Demise of the Living

  • by Iain McKinnon
  • Narrated by Karl Miller
  • 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The world is infected. The dead are reanimating and attacking the living. In a city being overrun with ravenous corpses people find safety where they can. A disparate group of strangers drawn together by chance seek sanctuary from the carnage outside in an empty office block.
Besieged by an army of walking dead and with little hope of rescue the group must learn to work together if they are going to survive. But for how long can the barricades hold back the ever increasing hordes of undead? How long before the food runs out? How long before those who were bitten succumb to the infection? And how long before they realise that the dead outside are the least of their fears?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Too many weak areas I'm afraid.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

My first issue with this book was that the author decided to reshape the world we know. By this I mean that he wrote as if he was the first person to use zombies in a book. This lead to me being confused for the first couple of hours as to why no-one was realising they were facing zombies.

I have no idea why the author did this, as zombies have been in comics, books and movies for decades. So I found it confusing in the beginning because it made the characters look like idiots and to my mind is somewhat disrespectful to the people that DID create this sub-genre of horror.

My main issues though were that the characters were all pretty two-dimensional and loathsome. I honestly didn’t care for any of them, and was rooting for the zombies to kill them all. Sadly that didn’t happen and the one I really hated was one of those still standing at the end as well.

The writer doesn’t manage to convey any sense of tension or terror. The people in this book are trapped in an office building surrounded by thousands of zombies and yet they seemed to be as bothered as I would be to be told it was raining outside. When he describes the zombies they don’t sound that frightening at all and he normally resorts to white eyes, pale (or grey) and blotchy skin as his default description. Rarely do any have massive injuries or are half-eaten, as would be the case.

To be honest the zombies are not a major part of the book. It is more about how a group of people that don’t know each other well deal with each other while trapped in a confined space with dwindling resources. And the final part of the book is not bad, though I did find it a little predictable the twist ending and who was responsible for it. Still, I’ve seen far worse endings.

It’s not the worst zombie book I’ve read, but it is far from the best as well. There is some enjoyment to be had, though you will find most of the characters and their conversations irritating, and often bordering on stupid. Based on the end I doubt there will be a sequel – or at least I hope not. Passes the time but not much more.


What will your next listen be?

The King of Clayfield.


Which scene did you most enjoy?

Any where characters got killed. Loved those because I hated them as much as the zombies.


You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes, the last few chapters were okay, and the writing was passable.


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- M. Paddon

Interesting Idea Badly Executed

It is difficult to write a review of this book without revealing the plot, but I'll try. Like the Walking Dead the zombies in this book are reduced to background noise and don't really seem to pose much of a problem except to the terminally stupid - and we have those in plenty. Why would anyone decide to make their last stand a place with big windows on the ground floor. A place that cannot be defended, has no stock of food, water, fuel or weapons. At no point in this book does anyone suggest bugging out for somewhere that has any of the above. They do deserve to die and death does come a calling. However, not from the zombies.

It is this second aspect of the book that I find interesting and give Iain McKinnon some kudos for trying a new twist on a rather hackneyed genre. If only he'd had the courage of his convictions and built on the tensions that he introduced and then abandoned - race, gender - even office politics, but no. Having populated the book with a cast of two dimensional characters - they are disappeared with barely a ripple of concern. It is maddening to listen to. It is also somewhat racist with both black characters having no redeeming qualities and being either in menial roles or cast as psychotic. Personally I have yet to meet any Polish people who have travelled abroad for work who speak no English.

There is a definite rushed feeling to the end of the book. Having listened for over 9 hours the denoument seems to come out of nowhere in the last 30 minutes. It's as if even Mr McKinnon had got bored of his book and decided to wrap it up and go out for lunch. This is a shame as the overall idea could have been played out better.

The narration of the book is strangely lifeless with very little variation in tone even when fairly exciting things are happening.

I wouldn't say don't buy this book, but, don't be surprised if at the end you think you could do better yourself.
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- Tom

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-12-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios