Why Everyone Needs a Friend Like Coburn

Week 2: Double Dead by Chuck Wendig.


The second attempt of my year long adventure to conquer fifty-two different books of as many different authors and genres as I can muster has ended. Successfully. I read this novel fast. So per usual, I’ll give a miniature review of what I thought of the book as well as some dubious thoughts on how my own writing has been proceeding. Let’s get to it.

I won’t lie, I’m a huge zombie fan. Bigger than you. I play zombie board games (Dead of Winter, go check it out immediately! After you finish reading this). Sometimes I put a zombie movie on and just absentmindedly listen to it in the background while studying or doing class work. I’ve read the Walking Dead graphic novels and can readily put out discrepancies and differences between the comic and the television show. Yet I’ll admit, the world at large has been suffering a bout of zombie fatigue. I think Chuck Wendig realized that, and that’s why this book works.

Double Dead‘s setting is a world beset by the zombie apocalypse — the dead have risen up, moaning and groaning and hungry for living flesh. It’s been done a thousand times. Actually, just as you read that another book with that exact premise was just published. So let’s change it up. Let’s add a vampire. Then make him a complete dick.

The main character, Coburn, is not so different from the other living characters that are sprinkled throughout the book. Beneath it all, Coburn is just trying to find his next meal — it’s just that his next meal is usually the fleshy neckmeat of some unsuspecting human.

The world Chuck paints is desperately human, and I think it exists in stark contrast to many other decrepit post-apocalyptic settings of the zombie genre. While others depict the world as one of hope, where people put aside their differences and the do-gooders put down those who would harm them and their loved ones, it seems like Chuck Wendig’s version of the post apocalyptic world is run by genuinely evil people. Cannibalistic hunters, opportunistic lowlifes and hyper religious fanatics are some of the forces of momentum that hope to take hold while the rest of us are scurrying away the zombie scourge like roaches from the exterminator.

I got through this book in five days because once Chuck generates the momentum to get the story going, he doesn’t let it stop. He doesn’t let you catch your breath and I can’t hold my breath that long so I just had to hold on and enjoy the ride. My favorite aspect of this book is the creeping humanization of Coburn, and I’d spoil it for you but I want you to go read it for yourself.

If you haven’t checked out Chuck, you’re missing out!

The book I’ll be dismantling for Week 3 is The Book of the Sith by Daniel Wallace. A book that attempts so seriously to come right out of the Star Wars universe I had to look up online that Daniel Wallace was the author because the book itself says Emperor Palpatine (as well as other Sith Lords) are the actual author. Good times.

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