Zombie Apocalypse! Washington Deceased by Lisa Morton (book review).

‘Zombie Apocalypse! Washington Deceased’ is the second single author novel to be set in the same universe as the trilogy of ‘Zombie Apocalypse!’ mosaic novels, created by the British horror editor Stephen Jones using text from multiple contributors. This book has been written by Californian horror writer Lisa Morton. I reviewed its predecessor, Mark Morris’s ‘Horror Hospital’, back in February.


While ‘Horror Hospital’ was a prequel novel, showing the initial outbreak of the Human Reanimation Virus or HRV in and around a hospital in South East London prior to the main events recounted in ‘Zombie Apocalypse!’, ‘Washington Deceased’ fast-forwards towards the end of the original trilogy and shifts its focus from the UK to the USA. The American Government has fallen to the zombies and the mysterious originator of HRV, Thomas Moreby, is almost ready to install himself as the new President of the United States. Just one woman stands in his way: Sandra Steele, Director of the Secret Service.

As the story opens, Steele is commanding a mission to locate and rescue the former Vice-President, who is now the most senior US politician still alive. They find her in upstate New York and rescue her from the zombies surrounding the house she is hiding in, although most of the combat team die in the attempt. Steele rapidly decides that the sacrifice was worth it though, because the new President (who remains nameless throughout the entire book) quickly takes a firm grip on what little remains of the Government, appointing people to key posts and giving them a single clear objective, to develop a plan for re-taking the White House as soon as possible.

Steele may be worried by the task of killing thousands of zombies in order to get the President back into the Oval Office, not least when she starts hearing reports that some of the zombies are acting intelligently, but she soon realises that’s as nothing compared to the challenge of getting the surviving members of Capitol Hill to work together for the common good. The newly installed Vice-President is a gun-toting womaniser who seems to think he’s the star of a Schwarzenegger movie, while the Surgeon General is secretly working for New World Pharmaceuticals, an immoral multinational which appears to regard HRV as nothing more than a potential route to huge future profits, if only it can develop an expensive vaccine before the Government does.

Meanwhile, up in the Hollywood Hills, a young scriptwriter called Kevin gets bitten by a zombie, yet two weeks later he’s still OK. Realising that he may have some kind of immunity to HRV, he starts looking for someone official to hand himself in to. However, when he comes into contact with the US Army, he finds out that, for some people, old style prejudice is more important than believing that a gay Korean-American might be the saviour of the human race.

Can Steele come up with a plan to liberate the White House before Thomas Moreby takes it for himself or will his new strain of intelligent zombies turn out to be more capable of decisive action than what’s left of the most powerful nation on Earth?

‘Washington Deceased’ is an impressive and complex novel, weaving energetic sub-plots concerned with politics, big business and the military around the main storyline of Moreby and his infernal zombie army. In Sandra Steele, Morton has created an intelligent, sassy heroine who can hold her own in any fight. She’s joined by an enviable supporting cast of heroes and villains for whom the stakes are all too real. The inclusion of several character vignettes, such as when the President takes Steele aside and asks her to take personal charge of the search for her missing daughter, provide a depth to the story which engages the reader’s emotions and turns the book into something much greater than just another zombie gore-fest.

‘Zombie Apocalypse! Washington Deceased’ is a sophisticated horror novel which takes Stephen Jones’ source material and fashions an exciting and engaging story out of it. If you enjoy zombie novels but are looking for something a cut above the average, Lisa Morton’s book may be just what you’re after.

Patrick Mahon

August 2015

(pub: Robinson, 336 page paperback. Price: £7.99. ISBN: 978-1-4721-1067-1)

check out websites: www.constablerobinson.com and www.lisamorton.com


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