Julia Talbot creates a world in chaos in her latest novel, Night of the Living Manny. Based on the premise that an experimental infectious drug is let loose on an unsuspecting population, the story follows the scientist, who is racing to create the cure, along with his family as they run from living zombies. Liam lost his wife, a fellow scientist, years before and has been working long hours trying to formulate the antidote to a virus that both infects and later kills its host. After hiring Brenden to be his live in nanny, Liam discovers a colleague has stolen the virus and accidentally infected himself with it. The disease spreads like wildfire and Liam is forced to take his family and Brenden to a remote safe house in order to complete his work on the antidote. Unfortunately, the virus has spread and before long Liam and Brendan find themselves surrounded by nightmarish zombies. Will they survive?
A thrill ride of a story is the best way I can think of to describe this novel. Yes, there is instalove involved, and it was all a bit contrived if I am to be honest, but still there was some real grit to this story, especially in the way the author crafted the kids. With two teenagers and a younger sibling, it was almost refreshing to hear the kids argue, curse occasionally, and make mistakes just like real brothers and sisters. Plus with their dad, Liam, being a single parent in a high stress job, it was very realistic that he too would lose his cool sometimes, reel off an explicative or two, and try to just love his kids as best as he could. Honestly, while the instant attraction and love declarations came on pretty fast, the rest of this novel was actually pretty spot on.
The spread of the virus was terrifying, as was the idea that no matter how prepared this family might be for such a disaster, they were still very vulnerable. The last third of this story was intense and well done—keeping me on the edge of my seat. I also loved how the kids were both scared and resourceful—pitching in when needed and breaking down when overwhelmed. Night of the Living Manny was a good sci-fi adventure and one that fans of this author will really enjoy.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.