London is falling. An unknown virus races through the city, killing its victims and reanimating them into mindless beasts with an insatiable hunger for human flesh.

As the army fights, and fails, to control order, two sisters and their partners realize that their only hope for survival lies in leaving the city.

They learn of one last train heading for the coast, one last chance to escape before the city is consumed. No matter the dangers out on the streets they need to get aboard. But this is no ordinary train, the army will protect it and its mysterious passengers at all costs.

Set in real time, Escape from Dead City follows the first 24 hours of the outbreak, the secrets and lies, loyalty, trust and sacrifice.

Plot: The overall plot of the story wasn’t bad. This book overall has a standard plot with a group of people trying to flee the undead and they soon join a group of soldiers with a few scientists on board that are trying desperately to find a vaccine or a cure. This is a pretty short book but there is a lot of action and the story moves at a solid pace.

The story started off fantastically. I liked how the author illustrated the pandemonium of London being ravaged by the undead and how the city responded. John McQuaig doesn’t shy away from the absolute chaos that would unfold during the first 24 hours of infection, he throws the reader right into the fray and lets them see it all for themselves. Excellent beginning with a realistic scope.

Personally, I thought the story was pretty good and I like how the author orchestrates conflict, and what I mean by that is that there were no scenes where the conflict was forced. All of the conflicts had direct relations with the plotline and there were no ridiculous scenes where conflict was forced, for example: “Hey Jim, I know we shouldn’t stop at any time, but that convenient store with no lights, lots of places for zombies to hide, and the bloody smear marks all over the floors, looks like it might have some food, let’s split up and search, it always works for Scooby-Doo!” Of course this is an exaggeration, (although I read one novel where it was almost spot on) but you understand what I mean. Forced conflicts like that always appear to be ways to sprinkle in some zombie-gore goodness and all that good stuff, but it deviates from the plot and is usually forgotten by the reader. That being said, all of the conflicts in this book are not forced and they are all integrated with the plot which really helps move the story along without any unnecessary turns. Escape from Dead City is like a train ride, it stays in one direction and it doesn’t let up until the end.

Characters: I felt that the characters could have been fleshed out a little more. At the beginning the characters were set up pretty good but as the story progressed each character’s personality kind of faded in with the background and I had trouble trying to connect with them. I felt that the author may have deviated away from trying to flesh out the characters too much because he wanted to keep the story moving at a fast pace. This was perhaps my biggest qualm of the story. At times, if a character was in danger, I mostly just shrugged because I did not have a strong bond with them.

Overall: Escape from Dead City was an enjoyable, fast-paced read with a realistic plot and background. I felt the characters could have been a bit more 3D but I think that the author will focus on that more in the sequel. Good book from Severed Press, and I am anxious to read the sequel and I’d recommend it for a good, quick zombie read.

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About Kevin Walsh

Kevin Walsh is an insane and disturbed individual with an appetite for anything zombie related. He's an avid reader and reviewer of horror fiction. Between reading, reviewing and stalking the nightly streets of Prescott, Ontario, he finds time to work on his own crazy writing projects. Kevin's first zombie novel, The Way of All Flesh, will be published by Crowded Quarantine Publications on July 2nd, 2013. He welcomes anybody to contact him via facebook or email to talk about zombies, hockey (How Canadian) and the genius of padded-rooms.