Title: Dead Living by Glenn Bullion
Publication date: January 7th 2013
Publisher: Permuted Press
From the publisher—
It didn’t take long for the world to die. And it didn’t take long, either, for the dead to rise.
Born on the day everything ended, a world filled with the walking dead is the only one that Aaron knows. Kept in seclusion, his family teaches him the basics. How to read and write. How to survive.
Then Aaron makes a shocking discovery. The undead, who desire nothing but flesh, ignore him. It’s as if he’s invisible to them.
The survivors of the old suburb of Lexington call a high school their home. They live day to day, without any of the luxuries mankind used to enjoy. Samantha is a product of the new world. Alone, cold, looking out only for herself. She and the other residents of Lexington feel their hope dwindling. They need change. They need someone who can face the corpses. They need someone who can live in a city of the dead.
They need Aaron.
I haven’t read a serious zombie book in quite a while and recently decided it was high time I remedy that failing. I was delighted to be offered the chance to try Dead Living and, as it turns out, I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed getting back to this genre with this one. Mr. Bullion strikes a good balance between plot development and characterization and that goes a long way in creating a really good tale.
It’s very easy to like secondary characters such as Richardson, Nikki, Mary, Larry and Amanda and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them. It’s even easier to heartily detest the reprehensible Garrett and his toadying sidekick, Ray, and the murderous Allister evokes a lack of love, too. Whether they’re good people or bad, many are so well-developed that it’s easy to think you really know them.
Then there are Aaron and Samantha. Refreshingly, Sam is a woman of color and her natural beauty is a catalyst for a myriad of reactions from others, both good and ill-intentioned. Her defensiveness is completely understandable, especially because she’s been on her own since early childhood and had to learn to take care of herself. It hasn’t been easy for her to accept the positive aspects of belonging to a community but the wall finally begins to come down soon after she meets Aaron. That young man has secrets, one in particular, but is amazingly self-confident—not a braggart, just sure of his abilities—but he, too, has to learn how to live with a large group of people. Having been raised by his father and a small band of loving, intelligent friends, Aaron has grown into a unique adult and one of his greatest assets is his ability to read, a rarity among the younger survivors in this new environment.
Living among the undead is as frightening as you might expect and the author’s worldbuilding is strong. The initial event and the period 14 years later are clearly drawn but it is Baltimore and Lexington that bring this harsh environment to the forefront. How Richardson has led his group to a tolerable life is heartening and it’s no surprise that different personalities lead to conflict. Still, that conflict is nothing compared to what Aaron finds next, the evil that men always manage to do…
Twists and turns and a nerve-wracking battle lead to a conclusion that is complete and yet leaves room for a sequel. Mr. Bullion has said he plans to carry forward with Aaron’s story some day and I really hope he will—it’s a story well worth continuing.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2013.
About the Author
I live in Maryland with my wonderful wife and four cats. I love gaming, computer technology, movies, and of course, reading and writing. I love science fiction and especially horror and the paranormal. Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies, anything supernatural, all beautiful subjects.
I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old. There’s just something about creating a story that I like. I always try come up with something that hasn’t been done, or is unique in some way. It could be someone with demonic powers, or something much more simple, such as a person that zombies ignore. It’s fun to create a character, give him or her a personality and background, and watch them evolve through a story.
I’ve tried other subjects, but always drift back to horror and paranormal. There’s a reason why we keep going back to horror movies and books, why they’ve made fifty Friday the 13th movies. People like to be scared, but more than that, I think paranormal and horror stir the imagination like nothing else. We’re all just a little nervous to open that closet door at midnight, or look under the bed.