Verdict: Jorge Sanchez takes a familiar formula (dad with a missing kid must fight his way through zombies to save his daughter) and brings it to a new level using light-hearted wit, whirlwind action, and a carefully-crafted, nuanced depiction of what life would be like in a country ravaged by disease and peril.
Ten years in the future, in the wake of a massive earthquake that all but destroyed Los Angeles, Jeremiah Reid is struggling to start a family. Just when he thinks his life might be back on track, scientists unearth a dangerous fungus that causes the dead to return to life. In the chaos that follows, Jeremiah loses his wife and is separated from his daughter. Now he must cross the wasteland in hopes of finding her again.
Jeremiah quickly discovers that life in the wasteland is a brutal affair. He has no military experience and, with the country’s infrastructure destroyed, something as simple as a misplaced bear trap, a boar attack, or a fall into a frozen lake can lead to death. Jeremiah has to make decisions that he’s not proud of to survive—it’s life or limb in this new, wild world! Jeremiah is in constant peril, which keeps DEADBREAK’s stakes high.
Despite the dangers, Jeremiah is a bold character that’s developed a reputation as a “registered ass-kicker”. He’s not afraid to fight dirty and he always shoots first. Jeremiah’s fighting style specializes in moments of “sudden and spectacular violence”. He’s not particularly skilled—he’s more than a little surprised whenever he manages to make a headshot—but his fierce instincts make DEADBREAK’s action scenes gripping.
DEADBREAK balances these high tension moments with charming insights into the quieter parts of Jeremiah’s life. Jeremiah collects rare baseball cards. He works on a post-apocalyptic recipe book (which includes things like skunk meatloaf and tex-mex squirrel). He has long conversations with Joe, his zombie-killing dog, and participates in monthly Market Nights where he sells the items he scavenges. The community in DEADBREAK is vibrant and intriguing.
Jeremiah’s character is the highlight of DEADBREAK. He tells outlandish stories about his wasteland adventures. He complains about AAA’s terrible post-apocalypse service. He’s funny, but he’s also deep. He has to suffer through the grief of seeing loved ones turned into zombies. The emotional turmoil he feels surrounding the death of his wife and the possibility of moving forward with a new romance puts an extra layer of frosting on an already delicious novel.
DEADBREAK isn’t just another entry in the zombie novel fad. It’s poignant, gritty, and fun. It captures the high paced thrills and emotional distress that readers should expect from a setting where humanity has been pushed to the brink, then garnishes them with good humor, witty dialogue, and an exciting series of plot points.
Jorge Sanchez takes a familiar formula (dad with a missing kid must fight his way through zombies to save his daughter) and brings it to a new level using light-hearted wit, whirlwind action, and a carefully-crafted, nuanced depiction of what life would be like in a country ravaged by disease and peril.
~Stephani Hren for IndieReader