“Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection – Field Notes from Dr. Robert Twombly”
by Don Roff
read by Stephen R. Roff
published by AudioGo
1 hour 41 minutes

Well, I finally got to get back to another zombie book, and this one is a gem. What makes this one a gem is that while it is still a dead become reanimated and eat the living typical zombie book, the telling of the story makes the difference with this one. It is told as though through a series of journal entries. In the print version of the book which was first printed back in 2009, there were sketches and various illustrations that gave the book a sort of study in the year of survival in the zombie apocalypse. This audio version, while no sketches were provided, continues that journal feel with the main character, Dr. Robert Twombly, recording his thoughts in a recorder. In the beginning of the book it is explained that the recordings were found and that the good doctor was a bird watcher and was accustomed to keeping such records.

With this style the story is told through a series of dated entries beginning in January 2012, with the initial infection coming to notice to the doctor via patients coming into the hospital where he works. Granted this book was released in 2009, but the audiobook has just been released this year (2012) and with the year of this tale being 2012 it seems a bit dated. If I were the one producing this audiobook, I would have kept the dated entries but left off the year allowing the recording to be timeless. No, it doesn’t take away from this great story, it’s just a way I would have done it.

Dr. Twombly’s entries cover everything from how he survives, escaping a zombie surrounded hospital, to finding fellow survivors and trying to avoid being eaten by the flesh-eating zombies. Some of the entries are descriptions of the various states of decomposition of the bodies and the different activities the zombies are found doing. Each new action by the undead spurs the doctor to wonder whether they think and how they stay animated.

Along the various groups of survivors the doctor manages to outlive, he finds that the infection may have been started by a food processing plant and an additive that is found in nearly every food and beverage. As he finds other survivors and he interviews them and at those times there are other voice actors performing the characters. Mixed in to this audio production are various incidental sound effects that give this production the feel of actual audio journal entries that are recorded whenever possible, putting the listener in the middle of the story and surviving along with Dr. Twombly.

At this point I have to point out that what makes a good zombie story is not necessarily the zombies eating people or the people hunting down zombies, but the actual survival and how the living keep going. This book provides a superb mix of the action, in story form, and the survival to keep you interested. This along with the “real” feel of the story being told as it happens makes this book a must have for any zombie story fan or anyone that loves a good survival / horror story.

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