The Lifeless: A Zombie Novel Paperback – Aug 1 2009
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About the Author
Lorne Dixon grew up on a diet of yellow-spined paperbacks, black-and-white monster movies, and the thunder-lizard back-beat of rock-n-roll. His novels include Blue Eel, Eternal Unrest, Snarl, and The Lifeless. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.