to know what the squidge factor is, I’ve hidden some information under the spoiler tag below.
Not review related but…
What is it about zombies?
One of my fellow bookworms, who has never been into scary books in general, asked me what the appeal of zombie novels was. She said she didn’t understand it. Considering she’s the type that only asks a question like that when she really wants to know the answer, I took a few minutes to gather my thoughts before I explained what the appeal was (to me, at least). She had told me she did enjoy reading a few of the more supernatural books, with vampires and werewolves and such, so that gave me a good starting point as I started by explaining that zombies were generally grouped along with vampires and werewolves in the ‘scary monsters’ zone. And I had fun with it, because I was able to use Feed, Deadline, and Jonathan Maberry’s Patient Zero as the launch point.
I told her that the appeal to zombies was, for me, in the fact that they might actually happen. She gave me the stink eye and asked me if I believed the dead could really rise. I said no, but I believed that genetic tampering and bio warfare might be able to create a virus that, for all intents and purposes, made a person appear to be a zombie. By the time I talked her through stuff like respiratory and circulatory repression, clotting ability in overdrive, diseases passing through the brain’s protective membrane (all in the space of 5 minutes or so), she was nodding in tentative agreement.
I finished it by saying “Look, do I think this could ever actually happen? Not really. No. But improbable is not impossible. And while 99.9 percent of me says not a chance, there is a .01 percent that believes someone can go absolute mad-freaking-scientist-crazy and make it happen.” Or at least something close enough that it won’t really matter if we think they’re really ‘the dead risen’ or not.