Devin has an important job, securing fuel and food for the survivors holed up in the Kansas Federal Prison. “Survivors” is the only word that adequately describes the humans who have not been infected, not become zombies. Devin’s tour in Afghanistan showed him the horrors of the human condition, but nothing could have prepared him for the zombies. Having lost the love of his life, Devin has one more thing to try and forget.
A routine supply run brings Devin and his partner of the day, Kerry, to a lone farmhouse. In search of supplies or livestock, the two are ambushed and end up being saved by a lone man whose rough condition indicates that he may be a zombie himself. Kerry shoots the man and they take him back to the prison.
Noah Weber, the last living member of his family, is scarred, has been bitten, and with a little unethical experimentation, is shown to be immune. The head of the group, Corden, decides that Noah needs to be moved to Chicago for further experimentation and the hope of a cure.
A bad decision leads the group into the city where the convoy is attacked and sustains many losses, but they manage to reach their destination. Howevever, will Noah truly be safe in the hands of the scientists? The quiet simmering attraction between Devin and Noah is growing, but Devin still carries the ghost of his former partner, Connor, with him. The leader of the Kansas survivors wants Devin, but so does Noah, but is it only because Devin is the only viable gay man around? Unbeknownst to either group, one of the Kansas contingent was bitten and hid the injury from the others. Now the infected man is on a rampage through what was supposed to be a safe haven in a sea of chaos.
As a long-time fan of the zombie genre, I have read many stories, from horror to romance and everything in between, but I have never read something like Dead Things. The suspense element is high, the level of gore and violence is perfect, and the premise and story were compelling and, at times, disturbing.
I found it totally unfair that Devin had to do the outside work and felt that he was nearing the end of his rope. I got the feeling that if things didn’t change, not even Devin’s love for his sister would be enough to save his sanity. Devin has his skeletons, namely his last boyfriend, Connor, who was turned. Devin has never forgotten about Connor and the happily ever after they had planned, which now affects how he views potential relationships.
Noah is so surprisingly naive, and yet one tough mother. Having survived for so many months alone on his family farm, it was serendipitous that Devin and Kerry even found him, or was it? His character was well thought out and executed, like Devin, but I really can’t say the same for most of the secondary characters.
The most irritating of the secondary characters was the “leader” of the Kansas contingent, a stereotypical megolamaniac with no real depth. I did like Devin’s sister, Emily though. She was a source of calm in an otherwise crazy world and I felt that her behaviour was realistic.
I noticed two spelling errors, and there was an event/situation that I feel Devin should have figured out based on everything we learned about him. I also yelled at the book when I found out that the group is separated in Chicago, assigned rooms on multiple floors and in the two different towers. Hello! Zombie apocalypse here. Strength in numbers anyone?
Dead Things had me on the edge of my seat at the beginning, but the ending was a bit flat. I could see a sequel, but the HFN ending was more than suitable for my liking. This may not be a story that will appeal to everyone, but the slow build-up of Devin and Noah’s relationship and the minimal sex was totally realistic. For a zombie story, it was pretty damn good.