Review for Wayne Simmon’s “Flu”
Wayne Simmons has returned with another tale of the apocalypse that transports the reader back to the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland, much like he did with Drop Dead Gorgeous, although this tale is very much distinctly different in its approach to the dead who rise up in the story. IN DDG, the undead are VERY unique and take most of the story to appear-perhaps they are not even undead, as it were, given how they act and react. Much will be revealed in the sequel to that tale, I would gather, as the reader is left with something of a mystery on their hands after book one as to what to expect from them…a good, intriguing mystery, mind you.
Flu is, in many ways, a more ‘traditional’ tale of the dead rising. The premise here is a flu that rips through the populace, putting down almost everyone as it goes airborne. The police cannot handle it, nor the army, but they are doing their grim best to quarantine the initial victims of the outbreak in a way that I found to be quite disturbing. Those afflicted by the flu don’t rise immediately-at least not at the beginning of the story, but it does not take long for it to be clear that we are dealing with a zombie outbreak as we see one body rise in a tenant where the police can barely contain the rioting citizens. After that, we skip ahead six weeks and discover that the city of Belfast is a wasteland, with few survivors and undead numbers growing exponentially.
Wayne brings the reader back to his little corner of the world and makes it as detailed and vital as he did in DDG. We again are introduced to characters who were immersed in the ‘troubles’ of that area-policemen, the military, and a member of the IRA, whose past existences haunt them and impact how they try to survive through this horrible reality they find themselves in. They are not the only characters, as Wayne doesn’t scrimp on the introduction or development of others, including a heavily tattooed and pierced character named Lark and his buddy McCall, who inject some color into this new world of death and mayhem, alongside the beautiful Geri, who share time with cops George and Norman and Pat, an IRA operative who has taken it upon himself to protect a naive girl he’s found in the aftermath of the apocalypse, Karen. We also get to see some things going on behind the scenes with the military, although our time with Major Connor Jackson and Dr. Miles Gallagher, two men at crossed purposes, is limited in this book-just enough for us to guess at what grim possibilities await the other survivors in a sequel to this novel.
The bottom line is that this is a richly developed story with characters that you can love or hate based on the depth with which they are developed. My criticism, which is minor, has to do with the fact that the action is limited because of the detail with which all the characters are given. Don’t get me wrong, the story moves forward, it is just not at a lightning pace. I am guessing that the author is setting the reader up for a thrill ride of a sequel that is less heavy on character development and more on action, as is often the case with sagas such as this. Honestly, I can’t say it is really a criticism that is heavy, because I think when this tale is complete, after two or three books, we will see something that is vibrant with characters that fascinate as well as action that resonates. Good stuff, and again, Wayne Simmons does not disappoint.
Flu can be found at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1906727198/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=00GQ22E3DTS4YD6FT7JS&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846