Review: This Dark Earth by John Hornor Jacobs

July 12, 2012 Gallery Books, Horror, Review 2

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (July 3, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1451666667
  • Source: Publisher

Dr. Lucy Ingersol first notices something is amiss when people walk into her hospital with strange symptoms, including seizures and Tourette-like verbal outbursts. The number of victims with these symptoms dramatically increases within a matter of minutes. Lucy, worried about her son and husband at home opts to leave the hospital after it is overrun with the infected.

As this plague continues to spread, Lucy notices another symptom: the recently dead rise, now crazed flesh-eating monsters. To make matters worse, the government responds by dropping bombs that send out waves of electromagnetic pulses that wipe out all electronics, including vehicles and spreading radiation.  On her attempts to reach her home, she is picked up by Jim “Knock-Out” Nickerson, a big teddy bear of a truck driver. It doesn’t take long them to see the devastation surrounding them. After barely surviving a number of attacks, they reach Lucy’s home and find her ten-year-old son, Gus.  The trio embark on a mission to seek a safer ground.

Fast forward three years and the trio now lives in Bridge City, potentially one of the few remaining human civilizations.  Lucy and Knock-out have gained power in this motley crew of survivor, grooming Gus to become a future leader. Bridge City is a pretty impressive fortress using ingenious means to keep the zombies out, all at the hands of Gus, now a war-hardened young man. Their safety is threatened when they learn of a group of slavers heading that way to take over their civilization. Gus is their only salvation. He must now use the knowledge imparted upon him by his mother and Knock-out to stand up against a completely new form of enemy: the living.

I know I seem to say this a lot lately, but this novel puts a completely unique spin on the typical zombie novel. Yes, the flesh-eating buggers play a pretty key role in this novel but ultimately the real story is that of the survivors. The novel starts out like many other zombie novels but the similarities stop there. Instead, Jacobs uses this novel to reflect and report upon the human condition, how we as individuals with a conscious and morals and laws react when our world is completely turned on end, or in this case, pretty much burned to a crisp.

It is easy for the reader to identify with the main characters as they start of as completely typical, unremarkable individuals. That changes when their lives are put at risk, forced into completely unimaginable situations.  This is a novel that makes one think, a completely rewarding cerebral experience. Highly recommended.

Note: violence, sex, violence of a sexual nature. Not for the weak of heart.

2 Responses to “Review: This Dark Earth by John Hornor Jacobs”

  1. Bob
    Twitter: guildedearlobe

    I really, really want to read this. Sadly, it’s not available in audio, and probably won’t be, so it’s getting added to my print queue. I have to say the cover taglines are what really enticed me. I totally need a head knocker.

  2. Adriana Ryan

    Ooh, dystopian with a psychological edge–give me!! Going on my TBR pile. Geez, I’m a bit sorry I started following your blog…I kid, I kid. 😉 Seriously, thank you for picking the books I would pick!