I don’t normally read in the horror genre, cause let’s face it, I’m a bit of a pansy when it comes to stuff like that. Ask my wife. She’ll tell you that I’m rarely willing to watch movies or shows that most people wouldn’t dub even moderately scary. I get nightmares, okay? Leave me alone. Anyway, I decided to make an exception for this book, Keeper Of The Dead, written by fellow indie author and friend, Ryan Young.
Keeper Of The Dead is Young’s debut novel and boy is it a great one. Calling “Keeper Of The Dead” simply a zombie book or a horror book would be doing it a disservice because it’s much, much more. The novel follows two different timelines, the “then”, which chronicles the survival efforts of Viktor, the main character, at the start of a terrifying new pandemic (timely, right?) that transforms its victims into the ravenous undead (much the way social media does), and the “now” which follows Viktor several years later, as he sets out on a quest to track down a mysterious woman from a driver’s license he’s collects in his travels. The weaving of these two timelines is masterfully done and each section leaves the reader wanting for more as Viktor gets deeper and deeper into trouble.
In many ways, Keeper Of The Dead is more of a survival book than anything, as Young goes into great detail describing the various ways in which Viktor has adapted to survive in his new harsh environment, not only physically but mentally as well. Not to give away any spoilers, but it makes me wonder if Mr. Young spent a fair amount of time living in self-constructed treehouses to research for the book. I wouldn’t blame him, cause that sounds awesome. Hopefully, though, he doesn’t have a collection of dead people’s driver’s licenses hidden in his basement somewhere.
What struck me most about this book was the way Young got into the head of Viktor and how precisely he paints the picture of this man who has survived unspeakable horrors, his mental state, and the habits and hobbies he’s developed to keep himself pushing forward, taking one day at a time. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself reflecting on how you’d survive in similar situations and if you’re really like me you’ll come to the conclusion that you’d be zombie lunch before the end of the first act.
The book is a heck of a lot of fun, in a terrifying way. If you’re looking for a great read, that will keep you on the edge of your seat or you just want to study up on how best to survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse, I’d highly recommend Keeper Of The Dead. The nightmares are worth it.
Sidenote: Deer hunters beware when reading this book. I won’t say anything more than that, but when you read it, you’ll know.
You can find Ryan Young’s Keeper Of The Dead here on Amazon or ask for it at any of your local bookstores.