Writer of Horror Fiction

Review of Sean Schubert’s “Infection: Alaskan Undead Apocalypse”

Infection: Alaskan Undead Apocalypse takes place mainly in Anchorage, and begins with a family of tourists from Minnesota who are traveling to Alaska on vacation.  The younger boy, Martin, has brought along a friend, Danny, and the family plans on spending time out in the woods at a cabin near a glacier.  Almost immediately upon arrival at the cabin, Martin, his sister Jules, and Danny discover what appears to be a dead body stuck in the melting glacier.  Thinking it is a caveman, they pose next to it, taking pictures.  When the caveman turns out to be a thawed zombie, and Martin gets bitten, the family races back to Anchorage to a hospital as Martin’s health rapidly deteriorates.  All hell breaks loose when the boy ends up dying in the hospital, gets back up, and attacks everyone around him.

Things rapidly spin out of control from there, with a plague of undead spilling outside the walls of the hospital and onto the streets of Anchorage.  Within a matter of hours, the entire city is under siege by a horde of fast moving undead devouring and infecting everyone in their path.

Throughout the course of this book, the first in a planned trilogy, we are introduced to the people that make up two main groups of survivors.  One group is led by Dr. Caldwell, who was treating Martin at the hospital, and the other lead by Neil, an office worker who witnesses one of the first zombie attacks outside of the hospital (and the two surviving children-Jules and Danny-end up with him as well).  The pages telling the story of these characters are intermingled with various graphic scenes of carnage as Anchorage is ripped to shreds and the police and military are unable to do much to stop the tide of death rushing over them.

Infection: Alaskan Undead Apocalypse is a fun, fast-paced tale of zombie mayhem that barely gives you time to breath, and zombie fans who crave plenty of gore and undead action should enjoy it.  The main characters are well developed and give the reader a few folks to root for as well as one in particular to loathe, which keeps things interesting from start to finish.

As I always try to do, I point out areas of concern with a story, and I have a couple of them with Infection.

The first is a minor point, but one that I feel deserves mentioning.  Alaska appears in the title of the book, and as such, I expected this story to bring some unique elements to the table based on the locale.  Unfortunately, while the author knows Anchorage like the back of his hand, the city felt no different than any other place on the map.  Perhaps the sequels will insert more of the distinctive ‘flavor’ of Alaska in them that will make this story stand out more.

My second issue has to do with one particular character, a police officer.  I felt that he would have been far more intriguing character if he wasn’t a cop, but I found it hard to buy into him being an officer of the law.  From the beginning, he makes no effort to take a leadership role in a crisis situation, letting Dr. Caldwell handle that role in a non-medical crisis.  All I know is that if I were trying to flee from the impending apocalypse and I was in a group with a police officer, I would be looking to him for direction, not a doctor (even as you are racing down the halls of a hospital).  But strangely enough, no one calls him on this until well into the book, and by then, I was wondering how this guy ever passed whatever psychological test is required to become an Anchorage cop in the first place.  Again, he would have been a far more interesting character were he not a cop.

Overall, I felt that this story has the potential to be a solid zombie trilogy.  Infection doesn’t really bring anything new to the table-there are no big surprises to be had for zombie fans here-but my hope is that the author turns things up a notch in the sequels to give this story a flavor of the northlands that leaves a lasting impression.

Infection: Alaskan Undead Apocalypse can be found here:  http://www.amazon.com/Infection-Alaskan-Apocalypse-Sean-Schubert/dp/1618680161/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335667874&sr=1-1

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