900 Miles: A Zombie Novel by S. Johnathan Davis
Who doesn’t love a good zombie book? 900 Miles is a gruesome story of a man named John on a homeward bound mission during the zombie apocalypse. While the situation rarely strays from being dire, the characters find themselves in pretty wacky scenarios that are only possible in a world of the living dead.
In each zombie story you have the staples, being that corpses have either risen from the dead or the living are turned into monsters through infection. The survivors in these kinds of stories are either going to barricade themselves away and hunker down, or they are going out in search of survivors. I love all of it, and in 900 miles we have a “risen from the dead and go out to find other survivors” scenario. The main character John is attempting to reunite with his wife who is nine hundred miles away and pregnant, of course she happens to be very close to being due. The real entertainment from the story emerges from the dangers that lie ahead for John, both living and dead. Equipped with a trusty hammer and accompanied by an ex-military friend Kyle he sets out to trek those nine hundred miles.
I’m sure you can imagine the sort of difficulties and situations experienced by traveling across such a long distance while every moving thing wants to kill you or eat you. A lot of this story is pretty standard fare regarding zombie encounters. We get supply shortages, hunger, close calls with being bitten, it’s all in here. It is of course interesting to hear John’s perspective and observations, but where this book stands out and sets itself apart are in the instances of survivor on survivor interaction.
One encounter on this journey, which was a favorite of mine and had me glued to the book, was when John and Kyle stumbled upon a seemingly non-affected community with electricity. After a blaringly loud siren is heard, they view this community draw the hordes of zombies in and get them to fall into prebuilt moats. From a safe vantage point above hole they then nonchalantly end the zombies. The characters observe this ritual occur from a hidden location close by, when they spot another group of friendly survivors arrive. This seperate group, also apparently following the sound of the siren, get blown away the moment they step out of their car to greet the group who had just finished dispatching the zombies. Horrified that they could have just as easily been killed, John and Kyle now find themselves in the middle of a murderous community and have to make their way out before being found. There are a few additional twists and turns that I thought were clever, and personally had a lot of fun reading through these types of scenarios.
Another notable aspect of this book is that for every moment of hope being dangled in front of you like a carrot, there is a hard slap of reality that reels you back in and reminds you that the world in 900 Miles is not a friendly or happy place. The rising dead is one problem, but with the zombie apocalypse also comes the death of human decency.
If you enjoy a short read, zombies, survival horror, or post-apocalyptic themed books, then you should give 900 Miles a read through.
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