‘Plague Nation’, the second in the ‘Ashley Parker’ series picks up right where ‘Plague Town’ left off. Ashley and the other Wild Cards (people who are immune to the zombie virus and have enhanced abilities) are all most done cleaning Redwood Grove of its zombie infestation. Yay! Group hugs everyone! Unfortunately, there has been no improvement in Ashley Parker’s attitude as she continues to act like a spoilt 13 year-old.
As can be deduced from the title, the zombie virus plague goes nationwide in this volume. It’s all down to the virus’s creator, Dr. Albert, sending out batches of his flu vaccine to outlets nationwide. Well, he wasn’t to know that the unfortunate side-effect of the flu vaccine was to turn people in to zombies, was he? Actually, as the story unfolds there are signs that there may be more to Dr. Albert. There also seems to be another mysterious group that interferes with the activities of the DZN, the ancient secret organisation pledged to protect human kind from the undead.
Some people are slow to succumb to the virus after they have been infected. They are something of a half-way between an immune Wild Card and a normal human who’s dead and then undead in a day or so. However, these people need medication to keep the zombie virus in check and the drug developed by the good Dr. Albert works, but isn’t potent enough and has to be given in higher and higher doses. Captain Gabriel is one of these people and, apart from being Ashley’s commanding officer, is also her love interest. Poor Ashley is faced with the prospect of her boyfriend slowly turning into a zombie unless a better drug can be found.
So we have one good ancient organisation, one bad shadowy group, enhanced humans, humans not quite resistant to the zombie virus and lots of zombies. All you really need for an entertaining tale? Well, not quite. ‘Plague Nation’ has the same formulaic approach as ‘Plague Town’. Arrive at new location, see zombie and kill zombie. Hugs all round. Repeat. There is one twist when one of the Wild Cards is killed. This results in a lot of soul searching and group hugs. That might be another new thing as I don’t remember everyone hugging everyone else after every little incident in plague town.
There also seems to be a preponderance for someone’s bum. For example, on page six we have ‘butt-ass cold’, ‘butt in gear’, ‘butt end of nowhere’ and ‘well-toned ass’. It’s like this throughout the book. The story itself is interspaced with passages detailing other folks zombie mishaps. For the most part, these are not related to the story and are just there as a vehicle for depicting a grisly death or two. I say mostly, as some of these passages contain a character called Griff who is also referred to as Typhoid Mary. It seems Griff is of interest to the bad guys and is doing his bit to spread the virus.
What I said for ‘Plague Town’ holds for this one, too. If you want an enjoyable read that won’t tax the intellect then this would fit the bill. I suppose all will be revealed in the final instalment ‘Plague World’.
(pub: Titan Books. 323 page paperback. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-85768-636-7)
check out websites: www.titanbooks.com