Groan. Cool word and one I don’t get to use often enough. However, I’m about to review a book about zombies. Do Zombies groan? There are so many Zombie stories out there now, all with a different take on the strutting dead, that I’m not sure if they groan for brains anymore or not. I groan. Well, I groaned (a little) when I picked up my paperback edition of horror author Tim Lebbon’s latest novel, Coldbrook. “Not another Zombie story,” I groaned. Okay, not as cool as groaning, “Brains”, but it feels like our pop-culture is brimming with zombie stories and I wasn’t sure I wanted to start in on another one. However; Titan Books was nice enough to send me a copy of Coldbrook to review, and I’ve read (and enjoyed) Lebbon’s work in the past, so I mustered up what little zombie enthusiasm I had left in me and started reading yet another Zombie book that I found to be extremely entertaining.
Mixing the hubris of science with the destruction of civilization is kind of a staple in most Zombie stories, but Lebbon takes it to another level. In Coldbrook it’s not an accident, the zombie making plaque sweeping planet Earth is a precision weapon created by inter-dimensional zealots! Keen! Had they put that on the back of the book I would have been much more excited to have begun reading. The story begins in a state of the art research facility located in the Appalachian Mountains. Researchers have found a way to cross the multi-verse, but when they open a portal to another Earth, in steps a corpse who starts biting and spreading a fast acting virus. A virus which may have been contained in the research facility (Coldbrook) had one the stories principal characters not fled the scene and left the world exposed to a zombie plaque! Things go down hill from there.
Lebbon has a knack for building suspense and crafting the right response by his characters. Characters who do a good job of surprising the reader with their actions. I’ll admit: I don’t like zombie stories, and I really wish authors and film makers would take a good five year break from making more of them, but Coldbrook kept drawing me in and kept me turning pages. It’s a good read and probably one of the best of it’s genre, and also (I might point out) a good place to stop for awhile. Not forever, but a good five (maybe ten) years free of zombies, please!