What Zombies Fear by Kirk Allmond

What Zombies Fear
by Kirk Allmond
194 Pages
ZPI Publishing; 3rd edition (September 8, 2011)
Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy, Zombie

Review by Jacqueline Druga

When Victor Tookes went to work that beautiful spring day, he never expected to see a man eaten alive in the street in front of his office. After convincing himself that they really were zombies, he makes a trip from his house in Pennsylvania to his family home in Virginia, battling zombies all the way. His three and a half year old son was bitten on the leg, but doesn't turn into a zombie. Instead, he turns into something more than human.

Victor quickly discovers that everything he knew about zombies was wrong. Not all of them were mindless, uncoordinated, rotting ghouls; some of them were bigger, faster, stronger or smarter than when they were human.

A small percentage of humans are genetically immune to the parasite. Instead of turning these humans into mindless shamblers, they gain enhanced abilities. These new abilities will be pushed to their limits in their quest to carve out a safe haven to call home. 

Victor Tookes is an embodiment of every family man you know. He is average, Sponge Bob witty, works hard, and loves his family. Everything he does, he does for his wife and child. What started as a normal day turned no into less than a nightmare, when Tookes, only wanting his toasted bagel, witnesses the horror to the beginning of the end.

What Zombies Fear takes place right here, right now in this society. Tookes (As he is called by his friends) isn’t dumbfounded by the presence of rising dead, he immediately thinks ‘zombie’ like most people would. The first thing, and not the only thing, that I really liked about this book.

When I first started reading, I had to remember the synopsis, because I actually wanted to stop. Not ‘stop’ as in a bad thing, but because I was so drawn into the relationship between Tookes and his son, that emotionally, I didn’t want to see where it was going.

I was not let down.

The book is written in first person, and at times more journal-style than a first person narrative. Told by Tookes, the book takes the reader on a journey through Tookes’ struggle to protect his son and get to a safe place. Tookes has some knowledge of weapons and like a lot of guys, has to have that big off-road type truck that never gets dirty and blocks you from seeing to get out of a spot at your local grocery store. All of which, I took as metaphoric. The truck was more for show just as zombies were more fiction. Everything in the story is bigger than Tookes. It’s a learn as you go for him, survive as you can. He does it well with believable stumbles and fears.

Allmond does a superb job making this characters realistic and likeable. He builds the tension well. Although I wasn’t a fan of the name choice given to Tookes’ wife. When I read her name ‘Candi’ immediately I envisioned some stripper. But that’s just me.

I didn’t give it five stars because I felt there were times the dialogue was a tad stilted, and there was a ‘missing; of emotion when dealing with action -  a few times it felt as if Allmond added emotional descriptions because e had to. There were also a few instances the knowledge (Such as with weapons), were so detailed, that it didn’t fit with the usual flow of the story.

But those really are trivial in the grand scheme of the story. Allmond delivers a fresh and, shall I say, ingenious take on an overwritten genre, going above and beyond what we expect from the dreaded creatures. He makes it more than just a zombie tale, he makes it suspense, mixed in with horror and thriller. Allmond does it all by staying true to the writer he is and conveying to the reader that he knows what it is like to love a son.

He doesn’t beat around the bush and you get caught up in his story, loving the characters, and wanting more. Guess what? There is more. What Zombies Fear is a series, and a heck of one at that.

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About the Reviewer:

Jacqueline Druga is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa and a fulltime author. She has written and published numerous novels in various genres, along with two full length feature films currently available on DVD. More than anything, she prides herself on being a kickbutt grandmother. To read more about Sam's work, read The Bookie Monster's review of The Forgottten.