Read by Sean Runnette
Length: 10 Hours 59 Min
Genre: Zombie Apocalypse
Quick Thoughts: The Zombie Fallout series is a blue collar, gore filled zombie series that will appeal to people who are looking for their apocalyptic literature to offer a few laughs along with the horror and tension. While A Plague Upon Your Family suffers a bit from being the second book in the series, Tufo has created some interesting subplots that has me looking forward to the next edition of this undead saga.
One of the classic storylines that seem to permeate the Zombie sub genre is the Zombie Roadtrip. While you would think the tendency would be to hole up and fortify against the hordes of your friends and neighbors who now want to determine just how closely your flesh resembles the meaty taste of chicken, yet all too often our Survivors take to the road. There are many reasons for the Zombie Roadtrip. Perhaps you just can’t find someplace safe so your only hope to avoid slaughter is to stay on the move. Perhaps you have no stores of food saved up, and must move from place to place foraging cans of spam and Evian. Yet, more likely, there is someone you love, somewhere far away from you, and you just have to know that they are OK. I recently took a non-Zombie related roadtrip, traveling to visit my brother and his family in Alabama. One thing that struck me is the vastness of this country we live in. I traveled a mere 850 miles, a small fraction of the highways and byways of this country, much of it along the Metropolis of the East Coast, and despite this being some of the more densely populated space in this country, it is really quite spacious. There is a tendency for modern technology to make this world small. With a simple cell phone I can connect across thousands of miles. In my truck I can travel between Philadelphia and Alabama in a single day (if I push it.) Yet, strip away the trappings of modern society, where you are forced to scavenge for fuel and supplies, and transportation is unreliable, and this country because immensely bigger. Now, through in a dash of flesh eating crazies, and you have the Zombie Roadtrip.
Zombie Fallout 2: A Plague Upon Your Family by Mark Tufo starts off immediately where Zombie Fallout ended, with Michael Talbot and his family barely escaping the Zombie siege of Little Turtle. Now, the small band of Survivors, who along with the Talbot Family consist of Big Tiny, a large gruff African American, the Talbot’s lesbian neighbor, Tommy, a slow former Wal Mart greeter whose strange spirit guide may be more than a delusion, and Henry the English Bulldog, must travel across an apocalyptic landscape to Michael Talbot’s Mother-In-Law’s farm in North Dakota with a increasing host of zombies on their tales. Tufo does a lot of interesting things with Zombie Fallout 2. While much of the book is a by-the-numbers style Zombie Road Trip novel, he sets up supernatural elements to his story that will hopefully pay off in the later books of the series. While Zombie Fallout 2 is still full of irreverent and horrific fun, some of the fresh polish of the first novel has worn off. I wasn’t as engaged overall with the tale, but found a lot of what Tufo was foreshadowing in future editions of this series more interesting than the book itself. Michael Talbot has a sitcomy feel to his character, that comes off fresh and funny early, but risks becoming a one joke wonder quickly. Part of my problem is reconciling the goofy, politically incorrect demeanor of the main character with the hard core former survivalist, former military aspects of his story. Yet, despite some misgivings, I feel Tufo has a plan for this character and series and I trust him enough to feel like these uneven parts of his main characters persona will come together in the end. The Zombie Fallout series is a blue collar, gore filled zombie series that will appeal to people who are looking for their apocalyptic literature to offer a few laughs along with the horror and tension. While A Plague Upon Your Family suffers a bit from being the second book in the series, Tufo has created some interesting subplots that has me looking forward to the next edition of this undead saga.
While it took me a bit of time to get used to Sean Runnette’s offbeat narration in the first novel in the series, I was totally ready and willing for Runnette to once again inhabit the persona of Michael Talbot. Sometimes a role is just made for a certain actor, and I think this is one of those situations. One of the problems with this is I’m pretty sure, in my mind, Runnette will be typecast as Michael Talbot and if I listen to any of his other work, it will be hard not to hear Talbot in my head. I enjoyed most of his other characterizations. I felt he did a better job on the women character this novel, which I found to be his weakness in the first book of the series. He also handled the pacing well, and clearly delivered the action scenes. Yet, all of this pales in comparison to his ability to squeeze the humor and absurdity out of every scene in this novel. The humor is really what sets the Zombie Fallout series from so many other zombie novels, and Runnette delivers the laugh out loud moments perfectly. I definitely am looking forward to listening to the third novel in this series.
Note: a special thanks to Tantor Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.