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The Lifeless: A Zombie Novel [Paperback]

Lorne Dixon
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2009
A school full of kids. A mysterious yellow rain. High school will never be the same. They are outcasts and misfits, teenagers lost on the path to adulthood, living day-to-day inside a high school culture of taunts, humiliation, and isolation. They are the misunderstood, the neglected, and the abused. They are . . . The Lifeless. For them, every school day is a nightmare. But on Monday, October 2nd, they will discover the true meaning of terror. Classes are cut short by news of explosions in the city across the river, part of a series of horrific terrorist attacks that paralyze the nation. But that is only the beginning: amber clouds fill the sky, burning rain pelts down, and the surviving students of Verlaine High learn that their tormentors have mutated into something far worse-reanimated corpses with a primordial instinct for murder. It's time to stand up to the in-crowd . . . or be consumed by it.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Both Fresh and Formula April 8 2010
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Zombie novels are a guilty pleasure of mine. Those who share this interest must admit that there is an incredible amount of terrible work out there. While I appreciate every effort, much is excruciatingly bad (some of the self-published work has not even gone through a spell or grammar check). That is why it is great to come across a good zombie effort which seems to be one out of every fifteen. Thankfully, Dixon's The Lifeless is a good one.

It stood out because of the uniqueness of how the zombies came to be. Without giving anything away, I thoroughly enjoyed the catalyst event brought about by terrorists. From there the book follows the basic formula of a small band of survivors, interpersonal conflicts, impersonal and overwhelming siege, heroism and cowardice, and thrilling escape. I love this formula and can read it over and over again. Sure I like the introduction of speedy zombies which has been a relatively new component in some books. I much less like thinking zombies, wildlife zombies, and supernaturally possessed zombies. Just give me a disintegrating world where the living are being overwhelmed by the dead and I am a happy zombie-guy.

Dixon's effort delivers against my wants and needs. The characters were interesting enough and the pace is solid. The metaphor of Miss Sonia's rapid cancer compared to the spread of the zombie condition is a little clumsy but well meant. Overall a fun read that you can finish in an afternoon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book Sept. 3 2009
By S. Blodgett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of zombie/post-apocalyptic fiction as well as Mr.Dixon's previous book Snarl, so I approached this novel with much anticipation. I wasn't let down. I was drawn in by the characters immediately, you don't find many teenagers in this type of book. Don't let the youth of the protagonists fool you, zombies don't care about the age of the victims. Even though I'm older than the protagonists, their lives and situations are familiar to many of us. The novel is refreshing because it gives us characters and a setting that are very uncommon in this type of novel. I enjoyed the brutal action against the zombies using improvised weapons, yet another refreshing change because usually in zombie fiction firearms are commonplace and easily mastered by anyone who wields them.

I don't want to give any of the plot away. I will say that Mr. Dixon offers up some truly startling and wince inducing violence as well as some memorable imagery, the ominous yellow fog featured on the cover being one such example. The writing was tight, fast paced, clear and masterfully described the action that was taking place. And trust me, you will not see the ending coming. I simply couldn't put the book down, that hasn't happened to me very much lately.

The Lifeless is easily one of the most enjoyable horror novels I've read this year and proudly sits alongside my favorites of the zombie genre. Coscom adds another stellar book to their roster and Lorne Dixon is a name every horror fan should be following. I can't wait to see what he does next.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zombies, zombies, zombies!! Nov. 6 2009
By Colleen Wanglund - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love zombies, so I may be a little biased, but I really did enjoy this book. It starts with a bang(literally) and just keeps going. I thought the focus on a high school not far from the epicenter of doom was fantastic. You're told what is happening in the major areas, but it's far enough away that you can relate to what's happening to these kids--no real authority to take charge and see them through makes it that much scarier. I also like that Lorne Dixon chose to blur the line between supernatural horror and real horror, reflecting the fear of terrorism that exists. The dual meaning of the title is genius, as well as the fact that the terror doesn't end after the initial onslaught--it's drawn out and leaves the reader wondering when, or if, it will end.
LOVE IT!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Lorne Dixon Nov. 3 2009
By Michael De Kler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading Lorne Dixon's previous book, SNARL, I'd been waiting to gobble up more of his fiction. I got the chance (after a relatively short wait) with his latest offering, THE LIFELESS, and yet again Dixon proves why he's a writer worth following. The book immediately tosses us head-first into the midst of a terrorist attack, the effects of which produce a toxic rainfall that kills (and subsequently returns to life) anyone who comes in contact with it.

Dixon knows exactly what buttons to push here. Within moments the reader can't help but be taken back to the horrors that unfolded in this country nearly a decade ago and the fear and helplessness that went along with it. As the explosions rock the early pages of this novel, you know the road you're headed down (or at least you think you do), and you know what people must be feeling, because we've been there before. Dixon reveals the events in a way that is sure to send shivers up your spine.

But as effective as he is at showing us the big picture, it's when he focuses the camera in close that Dixon show's off his well-honed ability at telling the tale. The story moves to a small group of high school students that have been spared the fate of their fellow classmates, now a hoard of blood-thirsty undead whose only desire is to snuff out any remaining life in the vicinity. The students remain trapped in the school's library, desperately trying to find a means of escape. But if you're looking for a story about human diversity and how people join together in moments of extreme distress, you've come to the wrong place. The lines that divided these kids during normal life remain in place even while the dead beat at the doors. The gritty reality that pervades this book is why Dixon is bound to become a prominent name in the genre for years to come.

Before long, we realize that the savagery of the undead isn't that dissimilar from the ruthlessness of the living. The heroes and leaders in this story are not who you'd expect. And as much as you think you can predict what will happen, each page seems to twist your expectations in every other direction.

Dixon doesn't waste words. The prose is smooth, natural, and easy to digest. And while he's great at cutting right to the punches, he still finds a way to seamlessly weave in a layer of depth to the characters. You almost don't notice it, but you quickly realize that you really care about these people, and from that moment forward you're hooked.

The ending further hammers home the theme and tone of the rest of the book: This is no fairy tale. No walking off into the sunset. Dixon manages to stir up all of our emotions, and after turning the final page you'll want to sit back and let it all finally sink in. And after that, you'll undoubtedly feel that growing hunger for more of his work.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool (and scary) origin for the undead... Oct. 3 2009
By Nick Cato - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When a group of terrorists inject themselves with a mysterious amber liquid, their bodies explode at different points around Manhattan (and several other U.S. cities), causing mini-mushroom clouds to rise and cause acidic rain that melts and distorts the flesh of anyone unfortunate enough to be near them. But after a few moments, the partially-digested corpses come back to life, hungry for flesh and blood.

Most of the novel takes place inside a New Jersey high school, where a small group of surviving students (along with the Assistant Principal) barricade themselves in the library and try plan a way of escape. There's class struggle, teen angst, and the Assistant Principal (a former cop) dealing with his past failures. There's also plenty of gooey-zombie goodness, lots of action and a realistic sense of doom throughout the entire novel.

While THE LIFELESS follows a standard apocalyptic-zombie theme, Dixon's terrorist-origin for the undead (that's never fully explained, making the novel all the more eerie) gives this one somewhat of a different feel. Fans of zombie fiction will surely eat this one up; Dixon's prose is quick and the story features several scenes guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome story packed with zombie action! Nov. 21 2009
By Sheri A. Gambino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is a strange yellow rain that falls from the sky and people that are caught in it become flesh hungry zombies. This books just takes off from the start with action, and just keeps going on throughout the book. I had never read anything by Lorne Dixon before but this book has hooked me on his writing. I highly recommend "The Lifeless."
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