“The EF76 Strain” is a short zombie story, I hesitate to call it a book because, at under 60 pages, it’s more like a novella, but a bit on the short side for that, too. The story is told through a series of loosely connected events based on the “infected” people and their struggle to save themselves, or the people they care most about. It all starts with good intentions, a doctor trying to cure world hunger with a simple pill that has drastic side effects. Ergo: zombies. Except the people we see who have taken this pill and are affected, are not the people who should have taken it. They are people in a Florida suburb, not a starving 3rd world country. So why are they infected? Not sure. But they are. And now, we get to read their, often times, gory demise.
There’s not much to say about this book because of the length. If you are looking for a more “craft your own story”, adult zombie book, you may enjoy this as Dunkley does encourage readers at the end of the book to rearrange the chapters to make their own tale. Interesting in theory, but not so much in execution, especially on a Kindle. Keep in mind, this is also meant to be a horror story. While I wasn’t scared or on the edge of my seat, the author is more than willing to describe in detail the process these people go through as they turn into zombies, er, cannibals.
All in all, the length did bother me. It needed more in order for me to care about the characters, or keep track of who is connected to whom. The book jumps around a lot and because you only see a few people very briefly before a gap between their next appearances, it’s easy to lose track of things. The two characters featured most prominently are Steven and Amanda, and had Dunkley focused on just them, the short length of this story would have fit better, as we’d just be seeing the world change through their eyes.
I like zombie stories, I am a big fan of the Walking Dead comic books and show, and I think I wanted this to feel more like that. It didn’t quite capture that for me, but I can see why others who enjoy quick, zombie / horror short stories would enjoy this more. But for me, this is only a low 3 stars, but thank you to the author for providing me a copy for review!
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