Dead Island: The Book by Mark Morris. Book Review

DEAD ISLAND: THE BOOK by Mark Morris. Bantam Books/Transworld £6.99

Reviewed by Stuart Hughes

Dead Island originated as a zombie apocalypse computer game from Deep Silver. Dead Island: The Book is the official tie-in novel written by British Fantasy Award winning novelist Mark Morris. A horror writer by trade, Morris is no stranger to working in other people’s worlds having successfully written Doctor Who and Torchwood tie-in novels.

The story is set on the holiday island of Banoi and centres around four strangers who find themselves thrown together as paradise turns into hell. Purna (an Australian police woman), Logan (an American Football player) and Sam (a rapper) all meet on the flight to Banoi. They are checked into their hotel by Xian Mei, the fourth member of the zombie-slaying gang.

Morris establishes the characters quickly and effectively and then the zombie infection kicks-in, rapidly reaching pandemic proportions. The action is fast paced, the dialogue crisp and convincing, the characters strong and believable, and the zombie slaying is broken up with a fair dose of humour thrown into the mix. I particularly enjoyed Sam andLogan’s joshing.

There’s a lot of zombie slaying but the novel is about more than that. The computer game is designed with a role-playing element and the plot allows the characters to use their brains – not simply focussed on surviving and escaping the island (although that is their main priority), but they are able to think and investigate the infection too.

What caused it? Who caused it? And why? These questions, and more, are all answered, with a number of twists and turns along the way.

There’s some strong language and graphic descriptions so Dead Island: The Book is definitely not for kids. It’s has enough mystery and intrigue to hook me and keep me page turning to the end.