Deathbed

Posted: 08/03/2011 in Books

Deathbed by Sebastian Howley

Let me just say this right off the bat: If your book shares a name with the infamous 70’s horror film Deathbed: The Bed That Eats, you better come pretty damn strong. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, search it on YouTube. Some of the most absurd shit you’ll ever see)

If it had the chance, your bed would kill you in a second!

Luckily for Sebastian Howley, Deathbed (the book) delivers!

William Noble is reclusive author with a (presumably) terminal illness. He seeks to escape to an isolated cottage to complete his book and pass on in peace and seclusion. Things don’t quite turn out like he plans after a stranger comes pounding on his front door claiming that the country has been brought to its knees by a zombifying virus. Suddenly the man who was ready to die finds himself fighting for his life.

THE GOOD: Deathbed is well-written with few, if any, typos. Always a good start when buying ebooks for a buck.

While the story is fairly basic, it’s told very well. There’s a good tension built as the survivor tries to convince William that zombies are running wild. I found that throughout the book I imagined what I would do (or what any rational person would do) in either character’s shoes. Would you believe a crazy person at your front door who says that the world is ending without any immediate proof? How would you try to convince a stranger to help you after breaking into their house?

THE BAD: Deathbed is short. Very short. I’m sure that it was designed that way, but I found myself wanting more. I think that there were enough areas to explore that this could have been made into a full-length novel easily.

A lot of the dialogue feels pretty wooden. This is due mainly to the fact that very few contractions are used. I’m sorry, but when people talk, they use contractions. Take this line of dialogue for example:

“We are going to the hospital. Then we are going to get gas in the car and we are going to keep moving. We are not going to just lay down and die.”

C’mon, who’s gonna make that statement without saying “we’re” instead of “we are”? Not anybody I know.

THE UGLIES: The zombies in Deathbed are quick-moving, infected humans of the 28 Days Later variety. The survivor implies that the infection was the result of a terrorist attack of some kind in a number of heavy-populated cities. As is customary, bites infect new victims. The slight twist that Howley adds is that his zombies randomly attack and destroy one another, giving survivors a little extra chance if being pursued by multiple zombies.

THE VERDICT: It may not be Deathbed: The Bed That Eats, but Deathbed (the book) is awesome in its own right. I do think that the tension could have been stretched further with the main characters spending more time in the house. If it were expanded, it would certainly gain a few stars. As is, it still gets a very strong 56 out of 65 stars. Pick it up on the Kindle for a buck at Amazon.com.

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