This book by Joe Mckinney is the first of three books based in Houston Texas. The story begins after the region has been ravaged by 4 hurricanes in a month and is bracing for a fifth. Once the 5th hurricane has passed all of the waste in the flood waters mixes to create an infection which causes people who are infected to become living zombies. They have all the characteristics of their undead cousins with the exception of having to have died.
The story follows a Houston Emergency Ops sergeant by the name of Eleanor Norton who is torn between protecting her family and performing her duties as the disaster drags out. Eventually Houston becomes a hell on earth as the disease spreads producing more and more zombies. There is a sub plot involving her boss and his sons which is a little distracting and unnecessary but is tied into the overall plot in the end.
There is a somewhat unique aspect to this book in that the characters in it are not completely oblivious to zombie pop culture. When the zombies begin to make themselves known and the attacks increase each of the characters goes through a process of coming to grips with what is happening during which there are references made to various zombie movies of the past. This adds an interesting level to the characters and gives the story a definite modern and more realistic feel.
The book is good, although I found myself at times questioning Mckinney’s writing style. I felt he spent too much time developing characters and story lines that did not matter so much to the over all tale. That being said I enjoyed it enough to seek out the other two books in the series, Dead City and Apocalypse of the Dead which I am presently in the process of reading.
Educationally this book has the standard lessons to be learned, keep quiet and aim for the head. The spectre raised by the possibility of a natural disaster bringing together the ingredients for a zombie apocalypse could be viewed as a warning for the world where global climate change is concerned. Hence the slightly higher educational rating than would be expected for a book like this.