If there’s one man who knows his zombies, it’s fellow horror hack, David Moody. His novel, AUTUMN, was one of the first of a new wave of zombie horror fiction hailing from the early zeroes that seems more popular now than ever. Along with Brian Keene, who released his seminal zombie novel THE RISING around the same time, Moody is credited as being one of the godfathers of the sub-genre. And with latest book, THE COST OF LIVING – released just today – Moody’s gone back to his roots.
TCoL is a survival horror fan’s dream. We meet Stuart, a 2.4 everyman faced with the should-I-stay-or-should-I go quandary of the zombie apocalypse. As every other family in his middle-class, suburban housing estate (or ‘development’, as wife Gabby likes to call it) ups sticks and leaves, Stuart’s busy stockpiling food and weapons in his garage. He’s locked the doors and windows. Nobody’s getting in or out without his say-so.
As with much zombie horror fiction, the question ‘What would you do?’ is the main thrust of this story. We watch Stuart slowly unravel, determined to do just about anything in order to keep his family safe. In many ways, I was reminded of Richard Matheson’s classic I AM LEGEND or, indeed, George A Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, the same paranoia and claustrophobia in those works present here, too. But nobody writes the everyman like Moody: his characters remain believable and grounded and defiantly natural regardless of how supernatural the story becomes. As a reader, you’ll be hard pushed not to relate to Stuart or Gabby or even oldest son, Nathan - not to see yourself in their shoes; not to feel their terror with them; not to panic and cower as things go from bad to real bad. And it’s that strength that makes Moody’s genre fiction among the strongest out there.
THE COST of LIVING is character-driven zombie horror at its very best. No fan of the genre should be without it.