When the dead get up and walk, it’s time for the living to run.
Ultramarathon runners, Kate and Fredrico, decide to run the 201 miles to Kate’s son’s college when zombies cause chaos in Northern California.
The setup is a familiar one for zombie fiction. When the dead rise and start snacking on the living, a parent sets off on an epic quest to reunite with their child. What makes this apocalypse different is that cars have become unreliable and their noise causes the blind zombies to swarm. If the characters want to reach their destination, they have to use their feet.
I admit, it took me a while to get on board with the conceit. The action is interspersed with Kate’s memories of her races, and it seemed a huge leap from running a 100 mile race when there are supports in place and rest stations every 10 miles to setting out on a 201 mile journey without food or medical support in a world even more hostile than normal.
However, once I got through the first few chapters and accepted the fact that the story was about two people running, I got into the story and enjoyed learning about ultrarunning and the characters.
I loved the analysis of ultrarunning, where runners lose their toenails, control over their digestive system and sometimes their minds while they put their body through torture. It helped me to understand the connection between punishment and achievement that keeps people taking part in these races, even if I don’t understand the allure of running. A lot of Kate’s experiences were drawn from reality, which is why they were so interesting.
I also loved that Kate and Fredrico were complex characters. Fredrico is a recovering addict, and widowed Kate has her own skeletons. I liked that it showed how the characters handled the hardships in their lives.
The zombie action is well described and consistent, even if it’s not breaking any new ground or particularly gory. The details of ultrarunning were much more terrifying than the undead.
A run of the mill zombie book elevated by solid writing and a glimpse into the fascinating but punishing world of ultrarunning.
I award Undead Ultra…
Undead Ultra is available for $4.42 ebook and $14.99 print book on Amazon.