In the year 2007 an accident at a clandestine U.S. government facility in rural West Virginia releases several test subjects infected with a necrotic virus. Within weeks the U.S. military and the Department of Homeland Security are forced to declare the bulk of the state under quarantine. Defensive lines are fortified and nothing is allowed in or out, damning those missed in the short period of evacuations to a living hell and locking away the real truth of the virus’ creation. The government transfers the responsibility of maintaining the quarantine from the military to the Department of Homeland Security, which christens it “Area 187”. Suits and claims are dismissed under anti-terror legislation as the rest of government scrambles to cover their involvement in the original project, distancing themselves and their reelections. Seven years pass. Homeland Security enforces a total news blackout on all things Area 187, and as with other disasters before it the bulk of America is more than willing to move on. Conspiracies continue to thrive outside the now-immense defensive wall and fortifications, and mercenaries known as “grave robbers” regularly slip in and out of the Area, stealing valuables and taking contracts to bring back specific items for well-paying customers. Our story follows Josephine Terrell, a television reporter and John Heath, once an Air Force search-and-rescue team leader that escaped the Area after five years of fruitless searching for his wife, as they risk their lives from both the dead and the living inside Area 187 to rescue a group of survivors. Josephine is looking for the story of the century, one that will prove living, breathing Americans still await rescue inside the Area and that Homeland has been covering up their existence. Heath joins her mission after he sees what may be his wife, Eileen, in a video message from the survivors. Personal rivalries, government conspiracies and a simple man’s simple promise weave together with death incarnate to follow their every step as they make their way through a blasted, nightmarish landscape full of the hungering dead. But the peril offered by the mindless corpses behind the wall becomes second to the danger presented by the living beyond it.
How often have you sat down to read a zombie novel and walked away with tears in your eyes? I would have to bet the answer is either never or very rarely. I have had this happen twice once was with my husband’s book Kings of the Dead and Area 187 – Almost Hell was the second. Area 187 is a fantastic book that I HIGHLY recommend. The characters are flawlessly flawed…what I mean is that nearly all of them act/react in ways that are believable to their characters and those who do not have their reasons. Eric Lowther put a lot of heart into his characters. I truly felt for them and their plight. In fact, I DM’d him on Twitter and told him if a certain character dies I’m going to be seriously pissed at him. Well, that character did not die, but quite a few other did and some deaths were even well deserved!
In most zombie novels, the entire world or at least a specific continent is infested with zombies, but the story is focused on a specific area. Area 187 is unique in that the infestation was contained and the rest of the world has continued with normal everyday life. They just have the added knowledge that there is an area that has been walled up and is guarded from anything and everything trying to get in and especially out.
The zombies are traditional moaning shamblers. Single zeds are fairly easily dispatched, but the swarms are what you have to watch for and avoid. The gore and mayhem can be particularly gruesome at times, but I had a ‘hell yea’ moment during a certain dismemberment scene. While the description is detailed and, as I mentioned, gruesome, I do not feel it is overly grotesque.
Area 187 – Almost Hell is a definite must read for any zombie fan, especially for those who enjoy a story of the survivors.
Area 187 – Almost Hell can be purchased over at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions by clicking the cover image above. You can, also, visit Barnes & Noble (HERE) for paperback and nook versions.
The author can be found at his self titled blog Eric R. Lowther giving his readers samples of his writing, having guest bloggers follow along to keep tabs on what he’s got going on. You can also follow Eric on Twitter: @bguglyhryscry.
Espresso rating: Quad
Wait, you’re still reading? Thanks, but put down the coffee for a second, click the link and buy Area 187 – Almost Hell.