A savage, unforgettable zombie thrill ride.
From the very first scene of Greene’s gruesome, entrancing thriller, readers know that they are in for one hell of a ride. When a deadly virus begins to spread in the DRC, one might think that all the petty rivalries, policies, and ambitions of people would be put to the side for the sake of survival, but this novel takes readers not only through the brutal gore of an imagined zombie apocalypse, but also into some truly dark corners of human nature.
Readers are initially led to believe that this is a slowly unfolding tale of a global virus outbreak, and similar opening scenes have been seen many times before, both in television and in movies. However, the writing in this novel seems much more interested in the human side of disaster, rather than the mindless hordes of zombies. The unexpected survival instincts of Joseph Jackowski, one of the CDC virologists who first encountered the virus, combined with the hard-edged fury of Mark Steele, the Special Forces’ one-man wrecking crew, make this novel endlessly entertaining. Add in a few diabolical warlords, conniving politicians, and hungry zombies, and this becomes quite the thriller. While the swelling mob of the living dead seems to threaten readers with every turn of the page, the powerful storytelling of Daniel Greene is what actually keeps the book surging forward.
The parallel storylines of Steele and Joseph make for an interesting progression of the story, and there is an undeniable cinematic quality to the writing that would lend itself very nicely to the big screen. The unpredictable pace and merciless nature of the plot also mean that there is never any predictability to what side character might be the next to go down – although in this context, characters that “go down” don’t necessarily stay there.
The author is clearly addicted to action, and has the ability to express that adrenaline-infused obsession perfectly, even in the thoughts of his rugged, heroic protagonist: “He hated waiting. Action was his mantra. He liked to be doing. Any kind of action was better than nothing.” Despite that singular focus of the book, Greene is still meticulous in his detail of his scenes, particularly in the hectic depictions of urban disaster zones and the panicked, close-quarters fighting that makes readers bite their nails in gleeful terror.
When the virus spreads to the streets of Washington, the action picks up even more speed and the safety net of security, society, and civility begin to completely break down. Through the eyes of multiple characters and perspectives, readers bear witness to the corruption and self-serving nature of authorities, the selfless sacrifices of men “on the ground”, and the savagery of human nature in the most desperate situations.
Tying up all the loose ends of a zombie apocalypse in one book seems impossible, so it’s no surprise that the author has a second installation of this ambitious series coming soon. Despite a few clichéd dialogue exchanges and a less than unique premise of a zombie virus outbreak, this story definitely holds a reader’s attention – by the throat. For a complex, character-driven action thriller with enough gore and urban battles to satisfy hardcore zombie-genre fans, End Time is a bloody mess of fun from top to bottom.