What’s Dead Stop About?

Welcome to the Textro Truck Stop…where they have hot food, hot coffee, and even hotter waitresses.

It’s a slow Friday night at the Textro, and business isn’t expected to pick up until the football game lets out in nearby Masonfield. Deke, backed up by his friend Harley, is here on a mission of romance. Rachel Sutherland has come to unwind from a bad day at the clinic. Thomas “Grandpa Tom” Burns and “Leaping” Larry Brown are just dropping in for some diesel and coffee, while across the diner Holly just wants to get her socially disastrous boyfriend, Gerald, home. Waitresses Stacey and Marisa are taking it easy, serving the few patrons while waiting for the game crowd to arrive.

But things are about to get busy in an unexpected and very deadly way.

There is a storm coming in and the crowd that arrives with it isn’t from Masonfield…at least, not anymore. These unexpected guests are from the nearby Mazon County Cemetery, and they have their own idea of what should be on the menu. Now a dwindling collection of locals, waitresses, truckers, out-of-towners, and one astonished veterinarian find themselves in a desperate fight for survival against a foe they thought only existed in the movies. And as the night wears on, they discover that they only have until dawn to escape with any hope to survive.

What’d we think about Dead Stop?

Dead Stop joins a long line of “last stand”-type zombie novels, this one taking place at a Texas truck stop. When the corpses at the nearby cemetery crawl out of the grave in search of living flesh, they follow the lights to the Textro. There, a few high school graduates, out-of-towners, a veterinarian, and a recent Army vet back from Afghanistan must contend with the slavering hordes.

These zombies are different–fast, strong, clawing things that don’t make any noise… But more than that, they’ve been dead for weeks, months, even years before reanimating, and it isn’t from a virus. The science behind them is interesting, and was clearly based on the recent discovery of zombie ants in the rain forests of South America. The author’s wife is a veterinarian, as is one of the characters, and Mr. Hilliard does a good job making the science relevant to the story.

The writing is good–fluid, fun to read, and fast-paced, with believable dialogue, great action sequences, and loads of gratuitous zombie gore. There are a few minor typos, and the book would be better if the author had not mistaken once-sentence summaries of what just happened for drama, but all in all these are minor quibbles.

The plot is… predictable. There are thousands of the-apocalypse-is-upon-us-oh-God-can-we-survive-holed-up-here stories on the market–some with vampires, some with werewolves, some with murderous angels or demons or cannibals, and all too many with zombies. A fun read, Dead Stop doesn’t distinguish itself in this regard.

But it is a fun read.

Where can you pickup Dead Stop?

Dead Stop is available at Amazon.

About Patrick Freivald

Patrick Freivald is a high school teacher (physics, robotics, and American Sign Language), beekeeper, author, and coach of an award-winning competition robotics team. He lives in rural Western New York with his lovely wife and far, far too many animals.