With 99.7% of the Earth's population dead and gone, the few who remain struggle to survive in an empty world. The scattered. The leftovers. These are their stories.
Meet Mitch, a father infected with the zombie virus. He knows he has 24 hours until he turns. Maybe a little more if he's lucky. He's been a half-ass father. Checked out. Distracted. Can he find a path to redemption in his final hours? Can he make sure his kids are taken care of before time runs out?
Meet Travis, a 23 year old wimp who ran away as his parents were murdered by raiders. Now he surrounds himself with towers of scavenged booze and prescription pills. He only wants to numb the pain. Then he comes upon the men who killed his family. Now he has a choice.
Meet Erin, a 16 year old girl taking care of an 8 year old orphan. Six months ago she was worried about prom. Now she worries about zombies and raiders and feeding a little girl.
Meet Teddy. Meet Baghead and Delfino. Meet Rex and Ray and Lorraine. Meet the utterly lost who look for meaning in humanity's fading glow.~Goodreads Blurb
Now typically when faced with a Zombie novel, I tend to move on to the next book pretty quickly. For me, zombies are best done in a visual media. Whether that is in graphic novel sense or film and tv, that’s where I cubbyhole my zombies. It appears that I have been doing myself a great disservice if zombie novels are like The Scattered and The Dead. Fair warning this is not one of those books that you can pick up and read in a night. At close to 650 pages, settle in for the long haul with a comfy chair and some Chinese takeout.
For a zombie book there are surprisingly few zombies running amuck, but I think the focus on the characters was a great choice by co authors Vargus and McBain. The various Points of View(POV) really kept the story fresh, a feat in itself in a 650 page book. We as an audience are given a plethora of different people to root for and like any story there are those characters that I couldn’t really force myself to care about(Damn it Mitch.)
Well-written and with a style that lends itself well to immersion in reading, I couldn't help but wonder if like Dickens they were being paid by the word. A different set of authors might have been able to parse down on the length of the novel which is one of the reasons it took me so long to post a review. The other reason is that I wasn’t really driven to finish the story. While there is guaranteed to be some internal conflict in the eventual end of the world. I felt that the view I was left with wasn’t the hope inspiring “Life finds a way” but a “oh, end it already” at least for a few of the characters. I look forward to reading the shorter, follow up novels but I don’t think this will be on my re-read list. I’m grateful for the opportunity to read outside my usual wheelhouse and I will definitely give the zombie genre another look. That being said, I might recommend splitting this book into 2 parts, simplifying parts and giving it a bit of a connecting arch.
I would recommend borrowing this book, whether it be from your local library or Kindle Unlimited. Not for people looking for a quick read or simple formula reading.
Freelance Editor & Reviewer