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Inside Practically Paradise

The Dead by Charlie Higson with a review by Susan Norwood (guest blogger)

What’s cooler right now than zombies? If you said nothing, you’re right. While vampires, the ultimate forbidden love,  make for good romances, there’s nothing like a zombie invasion to get your pulse pumping. There is absolutely nothing about a zombie to love and everything to fear. Such is the case in Charlie Higson’s The Dead, a prequel to his first zombie novel, The Enemy.

Unlike many series, either book can be read as a stand-alone.  Although it’s somewhat preferable to read The Enemy first, it isn’t necessary. Each book has different characters and a different setting in time. Higson is known for another action series that appeal to boys, the Young Bond Series.  No character is ever safe, the action is non-stop, and it’s gross factor is right up there with The Living Dead.

Every person over the age of 16 has been stricken with a gruesome disease. They feel intense flu symptoms and begin to develop pus-filled boils all over their body. Once diseased, they hunger for the meat of younger children. Those who

survive call the humans-turned-monsters by various names, including mothers and fathers, strangers, and sickos. Once bitten, the victims don’t catch the disease, but they usually die from their wounds. Hospitals and doctors no longer exist.

The main characters are a group of boys from a prep school in England. When they can no longer keep the teachers from attacking them, they decide to flee to London. On route, they meet up with other fleeing kids- some who are helpful and others who view them as competition. They are on a constant quest for food and security. As in Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, no character is safe, and main characters die as well as minor ones.

Here is a taste (pun intended) of just one of the many attacks.

. . . one of the teenagers was on him. A sharp-faced boy who looked to be about eighteen. It was hard to tell, though, because he eyes were bulging out of his head, and his face resembled a Margherita pizza, livid red with crusty yellow patches, like the worst case of teenage acne Ed had ever seen. . . The boy was snarling and snorting, which made green snot bubble from his nose. Pinkish-looking saliva foamed from between his rotten teeth.

And this is just one of the scenes. Admirably, Higson does not become redundant in his gruesome depictions, unlike some horror writers. This book will appeal to readers who don’t think that they can become shocked and that nothing is as scary as what they see in the movies or on TV. Seriously, I love to read a book while I am eating, but with this book I just couldn’t do it.Recommend this to fans of Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  and Rot and Ruin by James Maberry.

Cool sites Diane says to check out:

Charlie Higson’s Silverfin

Charlie Higson’s site

Book Trailer

My Favourite Books blog

Susan, have you read the sequel to Rot and Ruin – Dust & Decay? I think I’d better put it on my new kindle ASAP.

According to Wikipedia: “Higson is currently writing a zombie-horror series of books for children. The first book, The Enemy, was released in the UK by Puffin Books in 2009 and in the US by Disney-Hyperion in 2010. Book 2, The Dead, was released in the UK in September 2010. The third book in the series, The Fear was published on 15 September 2011. Charlie is currently writing the fourth novel in the series that will be out next year.