Title: Dead of Night
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Genre: Zombie fiction, science fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: This is how the world ends.
Goodreads blurb: A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite.
I am fairly new to zombie fiction. I got my start with two YA series: Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth series, and Jonathan Maberry’s Benny Imura series, beginning with Rot and Ruin. These series are completely unique, and I enjoyed them both, but after reading Dead of Night, intended for an adult audience, I now know that zombie fiction can be truly scary.
When we think of zoms, we think of them as mindless, shuffling bodies, seeking to feed. But what if they aren’t mindless? What if some consciousness of who they were – and even worse, what they are doing – still remains? That is the terrifying premise of Jonathan Maberry’s chilling novel. The biological weapon that is used in this book is something that will make your hair stand on end. Imagine being infected by parasites that take over your body’s functions, keeping your consciousness alive while you are being consumed? And imagine your body continuing to walk around, killing and feeding on the people of your community – all while you are aware of what you are doing, but unable to stop it? This book creeped me out beyond belief – even finding its way into my dreams.
In this world of zombies, we have some heroes. Officer Desdemona Fox, her partner JT Hammond, and journalist Billy Trout all play their part in trying to contain the outbreak and get the truth of what is behind it out the public. I enjoyed the characters immensely, even while rolling my eyes a bit at the description of Dez. She’s a bad-ass policewoman out of every juvenile comic book lover’s imagination – with the blonde hair and figure to go along with it. My favorite, though, was her African-American partner, JT, who loves her like a father, while being exasperated at her self-destructive ways.
Like any outbreak, this one has a patient zero – a serial killer named Homer Gibbon, and he is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Imagine the self-aware zombie – and then imagine one who is loving what he is doing. Shudder.
As you can see, this was an immensely entertaining read – and ends with a “holy crap!” moment that makes me wish for more books set in this world, even though Dead of Night is intended as a stand-alone.