A BJ Review: Assumed Dead by Becky Black

Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Assumed DeadThe zombie apocalypse left twelve people trapped, but safe, at a scientific research base on an Arctic island. Three years later, with supplies critically low, they know they can’t survive another harsh winter. But all of them fear what awaits them on the mainland.

Former grad student, Matt Warner, has retrained as a nurse under the group’s doctor, Peter Lane. Training is not the only thing Matt wants to be under Peter for, but Peter has always resisted responding to Matt’s interest in him. Before all this started Peter had a husband, Harrison, back home. A husband he desperately hopes is still alive.

Despair finally weakens Peter’s resolve and he and Matt begin sharing a bed. It’s Matt’s dream come true, even if he knows Peter’s feelings for him aren’t as strong as his for Peter. But everything changes, when the group learns of the existence of a vaccine against the zombie virus and they escape the island to search for the people distributing the vaccine. Matt fears their relationship won’t survive, because Peter wants to search for his husband—even if only to confirm his death. And Peter knows if he goes looking for Harrison, he’ll lose Matt forever.

This is a sequel to Patient Z which I read a few for the first time a few months ago, so when I saw that this one was coming out, I wanted to read it right away. I rated the first book four stars and was eager to follow on with the story, especially when I noticed that this story also had a bi-racial couple. Unfortunately, as is often the case, while I enjoyed it, this second book didn’t quite live up to the first one for me.

This story doesn’t follow along with the first couple, Mitch and Cal’s and their group, but I actually enjoyed that aspect. It gave a chance to see what happened to others, and how everyone’s experience of the apocalypse would vary. However, it does pick up several months after the events of the first book, so we do get to see the continuation of the original storyline as the vaccine begins to be shared with others.

The world that this group lived in was so much less threatening than that from book one, which played a large part in why I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as book one. There was very little action up until right near the very end, and even at that point, it didn’t involve zombies. It almost felt like the zombies were more of a window dressing—gross in appearance on the few times when one or two showed up, but they never felt like a real threat at any point. For the vast majority of the book, we are told about things that might be a threat and danger for this group, but we don’t see them in action, and thus are not on the edge of the seat or tense with worry. Even when they meet up with the second group, its pretty much the same thing. In fact, except for one mild scene early on that was very easily handled with no casualties or drama, the whole thing felt very tame. When the big fight scene near the end came, there hadn’t really been anything leading up to it, so it felt like it came out of left field.

The two main characters, Matt from New Zealand and Peter the doctor from the US, didn’t grab me and make me care for them as much as Cal and Mitch had in book. In fact, they didn’t intrigue me as much as some of the secondary characters, like R.J. and Jay and even Barrett did. The romance relationship between Matt and Peter moved slow at first, which was okay for a while, but Peter’s hemming and hawing started to get to me and when something did finally take off between them, I just didn’t feel the passion or urgency any more. There were quite a few sexy bits, but because of Peter’s lack of commitment one way or the other, I wasn’t quite able to feel invested in them as a couple and so the romance part fell flat for me.

Overall, this book has a lower key, calmer, less intense feel that book one. Not what I’d expected for a zombie apocalypse story. If you prefer a milder post-apocalyptic story full of hope and lots of interesting details, then this should fit the bill. I enjoyed the story itself more than the main couple, and would be willing to read more in this world especially if it included more about the mysterious R.J.

The cover does a good job of conveying the story, but much like the story itself, it doesn’t quite pack the punch of the first.

Sales Links:  Loose id LLC | ARe | Amazon

Book Details: 

ebook, 294 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Loose Id
Original TitleAssumed Dead
ISBN139781682521489
Edition LanguageEnglish

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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