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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

It begins with one body.

A pair of medical examiners find themselves facing a dead man who won’t stay dead. 

It spreads quickly. 

In a Midwestern trailer park, an African American teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly risen friends and family.

On a US aircraft carrier, living sailors hide from dead ones while a fanatic preaches the gospel of a new religion of death. 

At a cable news station, a surviving anchor keeps broadcasting, not knowing if anyone is watching, while his undead colleagues try to devour him.

In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak, preserving data for a future that may never come.

Everywhere, people are targeted by both the living and the dead.

We think we know how this story ends.  

We. Are. Wrong.

©2020 George A. Romero (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Living Dead

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Yawn of the Dead

Daniel Kraus fails to breathe life into Romero's long dead project.

First off I am huge fan of all things Zombie and I've read widely in the genre. Romero is the grandfather of all modern zombie media and if you're a massive fan of his you won't want to miss this just out of pure curiosity. But is it a good zombie novel, well you'll have guessed by the title I for one think not. I fell sorry for Daniel Kraus, a book like this could never please everyone and I do feel he's done as well as he could Spirit Writing this novel.

He's been faithful to Georges vision for this novel but the problem is that George himself the progenitor of all things zombie couldn't finish it and not because of his tragic death. It's obvious from a plot perspective that he had no idea where the story was heading. It reads like a a poor copy of some of the golden age Permuted Press zombie titles with a splash of Max Brooks world War Z wedged in to save from having to write a narrative. We're given a wide sweeping tail that brings together disparate survivors from the initial out break but with out a satisfying continuity.

Characters are explored in the initial out break and then "boom" it's 10 years later and they're all together lets ignore how that happens and the intervening decade of their survival. The characters then go on to take actions that are incongruous to their exposure to the world building let alone their characterization. Add to this a unconvincing third act with the introduction of a protagonist who upsets five years of idyll for the group in little more than two pages.

There are silly apocalyptic inconsistency like there still being gasoline and rubber gloves ten years in but most authors make those kind of mistakes.

We also get the introduction of zombie animals, which Romero wanted to add but never found the vehicle to do so. Personally I've never enjoyed zombie animals, they're an attempt to up the ante but unlike 28 days later Running zombies (ok argue that an other time) or Zack Snyder Dawn of the Dead never really add anything to the horror. What makes it worse is that Romero zombies have progressed, from mindless ghouls to the sentient Bub and Big Daddy and there was an inclining from the films that this would lead somewhere. Sadly it does not and neither do the little clues about zombie infection or behavior. We the reader are left know less about the zombie condition than when we started. There's a philosophic point to be made with the zombie, but again it's only hinted at and never coalesces into the nugget of wisdom you might hope for.

There is a thread that runs through this book (quite literally at points) but it is utterly contrived and just jars each time it comes up.

Over all this was a below average zombie tail only of interest to die hard (take that as you may) Romero fans. Sorry Daniel I think you did a great job within your constraints but you were never going to resurrect the greatness of Night, Dawn or Day of the dead.

5 people found this helpful

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Nope. Just couldn't finish this.

I held on as long as I could, but somewhere around the 24hour mark, I gave up.
This isn't the story of the zombie apocalypse, these are the individual stories of a group of people I just couldn't give 2 hoots about. Totally unrelatable and unremarkable characters. Long, ambling back stories of no relevance.
Just.....just dont.....

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

By Romero....the King of the Zombie Flick....

So you know when you see the name George A Romero before a movie more than likely it’s going to be about zombies, zees, the undead, gore, death and carnage so you can guess this books is the same. Well it is but Romero died before it was completed and Daniel Kraus picked up the reins, tweaked it and then finished the book. And I have to say I think Mr Romero would be proud of what Mr Kraus has achieved.

One of my first dates - away back in the mists of time I may add - was going into see the original Dawn of the Dead and I became hooked on the “.....of the Dead series” and you know this book fits right in there. It follows the same formula which in my opinion never gets boring. Can mind the movie but not the lad who took me into see it!

In a nut shell we have a cast of characters who we follow over a set amount of years - that is from the beginning of the outbreak till the end or is it.... well no spoilers here! But more interestingly we find out what it is like changing into a zombie and being a zed. This is an interesting twist and I enjoyed these parts the most.

It is a long book but I think it needs to be as our main characters backstories need to be told ...fleshed out as it were and I have to say I was rooting for some more than others! There are some really scarey moments in this book - I’ve a tendency to listen to horror late at night in the dark and on my own. 🤪

What can I say ...it’s a really good 27 hours worth Zombie Apocalyptic book with all the usual tropes and I liked it! It’s well narrated with each character having their own identifiable voice and it’s worth a credit.

‘When there’s no more room in Hell....the dead will walk the Earth’ Romero Dawn of the Dead...cheers!

2 people found this helpful

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Nearly a masterpiece

I've been a big fan of George A Romero's "Dead" movies for over 25 years (since I was old enough to watch them!) and was sad to hear of his passing a few years ago and his unfinished work, this - The Living Dead was something I never thought I'd get to read, but thankfully it was handed over to Daniel Kraus (who, admittedly, I had never heard of before) and was finally finished and released and I was so glad I got to read/listen to it.

A majority of the book (about 60% on the Kindle edition - which I read along with, or about 20 of the 27 hours on Audible) was absolutely perfect - it covers the very beginning of the end of the world, starting with the first recorded zombie/ghoul/white eyes and then goes over the next 10-12 days from the perspectives of a number of very different characters in very different scenarios.

This I absolutely loved! It was exactly what I always wanted from a zombie book - it went into details of each characters' back story and current situation perfectly - so much so that I actually cared what was happening to them (or going to happen). So when the undead got involved there was genuine shock and terror for me (not so much in the "I'll have to keep the lights on tonight" horror - more "Get away from those ghouls!" horror) - some chapters were so tense.

The next two acts, which goes up to the end of the book, jumps 11 years and fills in the gaps a little on what happened in between and also what is happening now (no spoilers) - this I didn't like quite so much. The reasons why were a lot of the characters I'd grown to like over the past 20 hours were now not very likeable anymore at all (probably because they haven't got a lot to be likeable for anymore - what with the end of the world and all!) but intentional or not, I didn't really care what happened to them anymore - I was actually rooting for the zombies! Like the zombies themselves, the story slows down so much that I was actually getting a bit bored towards the end. And last but not least - there's waaaay too many coincidences and life cross-overs which made it extremely unbelievable.

So overall - I loved nearly 2/3 of it but didn't really like the last third at all, so for me this was a solid 3.5 but as we can't leave half-stars then I'll top it up to 4 as, like I've said, the first 2/3rds was excellent.

Finally - the performances from Bruce Davidson and Lori Cardille were incredible! They really got into the characters and the expressions of feelings and dialogue was so good. I'd love to hear more audiobooks from this team!

1 person found this helpful

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  • DM
  • 17-05-21

The Ups and Downs of the Dead

I'm a big zombie film fan, though I'd contend that only a handful of truly great zombie films have been made. With his original 'Dead' trilogy, George Romero was responsible for three of them. Great - or even just good - zombie novels are even rarer, so I was hoping this one, part-written by the master himself, would join their ranks.

The first part of the book is overlong, and it is overwritten, especially in the early stages. Action set pieces are drawn out to absolutely intolerable lengths. There are action scenes, which in a film might take 30 seconds of screen time, take about an hour of narration time. At one point, a teenage girl caught in the thick of some bloody mayhem lets out a scream, and we get to hear her musings on how she perceives her own cry to be like a feminist roar. Maybe that's something she might reflect on later, but surely not while a dead woman is trying to bite her arm off, or whatever?!

The characters are well-rounded but not all of them feel real. Worst of all, they display 'horror film stupidity' at various points. Characters acting totally against type - or suddenly losing their basic good sense - because the plot needs to be driven forward. A battle-hardened survivor, 15 years after the outbreak begins, gets bitten after running her fingers along a zombie's lip, lost in some silly reverie. I mean, c'mon.

Despite all this, I'm glad I persevered past the first 10 hours or so. After those endless introductory scenes, and as we move into the more sprightly middle section (The Life of Death), and the third section, the quality picks up and it contains some really cool ideas. One character's death scene is genuinely moving. The occasional use of zombies as characters, written using the second person perspective, is properly creepy and works very well indeed. The discussions about politics and leadership, after a Trump-like populist insinuates himself into the group, are packed full of ideas you can really chew over.

Though I'd question the need for two readers, the duo have great voices and are good performers, particularly the gruff Bruce Davison. But there's some occasionally dodgy editing and it doesn't help that much of the writing appears to be a little difficult to read. Big, unwieldy, needlessly complex sentences. AND where do you PUT... the emphasis?

Whatever. I'm glad I stuck it to the end. This is a good zombie novel. The final essay by Daniel Kraus is great. I recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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Stay scared, and eternally vigilant

OK...Phew. Take a breather...

27+ Hours later and I'm physically and mentally drained.

However, also strangely invigorated and alive.

Best 'Zombie' novel I've read and definitely up there with THE best of modern literature ever. EPIC.

Anyone who is looking for an insight in to understanding the de-humanising and self-destructive nature and effects of consumerism, classism, racism, sexism...Slavery.

The Western idea of exceptionalism, perpetuated by the industrial military complex.

The contradiction and futility of religion; the rise of the Millennials.

The loss of truth and industrious sensationalism of the News.

The damaging and debilitating and overwhelming reliance on technology. The horrific base human nature, under stress: Life, death, hope, love, hate, humour, despair and desire, should absolutely read this book.

P.S. There are a few zombies thrown in for good measure...

Thank you @DanielKraus, YOU have done George proud, especially YOU.

Stay scared, and eternally vigilant.

#TheLivingDead #DanielKraus
#GeorgeRRomero

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointed

Couldn't finish! Writer more intrested in selling the diversity message than a good zombie story.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Boring, convoluted, waste of my time

If this was a book I would have gone straight to the back page and still thought I'd wasted my time. Obviously the Master of Zombie horror can't beat some life into an undead zombie horse. Only wish I could get my credit/money back. Good luck if you are trying this, you'll need it

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The deepest dive yet into the goo of the Dead

It’s all here, like a Frankenstein’s monster made anew between Romero and Kraus. An epic, aptly conclude post-life in the case of George.

This is truly beautiful work. The book unfolds to become a re-membering of existing native threads and characters that bleed seamlessly into this new story as yet untold. This definite end to the Dead chronology could not have been executed with more exquisite care.

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frustratingly awful

I bought the book when it came out and gave up after about the second chapter.
got this audio book to try again.
I found myself switching off in boredom and frustration. I think whoever actually wrote this must have been paid by the word.
terribly disappointed.