Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mr. MoOn Reviews Beyond the Dark

Beyond the Dark
By Patrick D’Orazio

Beyond the Dark is the third installment in Patrick D’Orazio’s zombie Dark Trilogy (after Comes the Dark and Into the Dark). With the first two novels Mr. D’Orazio takes his time introducing us to a large and varied cast of characters. In Comes the Dark we meet Jeff Blaine, a normal everyday suburbanite, as well as Megan, a widowed woman living in the same destroyed subdivision, and George, a man seeking to return home to his wife and daughters, and Jason, a twelve year old suffering through the loss of his mother at the hands of the undead. The four band together and search for safety within a world crawling with zombies. They find other survivors in Into the Dark, but the militant leader Michael turns out to be more a villain than a hero and his close circle of henchmen and his psychopathic girlfriend, Cindy, keep a small group of other survivors (including a few children) within the RV walls of their camp.

With Beyond the Dark we have all the fully developed characters which leaves us all revved up for action, action, and, yup, even more action. In this respect Mr. D’Orazio gratefully delivers. As with the previous volume the story picks up immediately where the last left off keeping with the intense feeling these well written zombie novels have established. The survivors are fleeing their camp after a literal zombie horde descends on it after a botched supply run. The RV full of survivors rolls over the gathering of the dead and navigates to the nearest town before disaster befalls them. The motor home gets up to speed and is passing through the town at a decent pace when it crashes into a tangle of abandoned vehicles.
Michael and his remaining henchman, the aggressive red neck Frank, and pycho Cindy are sitting in the front of the large home on wheels while Jeff and his growing band of survivors are in the back room. Once the motor home skids to an unceremonious stop Michael, Frank, and Cindy decide to leave the others to escape and defend themselves on their own against the dead attracted by the squealing metal. Jeff and his crew gather up everyone and realize immediately they have been abandoned by the others. So begins a breathless and exhausting dash to safety for the survivors.
Once the groups separate, each character lives up to their development and branches off even further. Some run for their own selfish reasons, others struggle to distract the shuffling corpses in order for the women and children to escape, and others use the chaos a chance to enact some violent revenge. Once everyone is out of the ruined motor home and in the open as the dead are surrounding them the overall feeling is nothing short of intense. The dead are again prominent monsters and Mr. D’Orazio describes them in loving detail as they attack the living. Some of the most harrowing moments in zombie fiction follow as the dead thin the number of living with their gnashing teeth. There are twists and climaxes through out the last part of the novel as come-upance is dealt out by the hordes of zombies upon the survivors. No one is safe when the un-exhaustible dead are in pursuit and D’Orazio shows no mercy on his characters and their fates.

As far as acting as the third book in trilogy Beyond the Dark delivers the zombie goods for sure. Out of the three I enjoyed its tense atmosphere and graphic violence the most. I think it stands alone better than the previous two even as it wraps the trilogy up perfectly. The epilogues alone are vastly entertaining and stand out amongst the hordes of zombie stories out there. I highly recommend not only this novel Beyond the Dark but the entire trilogy to you ravenous zombie fans out there.

(This is a looooong over due review. Personal issues have kept me insanely busy but keep you eyes open for reviews of books by Garrett Cook, Tonia Brown, and Jason Wuchenich, Anderson Prunty, and more!)

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