Undead by John Russo

Undead Novel review by Shannon Hilson

Undead by John Russo

A Review by Shannon Hilson

Although die-hard horror lovers and zombie fans will no doubt already have George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead memorized from beginning to end, I would still say it’s very much worth your while to pick up a copy of Living Dead co-writer John Russo’s Undead. It’s a two-in-one double novel consisting of the novelization of Night of the Living Dead as well as the original follow-up, Return of the Living Dead. If you’ve already read these separately (both of them have previously been released on their own in the past), then Undead has nothing new to offer you unless you simply want both books in one volume for the sake of it. However, if you’ve never read either before as I hadn’t, this would be a great addition to your zombie fiction collection.

Night of the Living Dead follows the story of Romero’s film more or less exactly, so if you’re familiar with the movie already, don’t expect any additional plot twists you won’t see coming. What you should expect is a chance to really get inside the heads of the characters in a way that doesn’t happen to quite the same extent in the movie. Russo gives us interesting background information on Ben, Barbra and Harry that we never knew before and allows us to view the all-too-familiar siege situation through their eyes in fascinating detail. The effect makes for a much more satisfying way to view a familiar tale that elevates it a level above your typical zombie tale and makes it well worth reading, in my opinion.

Return of the Living Dead revisits the same Pennsylvania area ten years after the original zombie apocalypse situation from the first novel, so if you’ve ever wondered what happened next, here is your chance to find out. We still don’t know what exactly caused the horrific zombie outbreak years ago and we don’t really know what’s causing it to reoccur again, although theories are certainly presented. What we do know is that what happened years ago has changed the way the people in this area deal with and view the dead in interesting ways that I won’t spoil for you before you have a chance to read for yourself.

We are also introduced to a whole new host of characters to get to know, including an everyday small town family, a band of looters, and a group of religious zealots who have been expecting the return of the zombies all these ten years. We also see the return of Sherriff McClelland from the first novel and he remembers all that happened before all too well. Just as Russo delivers in regards to character development in Living Dead, he does the same here with the new characters he introduces. You bond with them and root for them. You mourn the ones who don’t make it. Plus, this is all balanced with deliciously horrific descriptions of zombie carnage, grisly scenes, and chilling encounters with the undead just as any good horror fan would hope. I will admit to not being the biggest zombie fan as a rule, but this story kept me eagerly turning the pages and enjoying myself.

Overall, Undead is well worth picking up. Because of Russo’s writing prowess, Living Dead reads like something shiny and new even to die-hard fans of the original movie who know it inside out. As for the sequel, it’s a gripping tale that really does justice to the original story. Definitely a must read for anyone who loves a good bone-chiller about the walking dead for sure.


About Night Of The Living Dead:

John Russo unleashes two great, horrific zombie thrillers in one exciting volume! Both Night of The Living Dead and Return of The Living Dead novels are both combined for the first time ever in the form of Russo's new book, Undead.

George A. Romero’s classic 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead, kicked off a fresh era of gut wrenching carnage, relentlessly terrorizing the minds of audiences everywhere and launched the zombie film craze.

Book Synopsis:

A cemetery in small town Pennsylvania. A brother and sister placing flowers on their dead father’s grave. A bizarre figure shuffling toward them dead stare eyes and gnashing teeth. So starts a night of nonstop terror that continues live on in infamy. Seven strangers stuck inside a tiny farmhouse attempt to fight off an army of walking zombies. Who will live? Who will have their flesh gnawed to bits?

About Return Of The Living Dead:

Not long after the initial zombie virus spread, a bus wrecks in a little American town. Local church going folks sprint to the accident in attempt to salvage the living—and expel the dead from existence. But they are not in time. A horrifying new virus has infected the dead. A new band of victims have been infected. And this time, they will devour anything in their paths.

John Russo has also written screenplays and/or stories for Midnight, Santa Claws, The Majorettes, Return of the Living Dead, Bloodsisters, and Inhuman.

Watch for John Russo's forthcoming visual shocker 'Escape of the Living Dead', which is currently in pre-production and scheduled for a 2011 release.

Read a Sample of UNDEAD from Google Books

Related Content:

Undead from Kensington Publishing

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