Book Review: The Rising by Brian Keene

I intentionally avoided zombie novels (with the notable exception of Joe Schreiber's Chasing the Dead: A Novel), while I wrote The Undead Socialite's Guide to Nightlife. Now, I seem to be binging on them–'tis the season for bowel abuse, I guess. The latest morsel shoved down my craw, Brian Keene's The Rising, took me back to my adolescence. But, not in a good way.

It is a straight up zombie tale–the dead rise, eat the living, inherit the earth–exactly what I'd expected, and Keene can certainly sling gore with the best of them, his descriptions are absolutely sticky with the stuff. Our hero starts off on a trek to rescue his son from his now undead stepfather (is someone working through issues?). He meets up with a ragtag group of survivors (kudos to the supporting cast–nicely drawn) and becomes embroiled in zombie battles.

The story sparks along toward what is promised to be an explosive climax–namely the scene between hero and son–and then…does not deliver.

I have to tell you: I DON'T NEED A HAPPY ENDING. What I do need is an ending. This isn't the ghetto of literary fiction. I'm not interested in allusions or brainy foreshadowing. Horror stories need a bang, like a fresh ex-con. I know I'm not alone here. I understand that the questions are answered in a second book, City of the Dead, but I can't imagine putting myself out.

Next Book:Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman