Virus the Unknown by Larry Finhouse 3/5
Brody had always wanted to live like the rich kids did, with their hot meals and shiny cell phones. Unfortunately, life had other plans for him and his sister Pippa. Struggling to pick up the pieces after their father’s mysterious death and coping with their mother’s drug use and her abominable new boyfriend, the children felt even more removed from hope. In this thrilling debut novella, Brody and Pippa are about to learn to rely on a completely different set of survival mechanisms — a set that would keep them alive while horror, a virus that slowly poisons the human brain, tears apart their small town. Amid the outbreak, tales of fright breed and people begin using the word zombie — something Brody, even though young, thinks is foolish.
The author plays on the fact that the readers are aware that this is a zombie book. On many occasions he builds the scene for us to believe that the zombie virus will present itself to the kids, but no. In fact, we don’t know/hear much about any infection until much later in the book. The main chunk of story is backstory. Brody and Pippa’s sibling relationship is the driving force.
The narrative doesn’t hold back in brutality and abuse, and it’s shown to us through the eyes of a child and his sister which makes it that much more awful to witness.
I’m not a fan of free books that leave you on a massive cliffhanger to encourage you to then buy the 2nd. This book did just that. At least conclude the narrative to an extent, and trust that your writing ability will spur me on to book 2, not a lack of conclusion.