Moody has come to be known by many who love the zombie book genre as the go-to author for the new generation of zombie book classics. If you haven’t had a chance to read this first of the five part series that put Moody on the map, here is your chance to read it in a recently re-released edition. For those of us addicted to our Kindles (you can count me amongst that number) I welcomed the chance to give my dog-eared original 2005 edition paperback a rest and downloaded this puppy onto my kindle.
The story is a familiar one. It is the near future and the earth has been hit by a disease that is deadly and highly contagious. Think the avian flu on steroids, but worse. Practically everyone has been killed except a handful here and there that for some reason are immune to this latest virus. But since it kills everyone around you in about 24 hours, being a survivor can be a curse as much as a blessing.
We watch the epidemic unfold in the small of Norwich, as three survivors initially wait for the relief that never arrives. Emma, Michael and Carl don’t know each other at the beginning of the tale; by the end of it the readers will know them all too well. As the first day ends and the last of the dead drop, we first get a feel for the horror that watching everything around you dying entails.
But then the undead come back. From here, you would expect the same old blood bath of every horror zombie book, but this is where Moody takes a different path. It is also what has made this particular zombie book such a classic. Instead of the usual hordes of zombies with body parts flying and blood and gore everywhere, we have the slow burn of a psychological thriller.
Who do we become when all civilization as we know it ends? How does anyone stay sane while watching the entire population die around you, and then see even those you knew turn into monsters that will not die? For anyone looking for a fast-paced splatter-fest, you will be disappointed. Moody has chosen instead to take his time to explore the human condition under the direst of circumstances. It is a journey worth taking for anyone who reads horror with an eye to understanding humanity through it.
Autumn is just the start. If you find yourself pulled into the story, especially into the characters, you will probably want to check out the rest of the five book series. Moody has made his mark with this series, and watching the zombies transform from the stupid shambling beings they are here in Autumn to the more dangerous and intelligent beings they become as the series progresses can be an intriguing ride. Everyone complains about how slow the story starts, I won’t lie about that one. But it is intentional and the build up of tensions and layering of character make it all worthwhile.