Book Review: The Most Uncommon Cold I: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse by Jeff Littorno

The Most Uncommon Cold I – Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse by Jeff Littorno – 2 stars

Imagine a world in which nothing is as it should be. Our loved ones no longer recognize us. The basic laws of society no longer apply.
And the dead do not remain still.
That is the world in which reporter Kevin Turner finds himself.
It is a world of little order and no help from police or military.
Now finding the facts surrounding the story do not matter as
much as simply finding a way to stay alive.

Personally, I prefer my zombies served with humor. This book has none. It started well enough, with mystery and confusion and oddity. For the first chapter, although I found the execution of the 1st person perspective less than superlative, I thought it would be a decent rendition of the basic conspiracy plus zombie type of story.

Alas. The book is riddled with grammatical mistakes, from missing words to mismatched verbs and plurals. Beyond that, the writing style itself didn’t work for me. There are almost no contractions, in speech or not, which makes it come off as inappropriately stilted for the material. It also uses far too many cliches.

I didn’t particularly feel anything for Kevin, the main character. His inner thoughts portrayed him as manic, careening from one thought process to another without rhyme or reason, and he shows a general lack of growth. The primary difference I could see between Starting Kevin and Ending Kevin is that Ending Kevin is aware of the existence of zombies. He also doesn’t come across as having enough brains or instinct to actually survive as long as he does. There’s no need for him to be a survivalist or action hero, but it shouldn’t take more than two or three events for him to realize he shouldn’t approach the zombies, among other things.

Kevin’s relationship with his wife starts with a deft hand, then degrades into a sledgehammer, pounding away at the same idea over and over again. This is, so far as I can tell, the theme of the book: take a good idea and beat it to death. There are also plenty of contradictions, from little things like the wife’s Toyota suddenly becoming a Mustang to the larger matter of how the zombies behave overall (the explanations suggested later in the book kind of make sense, but not really).

This book is billed as horror. It does have some gore. The zombies themselves aren’t particularly horrifying, and the attempts to build suspense are undermined by lack of specific description and buildup. Kevin spends too much time wallowing in the same thoughts–especially of the past–over and over to project any kind of personal horror.

Should the book ever be edited, I would raise my rating to probably 3.5 stars and recommend this for people who typically enjoy the fluffier (as in not intense or gritty) type of contagion-based zombie story with a dash of conspiracy.

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