Dead Beat

Posted: 07/27/2011 in Books

Dead Beat by Remy Porter

Zombies hate it when fathers don't pay their child support!

Dead Beat tells the story of a local British police officer, Johnny Silverman (who I like to picture as Jonathan Silverman of Weekend at Bernie’s fame). Johnny is a going-through-the-motions kind of guy, idling away in a small town. When the zombie apocalypse rears its ugly head, Johnny finds himself suddenly thrust into the role of a hero. He befriends a female Police Community Support Officer (I don’t know either. Must be a British thing) and the local drunk, as they hole up in the police station. On the other side of town a local farmer and his son are fortifying their own place and attracting the locals by building a giant protective fence. The story really picks up as the farmers begin to reveal their darker sides and Johnny and his small group feel compelled to intervene.

THE GOOD: Remy Porter does a really nice job developing the characters of Dead Beat. No cliches here, each player in the story has depth . Johnny plays the hero, but is flawed in his own right. Even the “evil” farmers are not devoid of humanity. Dead Beat really shines as the two survivor camps begin to clash and the characters come head to head.

THE BAD: While the midsection of the novel compels, the beginning and end fell short for me. The opening drags a little, and it took me quite a few chapters before I found myself actively wanting to read more. The ending also really falls flat. The last act of the story on the oil rig felt tacked on and disjointed. Johnny starts to perseverate on an ex-wife who is mentioned very little in the bulk of the book and the big revelation really doesn’t seem to fit his character and ultimately, makes him unlikeable. It might have worked better if the ex was more of a motivation throughout the book. I would have liked to have seen more focus on the farm with a clearer, direct resolution.

THE UGLY: I’m an arrogant America, and as such, a lot of the British slang threw me off (stupid metric system). I found myself unsure if some things were typos or just British. There were also some out-and-out typos along with awkward sentencing. Dead Beat would be improved with another round of editing.

Overall, Dead Beat was an enjoyable read whose positives outweigh the negatives. Priced at $0.99 on Amazon Kindle, it’s really a bargain. I give it a healthy recommendation and 40 out of 52 stars.

  1. kjburke says:

    Sounds like a good one. Can I borrow it?

  2. […] tales that play the “we’re all scum on some level” card. (In fact, I just praised Dead Beat for doing just that) But it is nice to have a story where all of the characters are good people […]

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