Author: David Moody
Publisher: Orion Books
Price: £12.99 (Hardback)
Page count: 246pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Like the dead themselves, I did little last weekend. I shambled; read; shambled; ate; shambled; growled – and devoured my copy of Autumn. For just a short space of two days, the world that is Autumn ruled mine, the addiction that is David Moody flowing through my veins.
Visceral from the outset, Moody quickly summarises the virus that wipes out 99% of humanity in just a few pages, instead focusing on the plight of the remaining 1% left alive. Before the survivor’s metaphorical journeys begin, we are treated to a number of choking, gasping deaths and an unhealthy dose of sputum and blood. If the novel doesn’t explain why some people live whilst others die, it is because it doesn’t need to. The virus is something of a MacGuffin; a means to an end so that Moody can entertain the reader and also explore the varied behaviour of those left behind as they realise that Civilization has gone. The scene has been set for the ongoing struggle and the horror that will ensue.
Moody does a tremendous job of exploring human nature. Displaying stark realism, Autumn shows a society falling apart at the seams, as he focuses on a trio of survivors fleeing the decaying city looking for some semblance of protection and home in the country. What they find is disappointment.
At first, our heroes Michael, Emma and Carl are not too concerned about the threat of the undead which rise Romero shambling style from their proverbial graves (the streets of the city). However, complacency soon sets in and it is here that tensions rise as the characters face the grim reality of their world without mod cons and basic comforts. As they start to settle into their new home, the dead begin to change; developing new senses, self awareness and speed, swiftly transforming in to the 28 Day’s Later style zombie we have come to know and love.
Autumn works because it is a slow burner, building up the reader’s anticipation and fear, a dread which saturates the novel, making it first-class horror. It is no surprise that Moody has developed from a self-published horror author to a genuine talent, recognised internationally as a superior writer. Such is his talent, that rumour has it Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy) bailed on The Hobbit to film Moody’s other novel Hater. Now that’s a film I would love to see.
If you want to know more about David Moody’s latest projects and the sequel Autumn: The City, take a look at his website for free fiction and other offers which can be found at Last of the Living.