My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In love and horror… Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes has done it again in “Domino Falls”- but it is the characters who stick with you long after you finish.
A while back I could not finish my eBook download Domino Falls because of a technical glitch but I found it at the library and it has robbed me of sleep. Let me give you the backdrop of what began in Devil’s Wake.
Devil’s Wake…The Beginning
Kendra and her family were at a doctor’s office, about to get a flu shot I believe, and a crazed person storms out and bites someone. Apparently, this is not an isolated event- reports have been coming out of different parts of the California state and many other places as well. These zombies or aptly called Freaks have red eyes, red bulging veins and one bite from them and you turn. But an interesting transition occurs before you turn: You get sleepy. When you wake up-you are no longer you.
The cause could be because of a diet drug Yahanna and flu shot combination.
The protagonist is 16 year-old Kendra Brookings meets a group of other teens after her own family perish and there she finds a new family. Her goal? Get to Devil’s Wake to reconnect with her Great Aunt.
In Domino Falls, Kendra, her boyfriend Terry Whittaker and the rest of the crew finds sanctuary in Domino Falls, a.k.a Threadville, home of Josie Wales the Threadville Horror Screenwriter whose had a cult following before Freak Day. The story moves along similar to The Walking Dead as far as focusing on the human interaction and psychology: You have Ursalina who is military trained and not interested in guys…just chicks. Piranha who loves Sonia but he has problems she can not get next to, The Twins Dean and Darius- Indian blooded and sharp shooters who ride motorcycles. Then you have kind hearted Terry who is in love with Kendra and wants to take it a step further in their romance…
But how can one do that when you can’t trust the people at the ranch? Kendra has an inkling that the Freaks are harbored on the Threadville ranch and her dreams get more vivid and on point. Getting through the night is easier when everyone has everyone’s back but if you cannot trust where you are, you have to leave and hope a Freak won’t bite you.
Devil’s Wake was refreshing- a cast of diversity helped as well so the images of each person and their struggles was something I could identify with(minus the Freak bites). However, the sequel, Domino Falls is a perfect pitch and kept me awake so late I woke up with Threadie red eyes in the morning- that’s a good sign if a writer can do that to me! The true nugget that makes this a five star review is the reality of it all. Not only is Due and Barnes’ writing eloquent and precise- the characters make you love them and that is so unfair because as a reader, I know for a fact everyone will not make it out alive. You fall in love with them and in classic zombie fashion, you have to give them up.
Even though the authors were inspired by other zombie films, try not to look at the Devil’s Wake series as “just another walking dead” book. The premise is cliche, but the middle parts of the plot are unique and fresh and is something that could actually happen in the future.