Deadline by Mira Grant
This book is the second in a trilogy and since I have not read the first or the last book, I will not be referencing them at all.
Shaun Mason is an interesting fellow; shooting his sister George after she was infected with a live strain of the Kellis-Amberlee virus is not strangest thing that has happened to him. The weirdest thing is probably the fact that he now speaks with George regularly, despite her untimely demise.
Kellis-Amberlee is the name for the virus that causes zombification in this novel. It was originally man-made; the intersection of two potentially life-saving viruses that somehow came together and mutated into something much worse. The CDC is heavily researching and working with the virus. The level of the CDC's involvement is revealed to us when Kelly, a recently "deceased" CDC scientist shows up at the End Of The Times headquarters in Oakland, CA.
Kelly joins Shaun and his team of Newsies and Irwins as they investigate exactly what the CDC has been doing, or covering up, regarding the virus and it's many mutations.
They are quickly run out of Oakland after they discover someone has unleashed a horde of zombies into the unprepared city. They lose the first member of their crew in this attack.
The next adventure our heroes embark on is to Maggie's house, in the middle of nowhere. Maggie runs the Fictionals part of the site, often hosting elaborate horror movie fests at her heavily guarded mansion in the woods. Maggie is also the only child of a very very wealthy pharmaceutical company owner. She has a state of the art security system/house that is amazing. Not even the CDC can compete with some of the stuff Maggie has access to.
Kelly reveals to Shaun and his group a bit of what the CDC is trying to cover up. This leads them on another journey to meet with Dr. Abbey, a former member of the CDC who has left the company to research the virus on her own. She is not a fan of the CDC with good reason.
Dr. Abbey reveals more about the virus's mutations to Shaun and then all hell breaks loose. The group goes to the CDC office in Portland and is sold out by one of the head researchers there. He tries to lead them into a zombie outbreak, which seems a little bit suspicious to everyone. What is the CDC trying to hide?
This book was interesting, to say the least. It is set in a future where everyone is wired and followed around by cameras at all times. They are always chronicling and documenting every single thing that happens to them. And while I understand and applaud this need to share the truth with the world, it feels very forced. I know that we live in a YouTube/Twitter/Facebook world where everyone is chronicling everything they do and hoping for responses from their friends or trying to become overnight internet celebrities. This book takes that idea to an entirely new level.
Shaun is the main narrator and provides his own bias to the story. Georgia also gets to tell her side, slightly, through her connection with Shaun and Shaun's brain.
The supporting characters are interesting, never fleshed out for more than a few paragraphs at a time, but could hold their own if they were allowed.
The ending of the novel provides a decent starting point for the final book in the series. For something that lasted over 500 pages, it kept me interested.
I would read the other two books in the series, if I came across theme one day. I will not go out of my way to find them though.