Red Bill by Jamie McGuire book review

Jamie McGuire’s Red Hill rises above the zombie apocalypse clichés

If it’s not vampires or werewolves on the menu there must be a void in the kitchen. Joining the plethora of undead delights that continuously frequent the entertainment world is Jamie McGuire’s literary main course, Red Hill, chief ingredient: ZOMBIES!

Radiology assistant Scarlet drops her two girls at school as usual and heads for work, strange decision considering the radio station was reporting a breakthrough in reanimating corpses. Unsurprisingly by lunchtime the hospital is overrun with victims of a highly contagious and deadly virus as those having had a flu shot develop the taste for human flesh first. Finally catching on, Scarlet flees the hospital and goes in search of her daughters.

Now this would not be acceptable zombie fodder without a few other brave souls prepared to do whatever it takes to survive. Nathan’s wife has picked a hell of a day to leave him a ‘Dear John’ letter; he just about has time to read it before legging it with his young OCD riddled daughter, Zoe.

Miranda is more concerned with the paintwork on her brand new VW beetle than the carnage unfolding before her eyes, fortunately she listens to her bossy boyfriend and puts her foot down.

The tense narration alternates between Scarlet, Nathan and Miranda as they attempt to make the perilous road trip to Red Hill ranch, each convinced that it will provide sanctuary from the epidemic. Edgar Wright fans may sense elements of déjà vu here. Shaun Of The Dead has a very similar storyline only their safe house, The Winchester, offers far more Pegg, Frost, beer and bar snacks!

In fact, McGuire’s zombies are nothing new, bog standard, dim wits shuffling around only catching a lunch break when survivors lose focus.

Despite the clichés and the slightly uninspiring moniker this is a tasty little helping of undead action to feast upon, mainly thanks to the author’s focus more on human survival than the rise of the new zombie nation.