A deadly infection spreads across Europe. The Undead series: a terrifying account of one man desperately struggling to survive this harrowing event day by day. Part one - days one to three.
Howie is at home on a rare Friday night off work when an infection which has rapidly spread across Europe hits his hometown on the South Coast of England. Luck sees him through the first night when many others are taken down and infected, only to rise again as the undead. In surviving, Howie quickly learns and evolves, developing a new set of skills that will save him from disaster.
With a former work colleague, Dave, at his side, he braves the urban squalor of a ruined Portsmouth and begins to understand his desire to remain good in a world rapidly descending into chaos, where only the strongest survive.
©2012 R. R. Haywood (P)2015 Audible, Ltd
Yes, overall I think this was a fair book and not a waste of time. I liked both of the two main characters as they make for a good blend - and I liked them as individuals too. I didn't like the zombies if I'm honest though and I'll explain why below.
I don't think the author thought out the zombies that well. I'm not a huge fan of people that write a book were they aren't the inventor of a genre or sub-genre but write it as if they are. IE if you aren't the first person to write about zombies - and given they are a well know pop-culture brand - it doesn't play well for me when no-one in the book knows what a zombie is. More so when you use the word zombie. I counted the use ten times that I noticed.
Also, what he does use is, "the un-dead", and pretty much only that to describe zombies. Which can be a little repetitive
The zombies in this book start off being killed by the main character with head blows, but later when the secondary lead comes into the story he is killing them by cutting their throats. I didn't understand this at all. Firstly it isn't that easy to cut a throat - certainly more so than in the book. Secondly, some people die with limbs ripped off, arteries torn out or other injuries that result in them bleeding out, and they rise to be un-dead. So if this is the case I couldn't get on board with them suddenly being able to die from having their throats slashed and bleeding out as a zombie. How can a bloodless zombie bleed out?
Also, some scenes don't work if you actually think about them for five seconds. In one scene a zombie manages to cover two hundred meters faster than the MC can get into his car. The world record for that is 19 seconds. And considering the MC was outrunning zombies with a fair amount of ease even at night I found this ill thought out. And it wasn't the only scene that had this type of issue.
Far too much shouting in the book. In reality the world would be like living surrounded by enemies that all want to kill you. Are you ever going to shout in that type of world? Not and live that long, and so I never like seeing characters do it, as I'm not sure many would past the first few hours or so.
I found quite a few scenes good. The strip club was quite funny at the beginning of it. The gun battle in Portsmout was quite good too.
Sure, I love a good zombie blood bath. But as films often tend to be worse than books I'm sure I'd hate it afterwards.
Not the best author in this genre, but if it is his first book - I think it is - then it is certainly an acceptable start, and I found the book good enough that I'll read the second one to see if some of the issues in this one have been addressed.
I wanted an audiobook to listen too for a 9hr drive from Austria to the UK after a weeks Snowbaoarding. I did already have RR Haywood's 'Undead' on Kindle, but unfortunately just don't get time to read it due to busy work schedule. So as soon as I heard 'The Undead' was available as an audiobook i knew I had to download it. It made the 9hr drive fly bye!
As soon as I got home I knew i had to download Part 2!
Great intro & character building. I just want to listen to more.
Great voice & very subtle voice changes for the characters. Perfect
Not so much 'moved me', but can i relate to the characters & their decisions as if I was in their situation.
Cant wait for the next available Audiobook!!
I loved the books and I love the audio. Mr Howie is a great lead character and Dan Morgan brings him to life well, Howie is going through a massive ordeal which means he questions his own morales as well as human nature and this is narrated very well.
In terms of the series, if you are a closed minded zombie purist who doesn't allow an author to express their own creativity and ideas and wants every zombie novel to be the same (i.e zombie apocalypse with zombies that are slow, can only be killed by head injury and are one dimensional, where survivors manage to fight them off to a relatively safe haven only to to turn on each other) this series isn't for you.
If you are opened minded and welcoming to an alternative take on the zombie genre and like characters that spring off the pages, you'll love these books
Can't wait to get listening to part 2 :-)
A man with a child in his ears - @shutterspin.
I was very hopeful about this series, zombies in the UK! That and so many of the reviews being so positive it's clear that plenty of people have enjoyed it greatly. This is a semi-humorous approach to the zombie apocalypse and there were a couple of genuinely funny moments. The author is in touch with his human side but to me it grated slightly as the book slipped between horror and humour never quite feeling as if it found its true course.
The narration is genuinely good, lively and bright but it never quite brought the story up to the best that Audible has to offer. I would also say that the author is at a disadvantage in having me read his books in that I live near Portsmouth . . . I don't mind that he is so down on the place at all, it's poetic license I guess. However, the island nature of the city and the placement of the Victorian forts he is so keen to mention to the North of it mean there's no way anyone but an idiot would be heading into Portsmouth. For most this won't matter of course, it just might help explain why I found it tougher going.
This is still entertaining enough, the scenes in the club were particularly well done. Markus was very well voiced and it was one of several highlights scattered throughout the book. I may well give the series a further go and I wouldn't want to try and turn too many people off a UK zombie series but it never quite hit the heights for me.
Good start to what I hope will continue to be a fast paced series. Some impressive bits of action and a UK spi on some typical zombie apocalypse dilemmas make this a must read/listen.
Narrator does an amazing job, a lot of credit to him in bringing life to the story.
I listen to the hole of this story and it was not painful to do so. This is why I have given it at least a 3 stars. This book doesn't go anywhere and is very simple. It would he mistaken for a children book if not for the swearing. Day one, day two and day three all seem the same. You could at any point stop the book skip a chapter and still know what was going on and it wouldn't miss anything key to the plot.
This was in no small way glaringly by the sad performance by the narrator. A good narrator can make a average book so much more. His performance ws so dull and life less.
The way the book end was very funny! It end by playing the first chapter of the next book. There is not different from the last chapter to the first. No cliff hanger or natural end! I think I know why. The writer R.R. haywood wrote these (i think 5) books in one sitting as one and chop them into peace without any really motive or artistic reason other then to make more money.
Needless to say I will not be buying into anymore of them.
I am a fan of Zombie Book and end of the world stories. Just for the record.
I would definitely recommend this. It's brilliant entertainment and Dan Morgan's narration is superb. For quite a long time we are in Howie's head, although there are some great interactions, like with the hapless downstairs neighbour and his huffy girlfriend, but as the story develops and more characters come into play and Dan Morgan gets to expand his repertoire of voices, it just gets better and better. Loved it!
The scene in the nightclub with Marcus had me howling with laughter! We've all met a Marcus. Spot on. Dave is a brilliant character too.
The book is strangely moving when I wasn't expecting it to be. It's zombies! But there are so many astute observations that go way deeper than just zombies and you really get on side with Howie - all too human amongst the undead. There's loads of humour, but also pathos and some incredibly tense, creepy moments.
Can't wait to listen to the next part.
Book and audiobook hoarder. nvg.
I think what drew me into the series at first was, 1) the protagonist being an Everyman and a normal guy, and 2) the fact that it is set in England - something I don't see a lot in zombie audiobooks quite often. When the book starts, we're introduced to our main protagonist, Howie, who quickly gets thrown into a chaotic world and is forced to come to terms with it.
One of my favourite bits was watching Howie trying to cope with and accept what is happening around him. I felt that this was important as it made him human and very likeable as a character. It gets better though once Howie meets his co-worker, Dave, who then joins him in his quest to find his sister in London. Howie and Dave's interactions may seem infrequent - and that's mostly due to Dave's impassive demeanour - but their interactions are the ones I look forward to whenever they do happen. Howie and Dave make a good team and I was hopeful that their bond will grow throughout the series.
This is the first one I've read/listened from this author.
This is the only series I've listened to with this narrator. He performs surprisingly well, giving distinct voices for each character - particularly for Howie and Dave - and I do love his attempt of an Indian accent for one of the characters.
Although this was an overall enjoyable first installment, it does have its flaws. I find some of the action scenes a bit too long and repetitive. At the same time, some of the decisions that the protagonist, Howie, makes seem a little illogical and unnecessary - like the scene where he hacks down a horde of zombies using a variety of different tools, including a chainsaw - seriously, Howie uses an axe first, I think, stops for a while to duck back into a hardware store to take out another weapon, goes back outside and kills some zombies, pauses to go back inside to pick a different weapon, and so on, and this felt completely unnecessary! Howie kept emphasizing on how important it was that he gets to London to rescue his sister, making his mission an urgent one. But if Howie keeps stopping every now and then just to let Dave and himself kill some zombies for fun, then where's the urgency in that?
I know this isn't supposed to be a zombie story that makes all the sense in the world but I found myself face-palming and groaning every time Howie makes these illogical decisions or when the action scenes get too long - Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy well-written, fast-paced action scenes as I find myself pausing and straining to listen to them - but once it gets long, repetitive and unrealistic at times, they begin to ruin my listening experience.
Apart from these flaws, I think this is a pretty decent listen.
The story and reading voice all fitted perfectly. If you liked "Rivers of London" then this is of a similar vein. Likable characters. Fast paced and believable. Will be collecting the series :)
The humour is kept going throughout
"HOWIE AND DAVE"
I have read a lot of zombie books, but the spread of this plague was the fastest ever. In the morning it was in Eastern Europe, by noon it was in Europe and by that evening it had crossed the channel into England. Howard is 27 and a night manager at a chain grocery store. He does not work out, is not a genius and has no super powers. He is AN AVERAGE ENGLISH BLOKE. He is a very likeable character that most people can relate to. If you have read more than one Zombie book, there will not be much new in this story. In my opinion this is not as gross or gory or dark as many of the others. The book has a slight YA feel to it. Yes, there is some head chopping and some gory stuff happens, but the way it is written it is not going to give you nightmares. For me, Howie and Dave together gave this Zombie book a lot of charm. At first it was only Howie and Howie is very likeable, but the story did start to drag until he got together with Dave. The middle also has a lot of just running around and killing Zombies, which bored me, hence the four stars, not five. The more I listened the more I liked the characters and the more I liked this sort of story. There really is not a plot. It is the usual, plague hits, and he needs to find his family, who is miles away. This is about his travels to find his family.
I have read some English books, that had so much slang it turned me off. This has just enough to make it interesting to the average American. For instance, doesn't wing mirrors sound better then side mirrors. I also did not realize that the English still called their women, birds. I thought that was a 1960's thing. I would normally not continue a series that did not get five stars from me, but this was going so well toward the end, that I have decided I will continue it.
Is a precious cinnamon roll. That is all.
Ok no also this is just a damn good book with a damn good take on zombies. There are some minor technicalities that leave me with questions but nothing worth knocking a star off for. Some people found the pre-Dave section tedious but I feel that's up to taste. Personally, I really enjoy reading about the initial outbreak from the view of a solitary person. The normality, the mild concern, the dawning realization and panic, and the first 48 hours of frantic fumbling to escape and understand in the chaos. It's realistic. It's how a real person would respond and not an instant Rambo survivalist. It's growth. Bravo!
"Fresh brains for zombie fans!"
Last year Audible readers were treated to Spanish zombies in Manel Loureiro's "Apocalypse Z." This year, a zombie plague hits the shores of Dear Old Blighty in R. R. Haywood's "The Undead."
Howie is a night manager in a supermarket in southern England, and he has to attend a daytime meeting. Afterward, he goes home, gets some takeout, and turns on the TV to enjoy a rare night off--only to find that zombies have suddenly taken over Europe.
What comes next will be familiar to anyone who's seen much of the genre: hazardous travel, harrowing escapes, and humans more dangerous, or at least more irritating, than any zombie. But then Howie goes back to where he used to work and finds Dave, his former colleague.
From there on the series takes a fresh turn as Dave and Howie begin a search for Howie's sister, Sarah, stuck in her flat somewhere in London. As it is with all the best zombie novels, Haywood tells us more about friendship and human nature than the relentless advance of the undead. A stressful situation can bring out the best in some people, and Howie, fortunately, is one of the lucky ones. The spin on the plague itself is pretty interesting, too.
While I wouldn't call this a comedy, it's quite light-hearted in places, with plenty of British-style sarcasm. Narrator Dan Morgan does a great job bringing it all to life.
I've really been enjoying this series and I certainly hope there are more on the way soon. Recommended for anyone looking for a new take on a favorite genre!
"HANG IN THERE with this story"
Narration is fantastic!
The story took too long to get going and I almost gave up. I tired of the early experience quickly but once Dave comes in ( over half way), the second personality really moved the story along WONDERFULLY! The relationship between the main character and Dave is just fantastic. I immediately downloaded the second book! Hang in there because it gets GOOD!
"Great Story, On the Gory Side"
I downloaded this after listening to a free short story from Audible.com. If you like zombie fare, this is great, though somewhat gorier than many others I've read. Haywood goes on and on when he's describing gory things, and while it's a little excessive (and really, really gross) the overall story makes it tolerable.
Dan Morgan's narration is fantastic.
I'm well into book 2.
"OMG! This is the Sh*%! Awesomeness"
1-10, 10 being bloody fantastic its a 9.5
Mr. Howie & Dave of course, their an odd combo but they smash really well together, dont really want to spoil it you just have to get it
I've never listened to any of Dan Morgan's performances but he makes it, he puts so much character into them, he brings them to life, he' keeps a stead pace, I can see them, laugh with them experience the whole transformations with them, makes me feel like there cheerleader
You gotta listen to this book!, I got hooked on the free preview Audible was handing out, zombies isn't really my thing but just wow, I wont ever look back at this one and say why, why did i waste my time on this
"Nothing original here"
As a few other reviewers stated, this book starts taking off when we get to the character Dave. Its worth holding on until that happens. Though I would rate the first half of this book very lowly. The author relies on action and killing in great detail instead of character development too often.
Things that bugged me: The pandemic sweeps across Europe in a matter of hours. I don't buy that you go home, throw on the news, see that the outbreak is happening in Poland/Russia, then a few hours later his London suburb home town is one of the last areas that seemingly fall. As I said, also the reliance on action instead of character development is a real downer. Also, the characters move through conflicts too quickly. A lot of violence, some interesting setups, and poof, on to the next thing.
What I liked: Early on, Howie (the main character), runs from a hoard into a strip club. The tension that arises and the interaction between Howie and someone he meets is pretty darn good. Once Dave is introduced, the interaction between the two characters gives a depth that warrants a slightly better take on this book.
So, I thought this was an ok zombie genre story. If you want something better, I would recommend the Mountain Man series. You can get an omnibus edition. Seeing as how it would cost around $100 to get to the latest installment, I'm not sure its worth it.
"Repetition does not a plot make"
I've been reading back-to-back zombie-type books. The last 3 of them were, to put it bluntly, not worth the paper they were written on - and they were audiobooks, so....
This one is... better... kinda... but it's fundamentally boring. Some guy who's a bit of a know-it-all wanker survives and we get to see every tiny single thing he does - as if we should care. For example: he sees zombies outside his window (doesn't know they are zombies yet) and throws a bottle at them, then throws a book, then throws a candle, then throws a vase, then throws a book, then throws a box, then throws a [insert item here], and so on until he says "uh oh, I don't have anything else to throw at them except this bottle of whiskey". So he lights it on fire and throws it too. Yes... this is a real scene.
I don't think the story is bad, there is just way too much time spent describing each scene. He doesn't hit a zombie once in the head, he hits it, then again then again then again then again then again then again then again... see... how annoying is that repetition?
Oh, and, if you're in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and fleeing zombies, and hiding out in a building so the zombies don't kill you and you see a naked zombie chained to a pole - are you going to go over to it to TOUCH its fake breast? Because... I guess... you're 12 and male and have some fetish for breasts that overrules any common sense. Common sense being: a) it's a zombie, b) it's a fake breast and why do you care because its attached to a zombie so what are you going to do about it if you discover a fake breast turns you on and c) there are other zombies, and possibly dangerous non-zombies, in the area but you'd rather touch a breast than protect your life...
The narration is fine. There is some gore, and it's intentionally drawn out (see above) by the character repeating every action until every zombie is essentially beaten pulpy. It was not suspenseful, different or interesting enough for me to read any more in the series.
"Addictive, with a nice twist."
I laugh every time he is called Mr. Howie.
A very refreshing take on the zombie story. I loved the twist in England and the performer was excellent. Without giving spoilers, this is not the average zombie story. The author uses humor and great self deprecating story telling.
"A fresh perspective on the zombie genre"
My library is full of zombie genre novels and I'm always on the lookout for new novels. This one was a great story from a different prospective. There was great balance between character development and zombie action.
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