Dead but Not for Long by Matthew Kinney & Lesa Kinney Anders
"When the first outbreaks occurred, the reports were quickly stifled. By the time the dead began to walk in Lansing, Michigan, it was already too late to stop the plague. In the heart of the city, a child with cancer and her caretaker risk their lives to help a security guard and a nurse secure an old hospital. As the survivors struggle to stay alive, the grid begins to fail. All the while, the dead fight to get inside."
If you're a zombie aficionado like myself, you know that Hospitals = Death. So I was delighted to see a book break that mold. Dead but Not for Long shadows a diverse group of survivors as they work together to secure just such a death trap while continuing to care for patients. Physicians, nurses, patients, security guards and even a hardcore group of do-good Christian bikers fight for their lives, and the safety of their new sanctuary as death takes hold of Lansing, Michigan. Dead but Not for Long is multifaceted. There is no shortage of gory zombie action paralleling the personal growth of each character. Difficult choices are made and loved ones are lost.
One of my biggest worries when asked to review a book from an author is that I won't enjoy it. The last thing I want to do is hurt an artists feelings. Lucky for me that was not the case with Dead but Not for Long. Apparently all those trips to the ER for Matthew Kinney worked! Kinney captured the dynamic between doctors and nursing masterfully. Now, since I'm an RN, I may be biased...but it has been my experience that nurses do all the heavy lifting whilst doctors claim all the glory, and generally have no respect for the nursing profession. I take personal offense to the phrase "you're just a nurse", having worked damn hard for my license, so you can imagine how much I wanted to jump into the pages and slap some of those arrogant fools. That being said, readers will enjoy the comedic relief that Marla, the dimwitted nurse brings to the table. I spent a lot of time shaking my head and thinking 'this fool is giving the rest of us a bad name'. She actually managed to mix up administering a suppository and stuck a Motrin up a poor patients pooper.
Another source of humor (mixed with an abundance of disgust) was Eric, the fat security guard and all around sociopath. Zombies really scare the piss out of him. No really, I mean this literally. I've never seen someone urinate themselves so many times. I had a difficult time with this characters lack of morals mixed with sheer stupidity. He reminds me of the dogs in Pixars "Up". SQUIRREL! How this boob manages to survive is beyond me. Picture it, the man is running away from zombies and he gets sidetracked by a snack machine. Then again manages to get a group of survivors killed in a KFC because he wants some chicken.
The characters I connected with the most are Lindsey and Snake. I'm a huge fan of any story line that shows a strong female presence that doesn't require being plucked to safety like a dainty flower. And Snake, well I guarantee every reader will enjoy the complexity and depth of this character. Quite often in apocalyptic tales we see biker gangs marauding and pillaging, all around menaces to the remaining society. Snake is like an M&M; hard shell on the outside, gooey chocolate on the inside. I rooted for each of the survivors in their harrowing journey (well maybe not Eric, he really is a putz).
I know that some other reviews note the ending of Dead but Not for Long and that they would have liked more definitive closure. I disagree. The ending left me salivating for the sequel, which I am told should be released shortly. The only question I am left with is 'what happens next?'. In my opinion, it's always a good thing to leave readers wanting more, which is exactly what Kinney has done.
I strongly urge fans of zombie fiction to pick up this read. You wont be disappointed. Dead but Not for Long is a home run for Kinney.
If you would like to pick up a copy on Amazon, click on the above book jacket. And if you have read it, post a comment below. Click here to read on Goodreads.