The Romero Strain

The Romero StrainThe Romero Strain
Author: TS Alan
Publisher: Books of the Dead Press
Year: 2014

> Zombies, mutants and survivors a perfect combination.
> Well crafted, detailed book but pacing is hit and miss.

A group of New Yorkers survive a zombie outbreak by navigating the city’s utility and transportation tunnels, only to discover a terrifying threat below.

As you can tell from the brief synopsis above, the action takes place in and around modern New York at the start and throughout an outbreak sa we follow on-leave paramedic and martial arts expert J.D. as he seeks to survive while rescuing as many others as possible. One of which is a teenage latino girl girl named Marisol, who has a habit of speaking in Spanish, and leads us to one controversial decision by the author, having a teenage girl as a love interest for an older man, particularly in regards to the age and this situation is introduced uncomfortably and never really settles which is a shame as it may put some readers off.

However, if you persevere (and you should) then what you get, at the beginning at least are a solid three chapters at the beginning setting out our protagonists back story and motivations for where he is today, although I feel that the author could have covered the emotional aspect a bit more as this was somewhat lacking. Now while I specifically stated the first three chapters are solid, this is merely in reference to as the story goes on the chapters seem to fluctuate in terms of quality and engagement resulting in a slightly uneasy read in parts  and oddly, I would contribute this in part down to the descriptive style employed by the author TS Alan, who sometimes gets bogged down in detailing the scenes to the expense of the flow of the story. This happens either due to a (beat) lull in the story where not much really occurs or, when David joins the group and the number of film-references goes through the roof, and while it may appeal to some film obsessives it won’t appeal to all, and in certain cases where the reference isn’t itself referenced it can appear to be just filler.

But anyway, back to the story, as previously mentioned it is a little bit uneven, but when on-form TS Alan can craft a story with the best of them, in particular a scouting mission chapter is extremely tense and through the addition of a mutation to the virus, a lot more diversity and action can be derived from the set up which does propel this book into recommended territory.

In summary, TS Alan is a very talented writer, of that there is no denying and I will be checking out his future work, but this book is slightly uneven and while sometime a delight to read, it is sometimes also a bore which is a shame and this sadly is rounded off by a final chapter that seemed a bit rushed and anti-climatic. If however you are a film obsessive you may very well love this book due to its self-aware nature, its constant film referencing and decent story premise and may very well rate this book higher than I have but for the rest of us, this is just an average book that hints at something more.

3/5

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