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Dead Sea by Brian Keene
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Dead Sea

by Brian Keene

Series: Dead Sea (1)

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If you are looking for a great survival zombie novel, look no further. This is a very dark run for your life and keep moving type of story. The story is told in the first person narrative by a very likeable character.

The protagonist is Lamar Reed, an African American gay man who spent all his life fighting stereotypes mostly succeeding. Even though he grew up in the worst part of the city he fought against becoming a criminal. He finished school. He lost his job a couple of months before the events in the book and was becoming desperate. Soon enough none of his problems with bills and mortgage would matter.
It started in New York. The rats came out of the sewer and attacked people. Only, these were not ordinary rats. They were already dead.

The dread factor gets higher when it becomes clear that rats are not the only animals who get affected. This idea is spread throughout the novel, and every now and then the author would introduce something new and more horrible. Soon the disease gets a name, Hamelin’s Revenge, and reaches Baltimore. Lamar is forced to run. As is always the case with these stories, he finds friends and enemies along the way. As one of the other characters says, Lamar is on the quest. With two kids and a gun enthusiast, he ends up on a boat.
There is a part where the story almost stops so we can get a lecture on archetypes. Even if it is presented through a dialogue, it had a lecturing tone. Fortunately, it picks up after a few pages.

The novel is very gory. I can read it in supernatural horror though. In Dead Sea it works perfectly. The zombies are not fast or smart; they are literally rotting moving corpses. There are just so many of them. One would think that Brian Keene would run out of the ideas how to present one without repetitions. He doesn't.

There is nothing new in this book that you haven't seen or read before (Resident Evil comes in mind), but it is still a well told great zombie story. And that ending? Perfect for this book.

( )
  Irena. | Aug 26, 2014 |
Great zombie survival novel. Lots of action, lots of gore. Great characters! Really I couldn't ask for much more out of a zombie book except for maybe a happy ending. Ok, I know it's a zombie story, how can there be a happy ending. Still, I'm a sucker for them. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys zombie fiction. ( )
  ShannaRedwind | Mar 31, 2013 |
I have had this book sitting on a shelf for at least a year. I wanted to read it, but for some reason I just kept putting it off. I am so glad I finally picked it up and read it.

Keene creates a world full of zombies that is believable. I was pulled right in and felt like it was really happening. The main character, Lamar, is so real. Usually authors make characters too brave and they just don’t seem realistic. Lamar was human and he acted like it, which made him seem even more strong and brave. I loved his flaws.

I also loved the plot and the writing. However, it did have some parts that kind of dragged for me. I was forcing myself through these pages. It paid off though, because in the end, I thought Dead Sea was an amazing book and it left me wanting more. ( )
  TheBookHoarder | Mar 9, 2013 |
Lamar Reed is one of few survivors of "Hamelin's Revenge," a zombifying plague referencing the old Pied Piper story because it started with, quite absurdly, zombie rats. Lamar is a perfectly logical choice for a survivor of a zombie apocalypse, being a gay black man I suspect he used to withstanding the onslaught of hordes of mindless automatons.

When his neighborhood catches fire and he is forced to flee, he finds himself at a harbor where he catches a band of survivors casting off in an old ship-turned-museum. Dead Sea follows this lonely collection of people as they deal with isolation and the prospect of dwindling supplies and a world of zombie-infested coast lines.

It's a fairly well-done novel, in my opinion. It has the fast pace and excitement you would expect from this type of book written by this type of author but Keen also offers bit more depth than I was expecting, even if it is rather awkwardly implemented. He uses his main character to offer social commentary about various prejudices and stereotypes, but he does this by having the main character discuss them with a child, a ridiculously uninspired way of going about it, though it's no less appreciated. There is also some naval history and an application of Joseph Campbell's monomyth theory, which are both interesting if not also awkwardly applied.

I liked the book though, though I may be bias towards zombie apocalypses (and books written by people who wear Anthrax hoodies in their author photos.) It's fairly well-written and there are some interesting twists that set the book apart from others. Definitely recommend, if you don't cringe at this sort of thing. ( )
3 vote Ape | Oct 12, 2012 |
Over the last few months, I have become quite a fan of Brian Keene's work. I have read about a half dozen of his books and while I enjoyed 'Dead Sea' and thought it to be a good book, I didn't love it like I did Keene's others. If you're a zombie fan, you must read it, but make sure to check out some of Keene's other books too - you won't be disappointed! ( )
  awholtzapple | Jun 20, 2012 |
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I didn't shoot the bitch until she started eating Alan's face.
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Book description
Trouble begins when a virus infecting the rat population of New York City begins spreading among animals and humans alike—one bite, one drop of blood or one string of saliva is all it takes to kill its victims, within minutes, and instantly revive them as mindless, flesh-eating zombies. Narrating this grim tale is gay 30-something Lamar Reed, who makes a hair-raising trip through the carnage of zombified Baltimore before he and a small group of survivors manage to commandeer a Coast Guard ship and get it out to sea. Together, the eclectic group search the coast for a safe harbor; meanwhile, an endless parade of zombies search the survivors' floating haven for a way in.
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The streets of the city are no longer safe. They are filled with zombies - the living dead, rotting predators driven only by a need to kill and eat. For Lamar Reed and a handful of others, their safe haven is an old ship out at sea. But it will soon become a deathtrap, and they'll learn that isolation can also mean no escape.… (more)

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