Wormwood by Michael James McFarland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am fortunate to receive review copies from time to time. It is the proverbial "Box of Chocolates" mentioned by one Mr. Gump. You never know what you're gonna get. In this case...I have to say that if you are a fan of the zombie genre, yet are not familiar with Wormwood by Michael James McFarland, you are missing out.
The zombie scene has been deluged with titles in the past few years...some good, other not so much. I would dare to say that Mr. McFarland is one of the best writers you have not heard of yet...but should. He is exceptional at creating a tight scene...and offering a variety of characters to love or hate. In addition, he is not shy about exposing the darkness that lurks under the surface of humanity.
One of the true strengths of Wormwood rested in the set up. So often, readers of the zombie genre are plopped down in the middle of the story. There is something special about watching a plausible chain of events unfold that bring on the apocalypse. Like the tide, the central characters in this story watch the horror start out east and head toward them with a painful slowness. This is where McFarland really shines. The tension built in the first third of the book is a rarity that you have to read for yourself to enjoy.
I give this book all five of its well deserved stars. I offer no spoilers, but will warn you that there are some scenes that may be a touch brutal. My only fault that I could mention was that I felt the "gas station" scene with the splash of "Deliverance" happened a bit soon in the chaos. While I certainly feel that there is a dark, lawlessness that would ensue, I felt that particular scene happened a shade too soon. That would be my only complaint if I were to nitpick. Regardless, this is a super entry and deserves more attention.