#Horror Review: Disease by M.F. Wahl (@MFWahl_Author)

While I often feel the zombie trope has been overdone, M.F. Wahl proves that there is still life in it (sorry), provided you tell the story right. In her hands, Disease is not a story about a zombie apocalypse, but one about humans survival.

Although there is an autistic child at the heart of the story that had me dreading a Koontz-like letdown, this is really the story of a surrogate mom and a female cult leader, adversaries who play extraordinarily well off of one another, and whose personalities make the story so compelling. Casey is a fantastic character, a sympathetic heroine who represents a personally relate-able struggle for survival. Lot is, perhaps, even more intriguing, a hard-edged cult leader who is more well-rounded, and with more depth, that you might expect.

I hate to make comparisons, but this is a book that reminded me (in a good way) of both The Stand and The Mist. It shares some of the same themes and conflicts, with a similar sense of strained community. Religion plays a big part (although, thankfully, without the literal hand of God); the very personal question of how and why to survive is key; and we are witness to the ease with which leadership becomes tyranny. Where it differs, however is in the source of the horror. There is no one figurehead villain to lead the forces of evil, no mysterious monsters in the mist, just a horde of ravenous . . . implacable . . . unstoppable . . . never-ending zombies.

There is a lot of talk about what makes a zombie, with discussions of plague/infection that I find personally fascinating, but the original serialized nature of the story helps make for a more sustained pacing, with Disease often becoming a brutally violent, often exhausting read. There were some flaws that irked me - little things like too much talking before killing, the fact that people seem woefully unprepared to defend themselves, and all-too-human stupid choices - but, by and large, this was a fantastic read that delivered exactly what I craved.

Paperback, 236 pages
Published October 19th 2014 by M.F. Wahl

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.