Set in the present day, The Living Dead is an entirely new tale, the story of the zombie plague as George A. Romero wanted to tell it.
It begins with one body.
A pair of medical examiners find themselves battling a dead man who won’t stay dead.
It spreads quickly.
In a Midwestern trailer park, a Black teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly-risen friends and family. On a US aircraft carrier, living sailors hide from dead ones while a fanatic makes a new religion out of death. At a cable news station, a surviving anchor keeps broadcasting while his undead colleagues try to devour him. In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak, preserving data for a future that may never come.
Everywhere, people are targeted by both the living and the dead.
We think we know how this story ends.
We. Are. Wrong.
Title: The Living Dead | Author: George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus | Publisher: TOR Books Pub. Date: 04 August 2020 | Pages: 656 | ISBN: 9781250305121 | Genre: Horror Language: English | Source: Received a copy from publisher for review consideration Starred Review
The Living Dead Review by Janelle Janson
As soon as I saw this brick of a book, I knew I had to read it. Apocalyptic horror is one of my favorite horror sub-genres, especially growing up in the 80s, watching zombie flicks.
The Living Dead was picked up by Daniel Kraus when the late, great George A. Romero passed away in 2017. Romero’s estate gave the nearly completed novel to Kraus to assemble, basically without any format. Romero had written portions of the book in various places in the story-line, as well as left behind many notes. Kraus not only had to figure out Romero’s voice, but he had to fill in the gaps to make the novel cohesive. A daunting task, but I imagine Kraus was honored to take on this particular project since it’s well known that Kraus is a diehard fan of Romero’s horror films.
This is an impressively extensive novel which takes place in Romero’s zombie universe, spanning several decades. The Living Dead can be read as a standalone as it doesn’t have any overlapping characters; however, this book would be fun to read as a companion to the movies. I did find the novel to be a bit of a slow burn, so it took me longer to read than most books.
The story is divided into three parts, the first of which covers the origins of the zombie apocalypse and it’s here where we get introduced to several main characters. We meet “patient zero”, a pathologist, a statistician, a badass teenage warrior, an aircraft carrier officer, and a newscaster. The second section covers a span of just over a decade during the time when humans are trying to coexist in the new world they now face. The final portion of the story takes us to a sort of utopian future. This is a story of epic proportions that portrays to us, the readers, the human condition, but during a zombie apocalypse.
Via the signature artistic style of Romero, Kraus pays testament to his witty, clever dialogue and social commentary. I especially love the fragments written from the zombie’s perspective – they are just brilliant. And as you would expect, there is plenty of violence and gore. Huzzah! If you’re curious, I say go for it! Take your time and enjoy the apocalypse.
You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads; however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.
Tracy joined Sc-Fi and Scary in September 2018. She reviews horror books for the site and bemoans our general lack of grammar, but puts up with us because she loves us anyway. Feel free to reach out on Twitter and Instagram at @tracy_reads79, or on Goodreads as well!
Tracy is also part of the Ladies of Horror Fiction crew.