“Autumn: Disintegration”
by David Moody
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin (2011)
352 pages

Okay, I’ve made it through the fourth book in the David Moody series of walking dead books, “Autumn: Disintegration.”  While Moody doesn’t have your typical zombies in these books, they are re-animated dead people, and they are actually just as scary as the flesh-eating zombies in other books or movies.  In all the books no one actually refers to them as zombies, but merely, “bodies.”  There is a moment in this book where the “Z” word comes in but only for  a brief moment.  While Moody’s zombies don’t eat flesh, they still are a threat to the surviving humans by sheer numbers, and as time goes by they seem to be getting just a little bit smarter.

To catch you up on the storyline, some strange virus or maybe an antivirus has caused about 90 percent of the world’s population to die off within seconds, the survivors are all in shock and not knowing what to do next.  While trying to figure out what happens next the bodies get up and start walking.  At first, they just walk and only react when touched.  Eventually the bodies begin to react to sound and when enough bodies react the threat of being crushed by the dead bodies becomes a danger.  Then the walking cadavers begin to act violently toward the living, not eating the flesh of the living but clawing and pounding the living.  In the previous 3 books some of the survivors manage to find an island and rid it of the remaining bodies and begin starting over.

This book takes place parallel with the other 3 books but begins 40 days after the virus has hit.  This time around David Moody introduces the reader to a group of survivors who have cordoned off a section of flats by building a barrier of cars and trucks and only going out for supplies when needed.  Each time this group goes out they notice that the bodies are becoming more violent, and even smarter.  Another problem is introduced in this book and that is one of disease.  With all the rotting bodies and the remains of the twice-killed bodies (yes, you can still kill them by destroying the head/brain) one of the group of survivors dies from an illness contracted from the germs left by the rotting flesh.

After the animated corpses learn to breach the fence of vehicles put in place by the survivors they all decide they need to find somewhere new, and maybe just maybe get away from the new threat of the germs.  One thing about this group is that they are a loosely led band that almost reminds me of a motorcycle gang and how they would survive a zombie apocalypse.  They always go out wearing several layers of clothes, including leather, to protect against the bodies.  The group boards their vehicles, one of which is a double-decker bus and head out to find a safer place.

I have to pause here and just comment on the fact they have a double-decker bus.  How cool is that?  I used to work for a radio station that had a double-decker bus as one of the station vehicles and thought it was the coolest ride around.  For you Brits, that ride one all the time you probably don’t see my thrill here, but I just think if you are going to ride around the countryside during a zombie apocalypse, a double-decker bus is the way to go.

Anyway back to “Autumn: Disintegration.”  The group accidentally find a resort hotel in which a small band of survivors have managed to get by, barely.  The hotel group has a sound system set up on a nearby golf course keeping the bodies away from the hotel, as well as a nice fencing system keeping the undesirables out.  The city group, used to going out and foraging daily, get restless and when they do they begin to make noise which attracts more bodies and soon the hotel is under threat of attack.

Another thing i should mention is that the hotel group has a single body locked in a windowed area near the hotel pool.  This body is a barometer of sorts to let those inside know how the bodies outside are changing.

Once again David Moody has created nightmares for me, and for that, sir, I thank you.  Very chilling stuff, and now I hear he’s got another book in the series coming out.  I can’t wait.

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