The living dead A new novel

George A. Romero

Book - 2020

"Set in the present day, The Living Dead is an entirely new tale, the story of the zombie plague as George A. Romero wanted to tell it. A pair of medical examiners find themselves battling a dead man who won't stay dead. In a Midwestern trailer park, a Black teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly-risen friends and family. On a US aircraft carrier, living sailors hide from dead ones while a fanatic makes a new religion out of death. At a cable news station, a surviving anchor keeps broadcasting while his undead colleagues try to devour him. In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak, preserving data for a future that may never come"--

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Paranormal fiction
Horror fiction
Apocalyptic fiction
New York : Tor 2020.
Main Author
George A. Romero (author)
Other Authors
Daniel Kraus, 1975- (author)
First edition
Item Description
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Physical Description
654 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

The late George Romero created the modern zombie with his film Night of the Living Dead (1968), kicking off a golden era for human-chewing ghouls. This thick tome, begun by Romero and finished by Kraus (The Shape of Water, 2018), reboots the onset of the zombies, shifting it from the sixties to modern times and setting the action in aircraft carriers and news studios. The novel otherwise sticks closely to the tone of Romero's Dead movies, with gruesome action giving way to more orderly living/dead relations. Some might find these later scenes of humans trying to figure out how to live with zombies unsatisfying, but most will be thrilled by the plentiful early fright scenes and impressed by how well the book hangs together. The authors marshal a vast cast here and, despite Kraus completing Romero's unfinished work, the book always feels consistent and the characters' journeys are convincing. It's not a perfect work--there are awkward anti-technology screeds that read like Luddite reddit posts--but Romero's final foray into zombie territory is easily his best work in decades. Zombie fans should be thrilled. [HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Horror fans will be ravenous for this book that brings Romero's work back to life.]

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Filmmaker Romero (1940--2017), best known for Night of the Living Dead, offers a sweeping look at the rise, fall, and rebirth of humanity in the face of a zombie menace in this long-winded horror novel, posthumously completed by Kraus (Bent Heavens). Patient zero appears in "the early months of the 21st century," when a John Doe is registered to the U.S. Census Bureau twice: once upon his death and again after the medical examiner shoots his reawakened body. From there the virus spreads, reaching a large but underdeveloped cast, among them a teenager living in a trailer park, a news anchor who sequesters himself in his studio to continuously broadcast news of the zombie panic even after he's no longer sure if anyone's watching, and a chaplain aboard the USS Olympia who slowly goes mad. Throughout, the zombie threat is granted its own, second-person perspective: "You are hungry. You wake up. In that order." In this innovation alone Romero paints a fresher picture of the zombie apocalypse, following the zombie's perspective 15 years into the future to examine the lifespan and evolution of the creatures. Otherwise, this doorstopper reads like an extended cut of Romero's horror films. This belabored amalgamation of zombie tropes is epic but familiar. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (June)

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Review by Library Journal Review

Horror novelist and lifelong Romero fan Kraus (with Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water) "collaborated" with the late, great zombie filmmaker Romero to complete this epic work that incorporates "Easter eggs"' from across Romero's oeuvre. The novel spans from a few days before the start of the zombie apocalypse through the following 15 years. Drawing from Romero's papers, interviews, films, and exhaustive research, and with his own storytelling prowess, Kraus completes a zombie tale for the ages. Written from multiple points of view and featuring a diverse cast of characters, this lengthy tome is made accessible via short chapters that keep the pace moving briskly. The zombies are terrifyingly realistic, but it is the well-developed human characters that readers will appreciate, particularly Etta Hoffmann, autistic researcher and archivist of the apocalypse. This is a rare gem of a story, one that pays homage to its varied source material across numerous films, books, comics, and more, while also standing on its own merits. Kraus's extensive author's note adds appeal. VERDICT A true gift to horror fans. Pairs well with Nights of the Living Dead, edited by Romero and others, with appeal for fans of apocalyptic epics such as Chuck Wendig's Wanderers and Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven.

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

The last testament of the legendary filmmaker is a sprawling novel about the zombie apocalypse that dwarfs even his classic movie cycle. Though this long-simmering novel was unfinished when Romero died in 2017, his estate turned its completion over to Kraus, an adept novelist and collaborator with Guillermo Del Toro. The result is a satisfying, terrifying chronicle of the zombie crisis that includes explosive set pieces and moving character beats in equal measure. Just before Halloween, the first cadaver appears in the lab of San Diego medical examiners Luis Acocella and Charlie Rutkowski, asking the pair "Shall we dance?" even as Charlie holds his heart in her hands. In rural Missouri, teenager Greer Morgan soon learns society's rules have been drastically altered by the rise of the dead. The growing severity of the crisis is seen at a national television studio in Atlanta, where conceited anchor Chuck Corso finds the danger growing closer and closer. On the aircraft carrier USS Olympia, helmsman Karl Nishimura and pilot Jenny Pagán join forces when they're trapped between the resurrected dead and the zealous chaplain convinced God wants him to lead a death cult. These harrowing survival stories are marked by cinematic spectacles--a bloody escape by jet fighter, a school shooting, and fragments told from the zombies' point of view are among the memorable episodes--but Kraus injects a dramatic dose of human pathos into the mix as characters bond, fight for survival, and frequently die so that others may live. By the time these disparate characters converge in the last act after a significant time jump, readers will know them so well that each loss takes on more emotional weight. Less soapy than The Walking Dead and less inventive than Max Brooks' World War Z, it's still a spectacular horror epic laden with Romero's signature shocks and censures of societal ills. A blockbuster portrayal of the zombie apocalypse and a fitting tribute to the genre's imaginative progenitor. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.