A Thousand Miles to Nowhere
David Curfiss (@DCurfiss)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)
“The rapid succession of semi-automatic gunfire filled Matt’s ears as he departed his dreamworld and arrived back in reality.”
I love a hero named ‘Matt’ and here we have a dude named Matt Tanner who eats the infected / reanimated dead for breakfast (not literally) and still has time for some emotional burnout on the side…
This is a bad time for humanity – yes even worse than the Covid-19 nightmare of 2020… A man-made virus (we were looking to become immortal – when will we learn?) has turned most of the population into zombies and only a few groups of ragtag survivors find themselves left as mankind’s last best hopes.
'it's easy to make new pals - they want to get inside your head - and eat it'
Curfiss is a sick doggy (and I mean that as a compliment) bringing enough new nasty scenarios to prevent this being just another Walking Dead knock off. He’s also clued up on military hardware so expect realistic gunfights where you’ll likely learn about the weapons being used as much as the people on each end of them.
In this quality zombie-em-up, it’s not just the shuffling ‘withered’ who are the problem – angry newly ‘Ragers’ are much to be feared – especially if they were people who meant something to you…
Matt isn’t alone in this apocalyptic horror show – his fire team includes Steve and Tara, who bring some welcome banter and cover fire. The conversations in the rare moments of downtime between the violent action scenes are nice affirmations that we're travelling with folk just like us.
The plotting has nods to classics of the genre like Kirkman’s Walking Dead, Brooks’ World War Z and some of the isolation if not vampires from Matheson’s I Am Legend – I also got flavour from my fav zombie book ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ by Mike Carey, I had the honour of being one of the ‘Hungries’ in the film version and even though we knew it was just makeup and ‘acting’, on set it was often an eerie place to be.
'these violent delights have violent ends'
Curfiss writes with a lean, readable and detailed style that evolves the relationship between characters in a way that makes the losses when they come more impactful. There is a building sense of bleakness and a well-captured sense of just how close humanity is to going out… Even a pregnancy dynamic that you’ll cling to as a possible source of reprieve can’t make this a feel-good read!?
If you’re looking for a novel that will get under your skin and leave you with lots to chew over (like a still-warm limb torn from one of the living) - this is definitely a zombie tale to consider...
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - A Thousand Miles to Nowhere is a bloody trip very worth taking!)
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