The Rising (2003)
Author: Brian Keene
Genre: Horror (Visceral/Reanimated Stalkers)
Jim Thormond is trapped in a fallout shelter with his former wife (now a zombie) howling outside the door. Due to technological break-throughs, a path to another dimension has been broken and the souls of the dead have come back to repossess any living body they can find. The zombies have destroyed most of the United States by this point, technology has failed, and the few survivors are isolated wherever they can hide. One night, after weeks of isolation, Jim gets a call on from his son, who begs for his father to come save him. This starts Jim's journey across the state to reach his son and avoid being killed by the zombies along the way. He is able to find a few other survivors, including an African-American preacher, a former crack whore, one of the scientists responsible for the rise of the zombies and a few cannibals in the West Virginia mountains. The greatest danger, however, comes not from the zombies but from the human militants who are using the destruction to gain power. They are merciless, turning men into work slaves or bait, and women into objects of rape. Even after witnessing the world's devastation, Jim continues to believe his son is alive. The book comes to a close as Jim escapes the militants with two of the only survivors left, and he enters the house where his son was living. With his final sentences, the author creates an ambiguous ending. The reader is left outside the house and can only guess at what Jim finds. It appears humanity no longer exists and "evil rules the earth." Or does it?
Geographical Setting: Small towns in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Time Period: Near future
Series: There is a sequel named City of the Dead which will be published in June 2005.
Non-literary; fast-paced (chapters alternate between characters and end with cliff hangers that entice you to keep reading); action-packed; real locations used for settings; unresolved ending; dark/bleak tone; stereotypical character types (the good father, minister who relies on faith, ex-prostitute/drug user determined to turn her life around with second chance, etc.); for readers with a strong stomach for grisly violence who do not mind if good characters are killed
Red Flags: Sex/rape; profanity; graphic torture; drug use; graphic violence; cannibalism