Undead on Arrival: my review

Undead on Arrival: Justin Robinson


Glen Novak is dead but is he really dead dead? Glen Novak was shot in the head and his thoughts and feelings have not been erased, well not yet anyway. Humans are practically extinct. The war that started over five years ago is over. The human race is gone so who is telling this story and how why does he have one day: 24 hours to make things right? What exactly does he think he will accomplish? Why?


This man’s entire world ended five years ago. A strange and mysterious plague soared through the world, depleted human society and destroyed everything and everyone he held dear. Hoping to survive and working along a group of men just like him and equally as dangerous, he winds up caught in a trap that will lead him to his final demise. Once a wrestling coach and now a hunter hoping to find any remnants of life, semblance of humanity in order to make things right. Those we meet in this novel are real people not geeks as he describes himself after someone gives him that fatal bite. Those living in Devon in the same building are Jim Sorensen, Christopher Stewart, Dave Pulaski, John, Michelle and many more who make up the group he calls the gang. A group that is feared and dangerous hoping to as the author states, “tip the balance of power,” Greg’s direction. Pulaski, a born killer, someone who took care of the geeks, carved them up and made sure that they did not infect anyone else. Their bodies littering the streets, the stench you can only imagine and sight horrific. Ricky Robellada was part of his team and someone you did not want to come up against in a fight. Scars on his face and hands, a body that looked emaciated, skin darker and tougher he was one of his feared gang members. Add in Tom Martinez and that comprises his group that note what is happening in place called the Barricade. Everyone lived behind the lines of this Barricade. This place held for ten of them and if anyone broke through they went to the Athena and where they killed and murdered the geeks. There were many others on duty that protected the elder on the inner wall of the Barricade. The author describes how this gang moves, what they do and what they find. The scenes are vividly described, graphic and you can see the deterioration, smell the decay of the bodies and wonder how they even live for any length of time.


The Hotel Athena overlooks Devon. Once a place many would want to stay now transformed into a sea of death. The description that the author relates on page 43 will make you shudder as the metal gate over the front doors and bars on the windows more prison like. As he makes his way into the hotel and has one person in mind that he needs to find.


Glen is no one to trifle with as he finds his mark, explains why he is there and relates that some of his gang is now dead because they were bitten. Anyone bitten is automatically killed. But, confrontations occur and more people are killed as those bitten are eliminated and Novak searches for answers of his own. One man comes at him with a gun in a bar and another takes him out. Approach the man he thinks sent him proves interesting and enlightening to the reader as you learn more about this demented world filled with misfits, killers, and those struggling to stay alive or rule others. The person in charge of the investigation proves somewhat capable as the real person; the Reverend appears not to care.


As Novak moves about from place to place he hides the bite on his hand, hopes no one will discover his fate or he won’t be able to even last that one more day that he needs to find his killer and make things right in his own world and mind. When the man he thinks sent someone to kill him claims he wants him to join forces with him, the end result would not exactly make them friends. Which one is telling the truth and whom can anyone trust? Those that watch his back and protect him kill when necessary to save themselves and Novak.


As the day wears on so does Novak’s spirit and body decline and fall apart. Like a person with a terminal disease that eats away at their brain, body and mind within certain time limits, what happens to him would be any fatal disease fast forwarded and in fast motion. Calomiris vs. Novak that’s what it seems to come down to at this time. One man killed on the Calomiris side sets off a chain of events and reactions that are quite violent, graphic and almost typical of kids who seek revenge on other gang members when the possible culprit is dead or justice needs to be served. Society has a definite way it views people and in this world created by author Justin Robinson, although most are what we call zombies and others semi-human, class distinctions still exist as far as how people are treated, protected and the availability of services that they need to survive in world that does not really exist in the true sense of the word. Two separate factions: those on the Hill and protected by the Barricade and those in the Athena protected by Calomiris and his minions. Threats fly, the body count increases and Novak hopes that no one will notice the state his body is in and the fact that as the day wears on so does his life where thin. But, push comes to shove as a confrontation ensues between Novak and Rippey the Reverend and the end result will surprise you as you learn who comes to Novak’s aid when things get violent, someone opens the gate and lets in the wrong people and the threat of getting bitten is real.


Flashing back in his mind to his life before as a coach and gym teacher he visualizes how his life used to be before the end came. Fast- forwarding to the present he reminds himself of the true nature of the new world which is survival of the strongest, fittest and most powerful. Violence and revenge see to reign over logic and reasoning even when others try. Cool heads never seem to prevail and Glen will stop at nothing to find out why he is one of the undead. Society, as the author depicts it is comprised of those who only care about themselves, taking control of the three factions, Athena, the Hill and Town and deciding which serves them the best. Memories of Susan come into his mind and just as quickly dissipate and disappear. Final confrontations, realizations and come front and center, more lives are lost, truths are revealed and deceits uncovered before the final shot is fired, the next head is lopped off and the true killer is revealed. Loyalties are questioned, trust is overrated, and one man tries to right one wrong before his time runs out. Just what happens and who comes out if you can call it that alive and still on top? You will have to read Undead On Arrival to find out the end result to see if the Undead Win, the Hill, Athena, Town or if you could call what happens winning at all.  Author Justin Robinson may have created a world of fiction that might remind the reader of some of what is going on in the world today filled with hate, deceit, lies, and of course senseless killings but this book definitely should give you much pause for thought and reason to stop and think about how we can make the world before it’s too late a better place. Undead on Arrival: What is Glen’s fate? You decide after reading this graphic, descriptive and really quite unique and thought provoking novel.


Fran Lewis: reviewer



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