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Outbreak review by: Mandy Tyra

Oooooh something rotten is running rampant in thy Keanedom.

Keane goes zombie, OHHHH man, does Keane ever go full zombie, quite…keenly. Aaand it’s about damn time! I think all horror authors should put their spin on the gore lore, it should be a prerequisite.

These aren’t your basic run of the mill traditional zombies either, this is a genuine genre bender, a zombie game changer. Yea, he spins it right round alright and it’s vertigo inducing. Invigorating, breathing new life into this often tired and worn out gaunt troupe culture. A thrilling read that takes many twisty turns. Nobody is safe and anything goes.

He did have a really badass zombie centric short story in Whispers Volume 1 called Vermillion and that’s all I think, this is definitely his first zombie BOOK.
By the way, I highly recommend reading all the Whispers if you haven’t, there are 3 of them (more planned), a total of 25 unique and scary fun stories, I still get chills when I let myself think too long and hard about some of them. Gonna have a reread binge marathon here one of these days.I’ve been super stoked for this since hearing about it last summer and it was well worth the wait, he’s such a perfectionist, so articulate and we reap the rewards of his blood, sweat, and tears.
Triple bloodletting bonus score, we are gonna get so much more ~ this is set to be a trilogy!!!
Off to a fantastic ~ and goretastic ~ start with this beautiful brutal beast.
Chalked full of virtuous and vile characters, this very much reminded me of his amazing All or Nothing, in that it had a lot of interesting characters, story depth, settings galore, and hardcore action all racing parallel in just a short space of time.

Keane’s got mad rad writing skills and can multitask, manhandle it all. He’s gonna be a household name one day, I know it…I feeeel it!

I’ve also been privileged as of late to receive ARC copies of his work. It’s truly a joy and believe me, my reviews were just as exuberant and enthusiastic before I got any sort of privy perks. I’ve called him The King since I first started reading him, in part because he is reminiscent of early Stephen King and also because he’s British, and bloody awesome.

Quite often with zompoc (I just heard that word for the first time the other day and it’s perfection…zompoc, looove it!!) you don’t know the how’s or the why’s or the huhhh’s of what the hell happened to bring on this cadaver revival, and that’s all ok, sometimes it’s just not interesting or important enough to go into. These things simply happen….
However, it’s quite the treat when you do get the run through lowdown.
And THIS gets you from the prologue. Seriously, that prologue…was so gutting, downright tragic, and you will be hooked ~ hooked, clothes-lined and…stinkered right from the jump-start.

It all takes place in the space of a day (roughly 24 hours) which just tells you that you are in for a frantically fast paced, non stop, in your face, gooorerrific good time.
It’s gore with a thick slice of still beating heart though, intense and graphic with emotions running on high ~ end is nigh ~alert.
I’m reluctant to go too far into the plot, it’s too just damn riveting, to be read in the dark….so, I shan’t shed too much light on it.
I’m gonna go vague. Attempt to anyway….

Welcome to the town of Barrington. Cute, quaint little British town and the ground zero breeding grounds for some pretty atrocious and awfully spry undead creatures.
Home of Dr. Nichol, brilliant (and undoubtedly slightly mad) scientist who has the picturesque house on the hill. It’s revered and feared, lots of rumors about the types of studies he conducts. He’s well aware of his infamy, naysayers, and mockers, he does not really care. Only cares about his teenage daughter Felicity, and as a single father, she is his world. His world gets a bit bleak and now he really couldn’t care less.

Catalyst having been triggered aghast, now all over this ~formally ~ cute and quaint town, we got our baffled and buckled down survivors, doing their best to stay that way.
A lot of characters in this, I’ll just brush through a few of the main ones:

Honorable and noble cops, Naomi Goodright and Sean Harrison are not exactly trained for this sort of combat, there are no actual protocols in place for this but they are not going to cower away, they must protect and serve, to the best of their ability. Harrison was hoping for a promotion that day to get him outta small town life and Goodright was right there, at zero hour zombie inception, she doesn’t have time for traumatized though.
Bruce is the resourceful and good-natured orphan teen/team player who adopts them. He’s seen a few movies and knows a thing or two. He thinks best under the influence of chocolate.
Gorgeous, smart, and, savvy therapist Melanie, hiding out all holed up in her office with her super creepy court appointed sex fiend patient, David. She’s gonna have to amp up them shrinking skills to cut him down to size.
We got a cheeky klepto gal named Morgan who only fancied nicking a ~ must have ~ cute pair of pink stilettos at the local mall to satiate her addiction, when all undead hell broke loose.
A sleazy cheating husband named Steven who goes a little too far AWOL off the grid/under the sewers for a little randy rendezvousing with his newest fling, Thea. Sounds romantic.
Local bakery and pastry worker Emma who is completely bored but this is not the type of excitement she had in mind to liven up her dully days….

That’s just a few of the main players. I couldn’t go through them all, my reviews are long enough already! Whew! Oh, but wait….
Yea, there is one more I MUST warn you about, Xander. Ughhhh the dreadful Xander..
There are a few different types of narcissism and he has dusky shades of them all but none as darkened out as the malignant narcissist. Pair that vicious dominant trait with rich and influential and yep, you get Xander.
Life as they know it may be in the outhouse shitter but he sees it more as a deep cleansing, and he’s appointed himself to play the savior role to lead the crusade, no matter the collateral damage. He’s treacherously lined all his lackey ducks in a row to take full-on advantage of this splendid new prosperity on the horizon.
You will despise this sadistic character, along with a few others but none more than the wretched Xander. He’s missing more than just a few scruples, he’s anemic in humanity.

Our townsfolk find ~and lose~ themselves in some pretty hopeless, horrifically dire situations, situations that are not solely undead related. The human monsters are often worse than zombies, at least the zombies have no conscience because they are, ya know, dead….and no longer accountable.
Opportunistic people who only care about fulfilling their own well-being and deem this….A NEW RISING ~ of the very much still alive kind ~ all dead set to become the leading conformity authority, can be just as fatal as the epidemic itself. Such havoc wreakers…

Creative, clever, complex, and severely cerebral. Braaaiiinnnsss…
This is spot on zompoc!!
Next one is called Pandemic, and I sure hope we don’t have to wait too long.
I’ll write an angry letter. Oh yes, I sure will. ?


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