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Dead of Night (Jonathan Maberry)

If you put all cultural Zombie dogma together and made a box, we would all be mewling puppies inside said box with Maberry using a nail gun to give us breathing holes to avoid suffocation.
In the publication of ‘Dead of Night’, Jonathan Maberry succeeds again in providing a Zombie novel that is not crippled by generations of genre dogma. Others are also participating in the uncrippling of the genre, (D. Wellington, S.G. Browne, M. Brooks) helping drive a resurrection to a dying and over saturated plot crutch.
Quick Summary – A serial killer is put to death. The world breathes easier when they know he is gone, when witnesses have seen him pumped full of poison. They feel safer, with one less killer on death row. The citizens of Stebbins County find themselves feeling less than safe a day later though.
There are four main issues impairing their “feel good” feelings of goodness:
1- The poisons put into this killer were not what were approved by the State of Pennsylvania corrections.
2- His burial on prison grounds was bypassed by a previously unknown next of kin, meaning his body was moved to a local off site facility.
3- Homer Gibbons has gotten up off his slab and is walking around with his flesh decaying and an insatiable desire to stuff his face with anything that bleeds.
4- A massive storm cell is creeping to a halt over the area, winds are high, rain is heavy, and everyone is heading to emergency shelters, where they will be packed in like sardines till the weather crisis has passed.
Stebbins County Pennsylvania is thoroughly screwed.
Maberry, worked a number of atypical angles in his telling of the Stebbins County apocalypse. One example, the first character introduced is a recently bitten human, who\’s consciousness is still active, even as his body is failing to respond to his commands. He can see, hear, smell, feel; He just cant stop the beast he is becoming. Maberry is not the first to write from the point of view of a Zombie, showing that intelligence exists, and how it is retained.
But his choice of perspective and the details/history/science behind it was impeccable. This is no surprise as his novels typically have a load of solid “science” backing them. These are unfortunate folks locked in their own bodies as they do horrible things. Reading the zombie POV sections were particularly painful to this reader’s soul.
Dead of Night also failed to use the word zombie for nearly half the book. Characters such as Officer Dez Fox, her partner JT and others spend much of the book trying to figure out what the hell is happening. The novel itself follows a short time frame, as the infection spreads through a small community who never once think “zombies are real” because who in their right mind would jump to that conclusion in an emergency… This lack of the Zed word actually escalated the plot a fair amount. I found myself talking to the book, telling the characters that they were being stupid and to “smarten up, it is a goddamn zombie”. The characters never listened to me. They eventually figure it out themselves, but only after they follow a reasonable and realistic learning curve fraught with “this is just not possible” moments.
An excellent and gripping novel. Worth any cash you spend on it.
  • Pages: 368
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (2011)
  • ISBN-10: 031255219X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312552190


  1. Thanks for that terrific review. So glad you enjoyed DEAD OF NIGHT.

    DEAD OF NIGHT was written as a standalone, however there’s a chance I’ll pick up the story somewhere down the line. In the meantime, there’s another story coming out that takes place at the same time but with different characters. That story is “Jack and Jill” and it will be in the anthology, 21ST CENTURY DEAD, edited by Christopher Golden. The anthology also includes new zombie stories by an A-list of writers including Orson Scott Card, China Mieville, Simon R. Green, Daniel H. Wilson, Elizabeth Hand, Dan Chaon, Duane Swiercyznski, Caitlin Kittredge, Brian Keene, Amber Benson, S.G. Browne, Thomas E. Sniegoski, and—with his first published prose—Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter. The anthology debuts in July.

    Another short story, “Chokepoint” will be included in an online magazines. Details about that will be posted soon.

  2. [...] novel DEAD OF NIGHT (FNORDinc Review) was published last fall, but recently released in trade paperback format. Author Jonathan Maberry [...]

  3. dude it's cool that you are getting more and more responses from the authors you are reviewing. also cool that if you get to interview them, you don't ask the same old lame questions.


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