Audiobook Review: Dead Meat by Patrick Williams & Chris Williams

22 05 2012

Dead Meat by Patrick Williams & Chris Williams

Read by Kevin Stillwell

Audible Frontiers/Permuted Press

Length: 10 Hrs 20 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse

Quick Thoughts: While Dead Meat is a gore filled, hardcore zombie novel, it is also a complicated character study with a devastatingly brilliant ending. The path that Dead Meat takes you on isn’t always easy going, but the destination is more than worth the trip.

Grade: B

I think so much about the Zombie Apocalypse is a matter of perspective. I remember watching 28 Weeks Later, and feeling outraged at the government and soldiers who killed people in the streets and hunted down children to prevent them from escaping the Quarantine Zone. In this so-called age of freedom what kind of agent of the people would kill their citizens, just because they want to escape an apocalyptic nightmare zone and find safely. Of course, if that safety comes at the expense of my safety and the safety of those I love, that’s a whole other story. So many Zombie novels start within an initial outbreak zone. Sure, cutting off people from safety can be heartbreaking. Many people who are yet to be infected trapped with the undead hordes. We feel for them, we sympathize, and often, we are angry with those who lock theses people out, and even scoff at their ineptitudes. Yet, what if the story instead came from the perspective of the next town over? While I’m sure there is probably some people in that town that worries about civil liberties, the majority of those people will be worried about not having their entrails ripped from their still living bodies. If someone can come up with a better idea than Quarantines zones and carpet bombing the infected town, I’m all ears. I respect the individual freedoms our government was founded on. I also respect not being eaten.

In Dead Meat, strange violent attacks have begun to plague the city of River’s Edge. These violent attracts are explained as rabies infestation brought on by rats. As the chaos increases, two strangers, Gavin and Benny start their journey to try to escape the quarantined city, avoiding the swarm like infected and the soldiers attempting to exterminate those within the zone, whether infected of not. There seems to be a recent push in accessible, literary zombie fiction, broadening the genre’s audience to include young adults and those unsure about the horror aspects of zombie apocalypse fiction. Dead Meat is not one of these novels. Dead Meat is a gore loving, splatter punk zombie fan’s wet dream. Patrick Williams and Chris Williams don’t waste much time with setting up, they expect the reader to be familiar with apocalyptic scenarios, and plops them down right in the middle of a doozy. While many people will be fascinated by the swarm like behavior of the infected, called Bees by the characters, I didn’t find it as unique as some, just due to the immense amount of zombie literature I have red. What I found refreshing about the novel was its characters. Early on, I felt that Benny and Gavin were very underdeveloped. You don’t learn much background on them, and have no clues to their motivation. Yet, as the story’s thematic elements shift, you understand why. The major theme to the novel is that in extreme survival situations, people change, and the author’s allowed you to discover the characters through their altered forms, instead of grounding you in their past. The authors created a set of relationships that created multiple levels of survival. These characters are neither trusting nor trustworthy. How do you survive against the undead, when you are unsure whether or not your human partner will put a bullet in the back of your head? How can you feel safe when your partner revels in destruction? These are the questions asked in Dead Meat. While Dead Meat is a gore filled, hardcore zombie novel, it is also a complicated character study with a devastatingly brilliant ending. The path that Dead Meat takes you on isn’t always easy going, but the destination is more than worth the trip.

It took me a while to warm up to Kevin Stillwell’s narration of Dead Meat. His voice had a sort of aged gruffness that I felt didn’t fit as well with the youthfulness of the main characters. Yet, as the novel progressed, I found myself more and more comfortable with his reading. I think that his narration sort of mirrored the character’s development. As you began to get a better understanding of Gavin and Benny, Stillwell’s characterizations became more definitive, better matching their personalities. The highlight of the production was his handling of Rickett, which I found dead on. Yet, I again had trouble with Henry, and it was hard to figure out if it was narration or writing. She didn’t feel her age to me, coming off as less mature than the two younger male characters. She seemed almost like a petulant brat and I’m not quite sure how much of this was the author’s intent, narrator’s interpretation or if I just missed something about the character. Stillwell’s handling of the intense action was well done, pacing the narrative in a steady manner which allowed me to get a good handle on the developing situations. In the end, I think that Stillwell and the story grew on me as I began to understand the characters and the directions the authors were pushing them to.

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One response

25 05 2012
DevourerofBooks (@DevourerofBooks)

Sounds like a good backup zombie title

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