10.35 AM, September 14th 2015. Portsmouth, England.
A global particle physics experiment releases a pulse of unknown energy with catastrophic results. Scientists in their laboratories search desperately for a solution to the broken fabric of existence, but they are already too late, the sanctity of the grave has been sundered.
There is no virus or bacteria to combat, just chaos and horror as a million graveyards expel their tenants from eternal slumber. The world is unaware of the impending apocalypse, realisation only dawns with the appearance of the mouldering corpses who devour everything they encounter. Governments crumble and armies are scattered to the wind.
Kurt Taylor, a self-employed plumber, witnesses the start of the horrifying outbreak. Desperate to reach his family before they fall victim to the ever growing horde of shambling corruption, he flees the scene, watching the unfolding cannibalism and destruction in his rear view mirror.
In a society with few guns, how can people hope to survive the endless waves of zombies that seek to consume every living thing? With ingenuity, planning and everyday materials, the group forge their way and strike back at the Hellspawn legions. Rescues are mounted, but not all survivors are benevolent. The evil that is in all men has been given free rein in this new, dead world. With both the living and dead to contend with, is there any hope for the Taylor family?
I know, I know. I said I was giving up zombie novels for the time being and at the time, I meant it. However, when I’m approached by a new author who wants me to review his first book, I can’t resist. Yes, I’m weak.
Zombie stories are a dime a dozen and in order for a book to stand out in my mind, it has to not only be different, it has to be very different. Hellspawn fits the bill. There is no zombie virus scientists are trying to find a cure for. Hellspawn sees the dead rising from the graveyards and by the time science can try to come up with an answer, it’s already too late.
The book follows the Taylors, a family in Portsmouth, England, trying to survive hell on earth. The family is not perfect and they certainly don’t have all the answers. They are realistically flawed which makes you cheer for them when they succeed and feel horrible when they fail. Not only do the Taylors have to face zombies, they have to fight against other humans, the worst kind of humans, just to survive.
For a first novel, Hellspawn is a solid piece of zombie fiction. I only discovered a couple of small mistakes while reading, showing this author took the time to hire a great editor, a step many new authors need to take. The story flows well and releases many emotions in the reader, and with a second book in the works, Ricky Fleet has a winner on his hands.
Oh, keep an eye out for Mrs. Humes. I think you’ll love her. I know I did and if the author kills her, I will have to fly to England to inflict bodily harm.
Overall, Hellspawn is a fast-paced thrill thrill ride that is just uniique enough to stand out from the crowd.