I’ve been flat on my back with what turned out to be pneumonia for the last several days. While recuperating, there’s nothing better than a good book to take you out of your misery. I hate watching TV when I’m sick and while sleep can be healing, it can also be elusive. So reading is the best medicine for me.
Luckily I found a great series to keep me occupied. By great, I mean fantastic. I simply could not put this thing down and stuck with it through 19 books. Yes. 19 and I still wanted more.
R. R. Haywood’s, Undead, starts in a small, southern town in England. Howie is a night manager at Tesco’s, a 24-hour chain store. Howie has a rare Friday night off and is settling down to pizza and TV when a virus sweeps across the earth. TV, phone and internet are quickly shut down and Howie goes out to find his parents and sister while most others are cowering in their homes waiting for ‘the government’ to come to the rescue.
Howie meets up with Dave, an employee at Tesco’s, who turns out to be an autistic, ex-British soldier slash assassin who, from there on, calls his former manager, Mr. Howie. And as much as Howie is uncomfortable with the title, he soon becomes Mr. Howie to everyone they meet.
Each book is another day in the zombie apocalypse and as the days go by you get drawn more and more into the story. What I love about this story is what I love about most great military stories. The ensemble cast is filled with people you really get to know and love. Each with their own personality, each with their own set of skills and weaknesses. I mean, an autistic ex-soldier slash assassin? Dave is probably one of the most unique characters I’ve ever read and his role on the team is perfect. Even the zombies have unique personalities and add to the perfection of the world created.
And while the stories are bloody and heart wrenching and as terrible as any zombie story can ever be, they are also laugh out loud hilarious. I found myself questioning the choice to read something that made me double over in laughter when every laugh turned into a coughing fit until I turned blue. The coughing fits were worth the risk, as long as it meant spending time with these characters, a cast that continues to grow and expand as the stories move on, each one unique, each one with their own expertise that adds to the teams abilities.
The one major flaw, and it is major, with this series are the numerous…and I mean numerous… editing errors. It was SO frustrating to find a he that was supposed to be a she, or a word repeated in a place it shouldn’t have been, over and over again, so many errors I had to wonder if Haywood spent any time at all having his pages edited. In one book, an entire two page section was repeated. It seems, considering the popularity of the series in the UK, a bit of time spent on some closer editing is the least he could do for his readers. He has issued the books now in compilation, which I recommend since it’s much cheaper to buy them this way. Hopefully, he’s taken some time to clean up The First Seven Days and The Second Week compilations.
It takes a couple of days to get fully into the series so don’t give up on it after book one. Give it some time and by Day Nineteen, I’m sure you’ll be as into it as I am.