Waking up in a bleak landscape and covered in scars from unknown injuries, Cass Dollar is vaguely aware that she has survived something horrific. She has no idea how much time has passed and as she tries to remember what happened, she recalls one horrifying truth – something, or someone, has taken her daughter Ruthie.
Not only has Ruthie disappeared, but all of civilization has gone with her. Where once there were busy cities there are now ghost towns. The people long since evacuated leaving only Beaters behind. Beaters, once human themselves, now turned in to flesh craving monsters by a government experiment gone wrong.
In this broken and barren California, Cass must search for Ruthie. Few trust an outsider, especially one like Cass who seems to have miraculously survived a zombie attack. One person agrees to help Cass, and outlaw named Smoke; and in him she finds safety and a savior.
For the Beaters are still out there…but the remaining humans might be far more dangerous.
Perhaps I have been spoiled by other zombie novels, but I didn’t find myself particularly impressed with Aftertime. While the author’s take on zombies was certainly a new one – the zombies don’t go after their victim’s brains but their skin instead – I found it to be almost all the book had going for it.
I found the characters to be a bit one dimensional, especially the character of Smoke. Very little actual information is given about him and while I’m guessing it’s supposed to make him mysterious in the reader’s eyes, I found it to be irritating. The character of Cass was given more of a background which did help in being able to connect with her.
One thing I did enjoy about Aftertime was how background story information was given. Too often an author will do what is referred to as an ‘info dump’ where they will just dump a whole slew of information on the reader with no justification. Rarely does this help move the story along and more often than not it is aggravating to the reader. Littlefield does not do this. Instead, she gives information out piecemeal; as our protagonist learns about what has happened during the weeks she was missing, so too do we. This allows for a more natural understanding of the surroundings and moves the story at a far better pace.
Despite it’s weak points, Aftertime is a fairly decent book. Not the best zombie apocalypse novel I’ve read but not the worst either. Readers should possibly give this one a try, but I doubt I’ll be seeking out the subsequent books in the series.