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Dead Highways: Origins (A Post-Apocalyptic…
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Dead Highways: Origins (A Post-Apocalyptic Adventure)

by Richard Brown

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ABR's original Dead Highways: Origins audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

My head is still spinning after listening to Dead Highway: Origins by Richard Brown.

Why is it spinning? I went to the dictionary and looked up fast-paced zombie novel and there was a picture of the cover of this audiobook. Boy does Origins move right along.

Dead Highways follows a young man named Jimmy as he struggles to survive the zombie apocalypse, If Jimmy asked a girl out, he’d get a no. If he bumped into the football team at the local ice cream stand he’d be risking a tongue lashing for being a loser or possibly even getting roughed up; Jimmy’s got some issues he’s working out socially, and while he does he’s crashing with grandma. This makes him pretty endearing as he grows throughout the story from a reluctant hero, to a bold and courageous young man.

Dead Highway has a few notable strengths as a book.. Author Richard Brown does a solid job of injecting modern, smarmy humor into it. I laughed out loud multiple times and expect other listeners to do the same. He’s also put a nice spin on the typical assumption about what zombies are. Dead Highway’s undead come from a viral source, but these flesh-eaters are slightly more intelligent than the average bear, if you get my drift. I won’t give how it affects the story away suffice to say I enjoyed the interpretation.

Dead Highway has a few quirks to it that made me enjoy it less. The show and books The Walking Dead were referenced multiple times and that struck me as too much fan-service/name-dropping. It felt very pop-culture serving, and didn’t add to the story. As I said earlier Dead Highway moves very quickly, and while that makes it a page-turner, it does come at the expense of character development. Beyond our hero Jimmy there aren’t many characters that felt fully developed to me. There are other characters of course, but they seemed to exist solely to serve the growth of Jimmy.

Narrator Paul Kowalyczyk does a serviceable job of reading the text at a pace that allows for solid digestion. He did strike me as having the tiniest bit of nasal congestion at a few points of the performance, but it was far from being a problem. I’d definitely listen to another book he’d performed on. The quality of the audio in all other ways was good.

Dead Highway doesn’t do anything in the zombie genre that will make your jaw drop, or your head explode, or cause you to suddenly realize something profound about the human experience. What it does do, is entertain. Go into it expecting a fast listen that will hit all the spots you want a post-apocalyptic book to hit and you’ll have a good time.

Audiobook provided for review by the author. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Aug 20, 2015 |
For the record, the author provided me with a free copy of Volume 1 in exchange for an honest review. I am, by no means, a zombie book expert, but have read my share of them. "Dead Highways" is different from many other books in this genre. It starts out slow, following the exploits of the naive main character, Jimmy, as he struggles through his mundane existence. He lives with his grandmother in an apartment above her used bookstore, earning his keep by helping her with the store. The author uses much of the first installment in the series to introduce the other characters and the virus epidemic. In this case, much of the population succumbs, bodies lie everywhere, they are still alive, but in a deep coma. Groups of scrounging survivors band together and plan to wait out the epidemic.

Suddenly, the comatose victims awake, all appearing normal, except for their eyes and an insatiable hunger for uninfected human food. Once bitten or killed by these zombies, victims are usually devoured without the opportunity to reanimate...once dead, remain dead. Zombies can't speak, but somehow, are able to communicate with one another; unlike other zombie books, these are fast, strong, able to learn, reason and plan coordinated attacks on the living. The group soon finds their safe haven breached and must go on the run, picking up other survivors as they go.

I had laughed out loud several times when reading as the author is extremely witty, catching me unprepared for the off-the-wall banter. "Dead Highways" is an easy and fast read, each installment ending with a cliff hanger. I am glad that I was able to read the entire first three installments together and not have to wait a period of time to see what happens next. However, I was not prepared to find another "cliff hanger" at the end, thus prompting the reader to purchase installment 4. In my opinion, none of the installments can stand alone as a short story because of their dependency upon one another. I prefer to read a complete story and not segments as they become available. With the abundance of "free" Kindle books, the author is at risk of either losing a reader because they aren't watching for the release of the next installment...or has simply lost interest. This is the only reason I didn't rate this book five stars. I do recommend "Dead Highways" to those who want to read a zombie story with a different twist! Great job, Mr. Brown!

John Podlaski, author
Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel ( )
  JPodlaski | Jun 11, 2013 |
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His name is Jimmy. He's twenty-two, skinny, and still a virgin. He has no friends. He lives with his grandma and works at her used bookstore. He's a self-described loser.

This is your hero.

By his side, a diverse group of survivors, including a cop, a prostitute, a drug dealer, and even a newborn baby. They're crossing the country on a crazy post-apocalyptic adventure, following the infected as they migrate west. That's right, these zombies don't just stand around waiting to be stimulated, they're on a mission, and what is guiding them awaits Jimmy and his fellow survivors at the end of these dead highways.

But along the way Jimmy may discover something even greater.

His place in the world. Finally. Even if everyone else is gone.

Book 1 - Dead Highways: Origins
Book 2 - Dead Highways: Passage

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Richard Brown is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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