After The End
by Bonnie Dee, horror (2010)
Smashwords, $2.99, ISBN N/A


Bonnie Dee is more well-known for her romance and erotic stories, so imagine my surprise when she soups up a zombie story in the form of After The End. This is available in electronic form both for Kindle and on SmashWords, by the way, and as of writing, no dead tree book format seems to be available.

Like too many zombie stories, this one has a pretty standard plot: in a zombie-infested New York City, a bunch of survivors struggle to stay alive and escape the city during the first ten days or so of the outbreak. This particular gang is led by Ari Brenner, a guy with some military training but lacks the confidence to believe that he can be what the others want him to be. Lila Teske, his love interest, is a philosophy student who is peace and love... that is, until the zombies strike and she now doesn't know where peace and love live anymore. There are others in the bunch, including a Joe Morgenstern, heh, but some will fall and have to be disposed with before they rise again, so if you are a betting person, place your money on Ari and Lila.

After The End isn't anything I've never come across before, but it is nonetheless a very gripping and entertaining read. There are some gore here and there, but I confess I'm rather disappointed that there isn't more of that, heh. But the author compensates the lack by providing some depths to the main characters, especially Ari and Lila who become more than mere horror staple stereotypes. There are courageous sacrifices, self-serving antics from jerks, and unexpected nobility - really, nothing unusual if you are a fan of the zombie genre - but the depths to the characters make these elements shine as I do care for these guys and want to see them survive.

Some spelling errors are present, but nothing too intrusive to distract me from the engaging story and brisk tension-filled pacing. Come to think of it, I'm too busy turning the pages to notice too much of the technical flaws that may be present in this story.

Much is said at the moment about the gloom and doom of the publishing industry, but as long as there are stories like this coming out from the independent scene, I won't be too worried about having nothing to read should the worst comes to happen to mainstream publishing scene.

Rating: 86


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