Reviewed by Elaine Lamkin
Written by Don Roff
Illustrated by Chris Lane
Published by Chronicle Books
Taking the form of a scientist’s field journal (the scientist, a blood specialist from Seattle, being a Dr. Robert Twombly), Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection is a pulse-pounding record of Dr. Twombly’s attempt to stay alive during a zombie uprising which begins suddenly in January, 2012, in the form of a worldwide necrotic infection (disgusting, yeah?) as well as his scientific record of what he observes during his flight to Canada (thinking that the cold will slow the zombies down). His journal, found in a cottage at the edge of the Hudson Bay, is filled with graphic and gruesome illustrations of what he observes during his flight to (hopefully) safety: He observes the onset of physical symptoms once one is bitten as well as the behavior of the infected and records horrifying tales of survival when he encounters others fleeing to safety, and when he and some survivors finally reach Churchill, Canada, he also notes what happens there.
I really enjoyed this unique take on the zombie tale – the book is printed in the style of an individual’s handwriting, with names redacted, including lists of various defenses against the zombies (hydrofluoric acid?), and the drawings are what one would expect to see from a scientist. The survivors and zombies Twombly meets on his journey north are interesting: a rock band, a group of survivors who put together a fortified “Farm” and send radio signals for survivors to follow, several people who prefer to go it alone, zombie bikers, zombie shoppers, etc. There are even a few brief homages to both Romero’s and Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead in a few of the doctor’s entries.
I know people are saying “enough!” with all of the zombies, but then a book like this comes along which reads SO much like a real person’s trials together with the illustrations of what the survivor is observing that it makes me want more of these “survivalist” tales. Check it out for yourself – it makes for great reading (and I love that the last entry in on my birthday).
3 1/2 out of 5
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