Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
As Bad Moon Rising opens, we meet our hero Bryce in the middle of a zombie attack. The world as we know it has fallen apart when a flu vaccine ends up being deadly, turning the immunized into murdering zombies. Just as Bryce thinks the end has come for him, he is rescued by Richard, who encourages Bryce to jump in his car to escape. Although Bryce worries about going with a stranger, Richard’s commanding presence, along with no other good options, encourage him to take the risk and go. Richard takes Bryce back to an abandoned store where he is hiding out with his partner Cole. Cole is bipolar and a lack of available medication is making him spiral quickly out of control, making their already dangerous situation even more grave.
As they get to know each other while on the run, Bryce and Richard struggle with feelings for one another. Although Bryce is determined not to get between Richard and Cole, Cole himself has made it clear that things are over between the men and encourages Bryce to be with Richard. But life on the run is not easy, and the men face danger at every turn. As they slowly learn more about the virus outbreak, the men are determined to find a safe haven. But travel is risky and the zombie threats become increasingly dire. With tensions escalating between the men, they must hope that they can find their way to safety before it is too late.
DC Juris does a wonderful job with this story of combining both the horror of the zombie apocalypse along with the sweetness of a developing romance. This story has a lot of intensity and the fact that these men are in constant danger is never lost. The zombies are deadly and these guys are vastly outnumbered. There are barely any humans left and virtually no safe shelter. And even when they can find a place to stay for the night, they do not dare risk settling anywhere long term for fear of exposure and attack. Juris makes the danger seem frighteningly real. People die, difficult decisions must be made, and making it out alive is never guaranteed. I think this part is so well done and really intense. And I really loved following the mystery as the men slowly begin to uncover what is behind the outbreak and realize that just maybe there is hope for them. We get the story from Bryce’s POV and he conveys a real sense of the upheaval in his life, the deaths of all those he once knew, and the acceptance that things will probably never be the same again.
I also enjoyed the romance between Richard and Bryce, although that plays a secondary role in the story. They are caught in a complex place as they sort through their emotions between the two of them, even while they are in a relationship of sorts with Cole as well. It is clear that even when the story starts, things are not good between Richard and Cole. Cole shares with Bryce that he knows that he and Richard will never been able to make each other truly happy. We get the sense that the dire circumstances and genuine caring for one another is what is holding them together now, not romantic love. Cole definitely urges the other two men to get together, but Bryce holds out for a long time, not wanting to get between Cole and Richard. Ultimately though Richard and Bryce end up getting together, and their relationship grows over the course of the book to the point that I could really believe in their love for one another. It was a nice touch of sweetness in the midst of the horror of the world around them. This worked for me just fine, but I will mention that if cheating is a hot button issue for you, this story may skirt the line a little too close for your comfort.
Overall I really enjoyed this one. Juris creates such a vivid world with incredible detail. I could picture the devastation and feel the danger that these men faced. We get such a great sense of their emotion as they move from terror of the zombies, to exhilaration when they find food, to horror when circumstances force them to make difficult decisions. The story feels very well rounded and complete and I really enjoyed it. Definitely recommend it to fans of zombie stories and those who like a little horror mixed in with their romance. This is the second story by Juris that I have recently read and I’ve really enjoyed them both. I am definitely looking forward to more.
P.S. The cover is not totally clear, but this is NOT a menage story, fwiw