Book Review –  Jim’s First Day (The Infected #1) by Joseph Zuko

First published, 2015

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

A very entertaining read. The story follows everyman, Jim Blackmore, on the first day of the end of times. Jim is at work, selling domestic appliances, surrounded by high-achieving salesmen, chaps who never gain weight and a young fella who continually calls him ‘dude’, an endearment he’s hardly attached to. Jim has the usual gripes in his life. However, the work day is brought to an abrupt end when a helicopter crashes into a building, signalling the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.

So ensues Jim’s desperate journey, with a small ragtag collection of strangers, across Portland and into Vancouver, to locate and rescue his wife and two small children. There are zombies at every turn and, with the authorities unable to cope, even the healthy are becoming dangerous. It’s not that people are inherently bad, it’s just that the normal rules don’t seem to apply.

This was my first encounter with Joseph Zuko’s writing. The story is action-packed, grizzly and humorous and I really enjoyed it. As a zombie story, there are plenty of descriptions of goo and gore, which he conveys really well.

If you’re not a fan of the ick factor, now’s the time to stop reading.
“A dark figure moved within the fire. It stepped from the wreckage. Skin dripped from its body as it shuffled from the flames.”
Chapter Three, Jim’s First Day (The Infected #1) by Joseph Zuko

“The bulk of the infected man crushed Jim against the hood of the car. The thing’s flannel shirt was torn, exposing a tremendous wound to its chest. Stomach fat dripped from the slashed skin and oozed to the asphalt.”
Chapter Twelve, Jim’s First Day (The Infected #1) by Joseph Zuko

The only downside, for me, were the changes from past to present tense, clearly accidental, but I found them rather distracting. For example, “The trunk was crushed shut. Jim drove the tips of his fingers into the folded metal and pulled, but it is stuck.”
Chapter Five, Jim’s First Day (The Infected #1) by Joseph Zuko.

There were a fair few instances of this kind of tense-shift. However, the story and the characters were well-drawn and exciting, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

If you like zombie stories, this is for you.