The Complete Double Dead by Chuck Wendig

Complete double deadChuck Wendig is fast becoming one of those authors that I must read.  I’ve certainly not read all of his books but the ones I have read I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and The Complete Double Dead is no exception.

At the start of the tale we make the acquaintance of Coburn who has been lying entombed in a derelict building for close on five years.  He’s a little dried out to say the least until by some random occurrence he finds himself the lucky recipient of a good dose of blood.  Coburn is a vampire.  An egotistical, no nonsense, killing machine with super strength and the ability to self regenerate from just about any injury – short of losing his head of course.

Coburn was right at the top of the food chain until he was awoken by blood’s sweet kiss and found the zombie apocalypse shambling around outside.  His walking snacks have turned into walking maggot farms and his miraculous revival turns out to be rather ill timed.

Instead of preying on unsuspecting victims by night Coburn instead finds himself shepherding a bunch of humans across the country.  He has to keep his food source alive and so, firstly, he must learn to snack rather than guzzle and, secondly, he and his sheep must make it to the other side of the country where a cure to the zombie disease is rumoured to be a possibility.  So, Coburn and his crew set off.  The route is going to be tough, on top of cannibals, would be military establishments and fanatical religious cults he’s going to need to keep his wits about him to survive his own pack of humans and if that isn’t enough it seems there’s a whole new ‘super’ zombie stalking Coburn.

To be fair, I don’t suppose The Complete Double Dead brings anything startlingly new to either the zombie or vampire legends, and perhaps that’s why I like it – it feels like something old and familiar.  Coburn seeks blood, he hides from the sun and he has the ability to ‘persuade’ his victims to behave.  The zombies – well, they pretty much want to eat living flesh and they don’t care what extremes they have to go to in order to do so.  What I found really original was the twist in the tale that turned the predator into the prey.  A little twist that almost brought Coburn to an unlikely end due to his over confidence in his vampire acquired abilities and the fact that he’s never been on the receiving end of a threat before.

On top of this, well, we have Chuck Wendig’s unique style of writing.  Here we have a book with horror, blood, guts, drama and action.  It has the potential to become too brutal, too horrific and too much to swallow but instead Wendig manages to inject humour in the places you least expect.  He turns Coburn into an almost redeemable character (although not completely) and he makes this a gripping read right to the end.  There are a number of twists, particularly in relation to one of the characters who seems to bring out the best in Coburn and there are some spectacular scenes of outrageous bloodiness – really, I can’t even go there.

Now, for information, I understand that this book is a combination of two novels – Double Dead and Bad Blood.  Also, this is a bloody and sometimes violent book.  Wendig pulls no punches so if this doesn’t work for you then step away now!

I really enjoyed The Complete Double Dead.  If you’re looking for a little horror, a swathe of zombies, the odd grisly blood bath, some moments of genuine humour and a hero where you didn’t expect then this could be the book you’re waiting for.

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.