Dead World Resurrection by Joe McKinney

Description: A decade ago, if you’d walked into a bookstore looking for a zombie novel, you would have found only two: Brian Keene’s The Rising and Joe McKinney’s Dead City. Long recognized as one of the driving voices that launched the world’s fascination with the living dead, Joe McKinney’s Dead World novels have emerged as seminal works in the Horror genre.

Now, collected for the first time in Dead World Resurrection, are all of Joe McKinney’s zombie short stories. Here you’ll not only find tales that provide invaluable links between the various Dead World novels, such as “Ethical Solution,” “Dating in Dead World,” and the award-winning story “Survivors,” but also nightmare glimpses into other post-apocalyptic worlds told in the inimitable Joe McKinney fashion. From the bleak political satire of “State of the Union” to the historical vignettes of “Starvation Army” and “Paradise of the Living Dead,” this collection features the full range of McKinney’s horrific mastery of the living dead.

The zombie has grown up since Joe McKinney first penned Dead City, yet he has continued to stand out among the throng of voices telling tales of the undead. Dead World Resurrection shows why.

I love a good zombie story told well.  I don’t read a ton of them and a lot of them are simply not very good.  The best stories recognize that it’s the other characters that are the key and zombies are just part of the background or the landscape.  Joe McKinney is a good writer and Dead World Resurrection is a great collection of short stories.  

The stories in this collection are largely set in McKinney’s Dead World.  Some are more directly tethered there and a couple are completely untethered from the setting.  I expect more unevenness from a short story collection, but Dead World Resurrection is uniformly good.  Very good. Two or three of the stories are slightly disappointing. “Bug Out or Hunker Down” is more of a musing of what you would do in a real crisis.  “Sabbatical in the Ohio Methlands” is also sort of a philosophical tale that strays a little closer to reality. “Two-and-a-Half-Graves” likewise is more of a personal tale. While these stories are a little weaker than the rest of the collection, none of them are really clunkers and all are well written.

“Jimmy Finder” is a great zombies versus robots story. “Dating in a Dead World”, “The Day the Music Died”, and “Ethical Solution” were among the standouts in the rest of a great collection.

Joe McKinney was one of the authors at the forefront of the more recent rise of zombie popularity and he remains one of the best.  He understands that you can’t tell a good zombie story without a good story.  He creates characters you care about.  His characters are challenged physically, mentally, emotionally and morally.  It’s the character journey, not just the exciting plots and action scenes, that make these stories stand out.

Not all writers are adept at both the long-form novel and the short story, but McKinney clearly proves he is a master of the latter in Dead World Resurrection.  This is a great collection both for fans of the series as well as a great entry for those unfamiliar with it.  Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.

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