Fall of Night starts right after the events of Dead of Night. Billy Trout livestreaming military trying to destroy the Stebbins Little School with the only few survivors of Stebbins County. Homer Gibbon was infected with a deadly and highly contagious disease instead of being executed as he should have been for depraved murders. The zombie contagion is working its way through shoddy military checkpoints and spreading to more populated areas. Politicians argue over courses of action while the disease moves mostly unhindered. Can small groups of well meaning people do what the government can't: stop this disease from destroying humanity?
Dead of Night was one of my favorite zombie reads of last year and Fall of Night is no different. The narrative is less focused as the infection spreads across the countryside. This book features the main plots with Billy Trout and Dez in the Stebbins Little School, a team of ex-military heading to the Little School, the president and his cabinet in the White House, and Homer Gibbon with Goat travelling across the US spreading his disease. The president's chapters are some of the most frustrating because he's much too concerned with public opinion of him and his legacy to do what needs to be done to save everyone. Homer and Goat's chapters where Goat records Homer's ravings and attacking people. These chapters were the most suspenseful because Homer is in between zombie and human. He could turn on Goat at any moment for any reason while Goat is trying to warn everyone covertly. Interspersed between these chapters are short vignettes of people in a growing distance from Stebbins encountering zombies and usually either dying or becoming a zombie. My favorite vignette involves a group of Renaissance Faire jousting actors that jump into battle against the zombies and die in a blaze of glory.
One thing I love about Jonathan Maberry's zombie world is the interconnectivity between all of the series. Sam Imura, older brother of Tom and Benny Imura from the Rot and Ruin series, makes an appearance. He's one of my favorite characters, acting outside of the government and doing whatever he can to help. Saint John, villain from the Rot and Ruin series, hears Homer Gibbon's proselytizing about the red mouth and the black eye commanding him to spread the disease to the entire human race. He adopts it as his own religion and will eventually create a cult around it. Even Dez and Billy make an appearance as bounty hunters. The one thing that took away from the book was the knowledge that no one would succeed in saving the world. It was interesting to see everything unfold, but there wasn't any suspense because I knew what would ultimately happen.
The Lucifer virus is a fast acting disease that leaves the person aware. I find this the most chilling aspect of it because completely conscious people are witnessing the breakdown of their bodies and themselves uncontrollably attacking everyone around them. I wondered how it would spread world wide if people wouldn't have the opportunity to travel anywhere before going full blown zombie. The virus goes airborne and spreads far wider and faster than zombies can walk. It starts as a tickle in the throat and over hours, the person becomes a zombie instead of minutes. It allows people to take flights or travel longer distances. I was skeptical at first as to how this would happen and it's a nice touch that shows how well thought out the logistics of the situation are.
Fall of Night is an excellent zombie novel that views that start of the zombie apocalypse from a lot of different angles. Jonathan Maberry is an amazing writer that always writes vivid, visceral scenes with emotional gravitas. His books are always enjoyable and exciting. My goal is read all of his works so I have to finish up the Joe Ledger series and V Wars and then wait for more.
My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins