Necropolis Now: Zombie Ascension by Vincenzo Bilof
Necropolis Now, a nice play on Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, starts off with a back story that lays the ground work for the rest of the novel. The main goal is for the primary characters to locate Jim Traverse, a former US Army Special Operator. While that may not seem to fit into a zombie novel, one with the word zombie right there in the title, all the pieces fit together like a well-oiled machine.
Bilof puts us in the Detroit, Michigan area, a highly populated metroplex, full of diverse individuals and its own regional traffic issues. Then he inserts zombies. That’s where the story really takes off. Perfectly interspersed with the chaos of a city that is literally eating itself from the inside, the reader is introduced to a former homicide detective, Patrick Griggs, now turned snuff porn film producer. Not to be outdone by that, we have Private Military Contractors trying to track down and extract Traverse amidst this chaos.
Necropolis Now is not your average zombie novel. There is a diverse cast of characters that mesh together and form a nucleus that gathers power as the pages turn. The PMC element, Vega, Miles, Bob, and Crater, come into their own as Bob pulls Vega and Miles out of Toronto and takes them south into Michigan to assist Crater in recovering Traverse. Traverse has been sent to a mental hospital and lo and behold, runs into Griggs former girlfriend, Mina, also a guest there. Mina is not your average patient. She was sent to the hospital because she was the star of Griggs snuff film. Not the dead star, the actor who killed then ate the other actor. Yeah, it’s that kind of novel.
When Crater and his unit arrive at the hospital to extract Traverse, he’s already released himself from his cell, teamed up with man-eater Mina and made their exit. To add to the confusion of zombies roaming the street, Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) and Hummers arriving at the hospital, Traverse acquires a rifle and shoots down Crater’s air support and then steals a Hummer and one of Crater’s PMC’s as a means of escape and a snack for Mina.
Bob, Vega, and Miles arrive in the city and experience first-hand the impact a few thousand zombies can do.
Necropolis Now starts as a zombie apocalyptic novel and then slowly eludes to a cause that is leaning more towards supernatural like the Gates of Hell being opened, type event. The depiction of Traverse, a mentally unbalanced, not in a PTSD way, former Special Ops soldier is visceral and, at times, may make you want to skip ahead as he performs atrocities in a calm, nonchalant manner.
There were a few issues to address, very minor and of a technical nature. The 1127 Stryker is not a tank. It’s no more a tank than a harbor patrol boat is a battleship. The use of clips and magazines. The PMCs are all prior service, former military (not ex-military), and they would know the difference between clip, (something that is not used anymore) and magazine. The portrayal of Vega was, to me, a little weak. She’s supposed to be some badass sniper but hardly gets the opportunity to use her long rifle and seems to be constantly worried about losing it. Most snipers, at least the ones that I know, use a padded drag bag to carry their rifle. The bag is strapped to them like a pack and its strapped down tight. That rifle is an extension of themselves, its literally bonded to them like another arm or leg. Her insertion with her rifle was almost as if she didn’t care about it, its slung on her shoulder like a fashion accessory. Not once did she zero it to see if the scope had been knocked out of alignment or even consider going to high ground.
Overall, Necropolis Now is an exciting read and if this is the first book in a trilogy or series, I’m looking forward to future additions.
Available at Amazon.
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