SARAH BLAIR-DICKINSON reviews Undead Underneath, a zombie thriller by Jack Swift
Undead Underneath starts right before the apocalypse begins. A government experiment goes horribly wrong when a group of test subjects suddenly start snacking on everyone else, turning them into flesh-eaters, too. Attempts are made to contain this new development before it spreads to other cities and wipes out the population. Tim Pemberton is in the process of breaking it off with a woman he’s recently had an affair when his wife texts him to say that she’s in trouble. She’s convinced that someone is trying to kill her and she needs him to help her.
I like a good apocalyptic story, especially when it starts before it occurs and you can see the decline of civilisation. We didn’t see a lot of the aftermath as far as the effect that it had on the public, just a small group of people including Pemberton and his small group. However, there was one particular scene where a sergeant who may or may not have been mentally unstable loaded up 30 RCTMs (Resilient Combatant Team Members, ie zombies) with the intention of unloading them in various locations. One particular group were let loose in a McDonalds where the diners soon became the dined upon.
I would have liked to get to know the characters in more depth. The details given about them were a bit superficial and I didn’t really get a true feel of their personalities. Sufyan was the only character I felt I could relate to. The world is possibly ending and everyone else is concerned about surviving and what’s going to happen next, but Sufyan is worrying about his job and still finding time to hit on women. Priorities! I was very interested in the two ‘secret agent’ type characters by the names of Corporal Ince and Sergeant Wright. I always like the shady characters where you’re not quite sure if they’re good or bad. At one point Corporal Ince used the line “Just because we’re psychopaths doesn’t mean we can’t be nice people.” I agree whole-heartedly!
The only problem that I had with Undead Underneath was the writing style. It was extremely repetitive and became tedious to read; I found myself skimming over bits of it which in turn made me miss important details and then I’d find myself going backwards in order to catch up. I did find this book quite scary in the sense that it’s not all that far-fetched and does seem like the sort of thing that could actually happen. And if it did, I could definitely see it being fobbed off as another disease instead of being told the truth. I would have liked to see how society fared once the RCTMs were done with it—perhaps in a sequel?
Undead Undernearth is now available from Amazon