Title: The Z Tailgate
Author: Clive Riddle
Publisher: Healthquest Publishers, 2016
Plot: Considered experts in the field after surviving one zombie apocalypse, Alan and Conner are called aboard a pleasure cruise where an outbreak of a new strain of Gorman’s disease – zombies – is occurring. It is not only time they are fighting against, but reluctant staff not wanting to compromise their reputation.
Cassie and Bruce are also in trouble. Rather than reuniting with their friends, the pair get kidnapped by a deranged man high on meth. Trapped with zombies – including their old friend Tess – the pair learn that Tess hasn’t Turned properly.
Answers must be found before the z’s become unstoppable.
Quote: `Conner hadn’t fully learned his lesson from his previous zombie forehead-fire axe-encounter. Once again, the axe didn’t separate from the Zs skill after impact. With the axe stuck in the z skull, Conner lost his balance.`
Opinion: The Z Tailgate by Clive Riddle is the first zombie book I have read. I therefore will not comment on how the zombies were portrayed or fighting techniques employed against them as to whether they are plausible for fans of this genre. Neither had I read the first book, so I can’t compare the two.
What I will say is this book ended up gripping me!
The beginning was poorly written. Too much time was spent trying to sum up what had happened in the first book and not in a natural way manner. Characters stood there and thought about past events, making the writing jarring and preventing any connection with the characters themselves. The dialogue came across as force and the overuse of names distracted me from the plot.
Then the action started, and the book became a lot stronger. It felt as if Riddle had got into his flow and this was what he had been waiting to write. The long sections with each set of characters worked effectively to build the tension and keep you absorbed in their struggles. The writing wasn’t strong enough to pull away and then recapture the emotions, whereas this style worked.
The writing improved drastically once the action started. The pace was fast and the words flowed. There was still unnecessary words and dialogue being used ineffectively, but they no longer were the distraction they had been in the first half. The writing tightened up and became more focused.
The characters became likeable once events started moving. Whether this was because the writing stopped distracting me and allowed me to start empathising with them or because they were given the chance to prove themselves, I don’t know. Cassie no longer sat there and cried; she fought off zombies. Conner didn’t whine about his lot in life; he came up with a plan to keep them alive.
This book didn’t inspire me to read lots about zombies. What it did do, however, was prove me wrong. I found myself swept up in the story and rooting for the characters by the end.
I now want to read the first book: this one did something right!