We’re all familiar with the traditional zombie story arc – a fast-acting plague wipes out civilization, a small group of survivors band together to fight the undead, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll find a cure for the virus and save the remainder of humanity …
But what if the zombie plague didn’t annihilate the U.S. government? What would the military’s response be? Those are the questions John Holmes answers in Even Zombie Killers Get the Blues, the first book in his Zombie Killer Blues series.
The novel follows a ragtag group of fighters in a special operations task force, known as Irregular Scout Team One, whose mission is to scout and clear upstate New York in the military’s effort to reclaim areas lost to the zombie apocalypse.
This unique take on the timeless end-of-world genre works thanks to Holmes’ knowledge and personal experience with military tactics, techniques, and procedures. Despite a supernatural enemy, this novel reads like an authentic war story filled with fighting, questionable commands, and the camaraderie of soldiers living on the edge of life and death.
The story is told from the first-person point-of-view, which I think works well as it allows the reader into the mind of a combat veteran trying to survive in the post-apocalypse wasteland (it’s surprising how many skilled warriors never survive the apocalypse in other zombie stories).
As a veteran myself, I really appreciated Holmes’ accuracy of military life on the front line – the tough decisions a line leader needs to make, the necessity of trust and group bonding, and the honesty of the pressure during a firefight.
The novel is a great read if you’re looking for a story which doesn’t follow the traditional zombie story arc. However, I felt one of its biggest pitfalls is how quickly the characters moved from mission to mission. Given the nature of their mission, I understand the necessity for haste, but there were many moments in the story – such as when they follow a group of survivors to the prison – where I thought it could’ve benefited from slowing down and developing the post-apocalyptic world the characters are inhabiting.
Developing these subplots would also help create a stronger connection between the characters and the reader. Each character has a decent amount of backstory, but I never felt a very strong connection to any of the main characters, which left me wanting to feel more when each character met their respective fate by the end of the story.
I give this story 4 out of 5 stars.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. Yes, there were areas where I thought it could’ve been improved, but the uniqueness of the story arc is fortified by Holmes’ ability to create a military story which feels authentic.
If you’re a fan of zombie stories, this is one book you’ll definitely want to add to your collection.
Interested in buying this book? Get it on here!