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  • Writer's pictureLee Murray


Z-Burbia by Jake Bible.

The zombie apocalypse has hit Asheville, North Carolina, but smarty pants Jason Stanford and his family are safe inside the confines of Whispering Pines a gated community with the most dysfunctional neighbourhood Home Owners’ Association ever. Still, at least it’s working because inside the conclave, the residents have running water, gas, even WIFI. Apart from the hordes of undead outside the fence and the lack of holiday destinations, things are okay. That is, until association president, Brenda, sends Jace and his best friend, Jon, out on a mission to scavenge some batteries. At least, that’s what she said…

Only my second ever zombie novel and I’m still not immune to the black blood, severed sinews, and surreptitious shuffling, but if they’re all as good as this then I can see a trend coming. High action, high tempers and high stakes, I’m noticing the zombie novel is an excellent vehicle for a examining what it is that makes us human, for looking at our humanity. Sure, zombies present a problem because typically there are a lot of them, and they’re hungry, but obviously, they’re not the real threat. And for those still not convinced about the zombie genre, Z-Burbia is worth a read if only for its female characters: Jake Bible doesn’t have time for vapid whimpering damsels in distress. Oh no. Bible’s characters are thinking, acting, feisty sorts. As well as scheming cold-hearted Brenda, there’s Elsbeth, the zombie-killing Amazon, Jon’s wife Melissa, who heads up the resistance, and Jace’s own wife, Stella the school teacher, her bite is as lethal as any undead opportunist. And the teenagers are keenly drawn too; with dialogue as sharp as razor wire, I can almost smell their bored contempt. The good news is that there has to be a sequel to Z-Burbia and its battle of Whispering Pines, since the war for the suburbs is just beginning. You don’t set up characters like this without bringing the survivors out a few times.

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