Review of Brian Kaufman’s “Dead Beyond The Fence”
Kevin and Angel have survived in his apartment during the first month of the zombie apocalypse with a group of other survivors who are living, essentially, in denial. The zombies are getting in despite the insistence of others that they cannot get in. Even though they have barricaded the place pretty tightly there are less and less of living souls as the days go on. So the duo pick up and depart the complex, heading toward the mountains nearby, with the hopes of steering clear of the mass of the undead in the city. Before they get too far, they end up at a university research facility which still houses several scientists and a few others who have decided to continue on with their research in an effort to discover the cause, and possibly a cure, for what has caused the dead to come back to life. Unfortunately, they are all working at crossed purposes and none of them except a security guard named Janet seems to care about what is out beyond the fence. The undead have mostly left them alone and no one really seems to like it when Kevin rocks the boat by suggesting that they take a more serious approach to defense, since all they have is a chain link fence to protect themselves and more and more zombies seem to be gathering at the gate every day.
This book is broken up into the main story, which is novella sized, and then a short story that is almost novella sized, that finishes things up. I do not want to give away much of the plot, but I will say that this book does take a different approach than many other apocalyptic zombie books that you will see out there in how things occur, especially with the novella tacked on to the end of it. The writing is solid and well edited, with very few typos, but the story itself may not appeal to all people, especially those who have faith that in the end, humanity will win out. I was frustrated at points with certain characters and how they acted, but not because I didn’t think what they did wasn’t realistic or anything of the sort-it is more like getting frustrated because some of the characters who buried their heads in the sand, or seemed willing to give up on things too easily, remind me way too much of how some poor souls act in real life when faced with challenging or harrowing situations. You almost have to shake your head at them and curse under your breath. If it was a movie, you would scream at the movie screen and tell them to wake up. Does that mean I disliked how the story unfolded? No, I think this was a grim story and none of the characters came across as heroes or heroines…just people sleep walking through what little remained of their lives because they don’t really know what else they can do. Despair has gripped them all, and it is difficult for them to hope for better in the future.
This is perhaps not the most upbeat tale of the apocalypse (which sounds like a contradiction in terms), but perhaps one of the more realistically brutal ones. The senselessness of it all rings true in this story-Kevin and Angel do what they have to care for one another, but cannot truly love each other-they need to hold on tightly, but cannot feel much in a dead world. It is perhaps a matter of understanding HOW to survive, but perhaps not really knowing WHY to survive.
Dead Beyond The Fence can be found at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615345786/ref=cm_cr_thx_view