Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: The Savage Dead

The Savage Dead by Joe McKinney

Publication Date: 09/03/2013
Publisher: Kensingston Publishing Corp.
Imprint: Pinnacle Fiction
Genre: Horror/Fantasy/Zombie
Pages: 368
ISBN-10: 0786029307
ISBN-13: 978-0786029303

(Received for an honest review from Pinnacle Fiction)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Joe McKinney on the WEB: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from The Savage Dead, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


It starts in a laboratory. A man-made strain of flesh-eating virus. Created by a power-hungry cartel. Capable of turning victims into brain-dead carnivores. Smuggled aboard a cruise ship that's about to set sail...One by one, the passengers are exposed. A U.S. senator. A young couple. An undercover agent. A beautiful assassin. Some will be infected. Others will survive. But no one will be spared if the outbreak isn't contained - and the dead outnumber the living...Enter Delta Force operative Juan Perez. He's fought the deadliest killers in the darkest hellholes on earth. But he's never seen anything like this - an apocalyptic cargo of pure zombie mayhem heading for the coast. If Perez and his SEAL team can't stop it, America, and quickly the entire population of the world, are finished. The plague years will begin...


Officer Joe McKinney once again thrills readers of the horror and fantasy genre with his latest zombie offering, The Savage Dead. McKinney is an award winning author who takes the zombie apocalypse to another level with each book he writes. Coming off the hugely successful Dead City series, McKinney takes readers back to the beginning with a fresh take on how zombies came into existence. Zombie lovers, police procedural readers, and readers who love a book with a military slant will love this one!

I know there must be some zombie fans out there. With the advent of television programs like, The Walking Dead, zombies have become a popular horror character and everyone is cashing in on the dividends. As many of you know, I am a paranormal fan in just about any capacity, but zombies are not my favorite paranormal characters. But once in awhile an author comes along that makes a zombie worth reading about. 

Authors like Rhiannon Frater and Joe McKinney put a new face on the zombie population. McKinney who is a police officer not only adds the human element to the zombie conflict but he is also able to draw in readers who enjoy a good action thriller mixed with a police procedural. These zombies are in for a rude awakening! I liked the fact that McKinney puts a new spin on how these characters were essentially created in The Savage Dead. They don't just appear out of no where. This is a very well planned process by a major drug cartel. I liked that angle and thought it had some validity in the fact that scientist are creating some pretty scary things, a flesh-eating virus? Why not...

A cruise ship is an interesting form of deployment for a flesh eating virus. You have a mix of different people from all walks of life. One of the cool parts for me, as reader, was that not everyone is affected by the virus. There are still some people who remain intact to fight these abominations. I liked the fact that McKinney gives readers that glimpse of hope they need to keep them reading. There has to be that resistance factor and McKinney does a fantastic job with that. 

Enter Delta Force operative, Juan Perez. This protagonist is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to zombies. He has been to hell and back as a military operative and this is just a new page in his book. I liked the way McKinney writes Perez as tough as nails but still willing to learn about his adversary and adapt to the zombies. He is extremely likable and readers need the tough guy persona to look to. But McKinney doesn't stop there. He uses female characters in just the same heart-pounding manner. There are tough women in this book and McKinney doesn't shy away from them. I loved that part.

This book has a definite military slant. You have the destructive drug cartel who obviously will stop at nothing to get what they want. You have a potentially global epidemic on your hands and you have a SEAL team trying to spot it. McKinney excels at writing the procedural details of both police and military operations. I love a good military thriller, and adding in zombies is probably a very successful combination for a lot of readers.

As I have said... I'm not a zombie fan. I don't like flesh eaters and yes, that means that some scenes are pretty gruesome. But.. I do like Joe McKinney. I'll have to say that this is one of the better written zombie books I've ever read. The scenario is plausible. The characters are riveting and McKinney actually sold me on the story line. I still don't like zombies, but the kick-ass heroes in heroines in this book made for an excellent read. If you haven't tried a zombie novel, this is one to read. Then go grab McKinney's Dead City series... Very interesting!

The Savage Dead is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag! (WOW... did I just give a zombie book a 5? Yes... Yes I did!)

About the Author:

Joe McKinney has been a patrol officer for the San Antonio Police Department, a homicide detective, a disaster mitigation specialist, a patrol commander, and a successful novelist. His books include the four part Dead World series, Quarantined, Inheritance, Lost Girl of the Lake, Crooked House and Dodging Bullets. His short fiction has been collected in The Red Empire and Other Stories and Dating in Dead World and Other Stories. In 2011, McKinney received the Horror Writers Association's Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel. For more information go to

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