Written by Joseph Souza
Reviewed by Michael Juvinall
“Dar backed up a few steps as the shell of her old friend approached, snarling and hissing, her skin dark and gray. She was completely naked except for the bloodstained panties around her waist. Her breasts had been gnawed off and there was a gaping hole in her stomach. Rotting twines of intestine looped through the wound and fell down by her ankles. Dar, pressing back the tears, swiftly sliced her head off at the ear and watched her crumple to the ground. She went over and kneeled down next to Gina’s body, now face down on the dirt, and lightly touched the festering hand. A powerful emotion came over her, and she wept briefly before managing to compose herself. She gazed up and saw the two gatekeepers staring at her in stunned silence. Looking at Gina, she realized that this girl had been proof of her troubled past. She stared down one last time before indicating to the gatekeepers that she was done for the day. They nodded obediently as the Cleaners rushed in to sanitize the Pit and properly dispose of the zombie corpses”.-Excerpt
Author Joseph Souza’s first novel in his Living Dead trilogy, The Reawakening was a big hit. I thought it was an absolutely brilliant story and it turned the stale zombie sub-genre on its head, featuring traditional Romeroesque zombies, but with a great twist. Now, comes his second book in the trilogy, Darpocalypse, and this one will blow you away.
In Darpocalypse, we continue with the exploits of Dar, the teenage girl who underwent an amazing mental and physical transformation during the beginning stages of the zombie apocalypse in book 1. Dar has turned into a mature, young woman with one single-minded purpose, to destroy as many zombie fuckers as she can.
After the initial zombie outbreak occurred in Maine, the US government tried containing the virus, but was not effective. It was decided the only choice was to drop a nuclear bomb on the Northeast sector of the US to contain the outbreak. The nuclear radiation spread down the Eastern seaboard then throughout the world temporarily turning the virus dormant. Over the next several months, the lingering radiation was causing the dormant virus to mutate exponentially.
After mutating and combining with human DNA, the second wave of the pandemic hit hard, causing the dead to return to life and seek the flesh of the living. This new virus quickly spread across the world, infecting the entire population. But unlike the initial outbreak in Maine, this new strain had no effect on animals, only humans.
After surviving the initial viral outbreak in Maine, Dar Swiftley had returned to her hometown of Boston. While the virus was in its dormant stage, Dar persuaded city officials to erect a massive fence around Boston Commons because she knew what would be coming. When the second wave hit, she and a small community were prepared to stay alive inside the encampment. There were other camps across the country besides the one in Boston that had managed to defend themselves against the zombie hordes. The two largest camps are in Washington state and Washington D.C.
Dar now rules the Boston camp with an iron fist. She rules through fear and intimidation for no one would have the balls to challenge her. She keeps everyone alive, but cross her or say anything negative against her and you’ll end up in “The pit”, where most don’t come back alive. Dar has her secret weapon, Annabelle, who is very special. Annabelle is one of the select few who are known as “Ghosts”, people who are immune to the zombie virus and are able to walk among the living dead and not be noticed or attacked. Dar uses Annabelle to go among the zombie hordes and fetch vital supplies for the camp.
There are a few other “Ghosts” around the country, the Washington D.C. encampment had their own ghost but he committed suicide. Now President Felicia Roberts has heard of another ghost living in Boston and orders the best soldier in the military, Colonel Gritz on a near impossible mission to travel to Boston and persuade their “Ghost” to come back to D.C. to help save the last remnants of the government.
But Dar, Annabelle, Colonel Gritz, and the President of the United States have more to fear than just the ever increasing undead population. There is a madman bent on taking down what’s left of the government so he can rise up as the new ruler of the world and he has a secret of his own.
It all comes to a head as the remaining camps must survive not only from the millions of zombies that threaten their gates, but from a madman bent on world domination. Can Dar, Colonel Gritz, and even the President save the nation from the evil that threatens to end humanity as we know it?
Author Joseph Souza’s Darpocalypse is about as intense of a novel as I’ve read in recent memory. He has such a flair for characterization and description that really draws you into his story. The pace is nearly non-stop as you are sucked into his bleak vision of a zombie infested world gone wrong.
In book 2, Souza’s vision has expanded from a rural farm in Maine in The Reawakening to a zombie ravaged nation with humanity on the brink of extinction. His characters are so well fleshed out that you can’t help but root for the heroes and despise the villains. Gorehounds can also rejoice because you are not forgotten in this novel, the level of zombie mayhem is so high that you will surely squirm from all the bloody action.
There are some revelations here that will yet again set Darpocalypse apart from the rest of the zombie sub-genre and leave fans clamoring for the last chapter in his trilogy. Darpocalypse is on the short list for the best that zombie fiction has to offer over the last few years that this reviewer has read, with The Reawakening: Book 1, being one of them.
Fans of zombie fiction or horror In general, do yourself a favor, pick up author Souza’s The Reawakening: Book 1 and then don’t miss Darpocalypse: Book 2 in The Living Dead Trilogy, you won’t be disappointed, Highly recommended.
5 out of 5 Pentagrams!
About the author:
Joseph Souza is the author of many award-winning short stories and essays, he has written crime fiction before movie into horror. The Reawakening is his debut horror novel and the first in The Reawakening trilogy. He lives near Portland, Maine with his wife and two children and enjoys running, cooking and playing golf when not writing. Joseph can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit his website at www.josephsouza.com.