ASHTON MEMORIAL (2010)
Book 2 of a Zombie Trilogy
Book 2 of a Zombie Trilogy
by Robert R. Best
ASHTON MEMORIAL (2010) is Book 2 of a Zombie Trilogy that began with Robert R. Best's LAKEWOOD MEMORIAL (2009). The author has created a work of zombie-fiction that taps into something George A. Romero proved many years ago - great zombie fiction is at it's best when it lays bare the raw emotional human drama as it unfolds during times of extreme crisis and not just reveling in the gut-strewn gore and excess of decomposing zombie flesh-lust ...but there's plenty of that, too.
The book is populated by a core group of returning characters from LAKEWOOD MEMORIAL. Angela Land and her 14-year old daughter Maylee and 12-year old son Dalton. They're accompanied by Parker Welch, a rough around the edges but good natured fella. Having just escaped the madness of the events that unfolded in LAKEWOOD MEMORIAL they are in search of safety and family. The character are likable and well defined. Angela is mother driven by the safety or her children, uber-maternal instincts. I pity the undead geeks who come between her and her brood. She's constantly at odds with her rebellious daughter who's only just 15 but supremely feisty, independent and pretty handy with a bat, a real skull-crusher. This relationship would be a struggle on a trip to the mall let alone surviving the undead horde of flesh starved zombies. Dalton grates on his sister's nerves the way younger sibling are apt to, it's a great dynamic that gives depth to their emotional bonds. Tag-a-long Parker is a stubborn and determined character, he yearns to reconnect with his estranged daughters Ella and Lori who he hasn't seen in years. Nothing says family reunion like a zombie apocalypse ...or is that nothing feels like a zombie apocalypse like a family reunion?
The search for Parker's daughters leads them to the town of Ashton and then onto the Ashton Memorial Zoo. The zoo is locked-down but there are more than wild animals and zombies to fend off, there. Everyday folk pushed to their limits are losing their shit including the crazed stepfather of Parker's twins. The zoo setting is a stroke of genius, why has this not been thought of before? Wild animals, crazed people and a flesh-eating zombies - how can you go wrong? Man vs. animal vs. zombie - that's a triple win folks and it makes for some damn great reading.
Something I love about ASHTON MEMORIAL is that you need not have read LAKEWOOD MEMORIAL to appreciate it. I didn't feel lost other than during the first few pages as I was getting-up to speed with the characters. Why do I tell you this? Well, being the philistine that I am I haven't read the 1st part of the trilogy but I'm here to tell you it did not hinder my enjoyment in any way. Regardless, I recommend checking it out as it can only serve to further your enjoyment. I fully intend to go back and check it out when I can.
The book is loaded with tons o' of gory zombie action and great descriptions of the rotting undead coming to their splattery ends via knife, gun, bat and brutal blunt force trauma. Not only the zombies take casualties however, there is loss of human life and it cuts deep. We are with these character 100% and it's nail-biting stuff when they're lives are endangered (i.e. every other page!). Robert R. Best really delivers the emotional struggle of the human characters and still is able to pack the page with fast paced breathless action. ASHTON MEMORIAL is a truly compelling read. A high recommend from me. I cannot wait to see where Best takes us with the final chapter of the Memorial Trilogy.
**** (4 out of 5 stars)
Also check out
Book 1 of a Zombie Trilogy