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3-minute book review: 'Time of Death' tells classic zompoc tale

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'Time of Death: Induction' by Shana Festa

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The book: ‘Time of Death: Induction’ is the debut novel by Shana Festa. Published by Permuted Press and released on May 26, ‘Induction’ is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble Web sites. The author Festa is also known as The Bookie Monster, a Web site chiefly devoted to reviews of zombie fiction.

The story: Zombies terrorize Cape Coral, Fla., and force a nursing student, her husband and her dog to fight for survival.

Opening lines: ‘Nick Michaels sipped coffee on his back lanai, savoring the last few minutes of peace before leaving for work. Even in October, Florida was still hot enough to reduce the man to a puddle of sweat.’

The review: ‘Time of Death: Induction’ is survival horror about a nursing student and her experiences during a zombie apocalypse. The first in a planned trilogy, ‘Induction’ is a classic zompoc tale reminiscent of the George A. Romero films, notably ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ minus the social commentary.

On the eve of the zombie apocalypse, 37-year-old nursing student Emma Rossi is dealing with the loss of her first patient, a hurricane is bearing down on her home in Cape Coral, Fla., and reports of violence among the population are dominating the news.

When the violence arrives on their doorstep, Emma, her husband Jake and her dog Daphne are forced from their house to survive in a city teeming with zombies at every turn.

The author Shana Festa delivers a fast-paced read with chapter titles as sarcastic as Emma. For example, in the prologue, the last images a man sees before transforming to a zombie are the yellow arches of a McDonald’s restaurant. The title of the prologue? ‘I’m Lovin’ It.’

But ‘Induction’ is all about Emma and her first-person account of events as she negotiates the terrifying terrain of Cape Coral.

Emotional, foul-mouthed and stubborn, Emma is a bona fide smartass yet a likable heroine because she wears her heart on her sleeve, loves her husband and adores her dog.

How snarky is Emma? In a scene where she and Jake are trapped inside their garage by zombies and the automatic door opens too slowly, Emma cannot resist the opportunity to zing her husband.

As the gap widened, the first thing I saw were feet … a lot of feet. The garage door let out a wicked squeal on its unoiled track and those feet started to turn in our direction.

Blood flowed from my nose, and I glared at Jake through gaps between my fingers where I attempted to staunch it. ‘Oiled it last week, my ass!’

With Emma, Festa creates a genuinely human protagonist. Emma is not a hero or an emotionless killing machine. She cries, she screams in fear, she makes critical mistakes under duress.

She also draws strength from familiar sources: her marriage and her dog. Both feed her determination to face the unthinkable horrors lurking in the darkness of each new day.

Festa does not spend a lot of time developing characters outside of Emma’s immediate circle, which lends more realism to the story.

After all, in a world where people can die at any moment – and many do – how much time is there to really get to know someone?

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