As zombies overrun the country and people flee in panic, the good folks of Snareville decide to hole up and protect their town rather than give it over to the dead.
This is the kind of book the undead can’t stand. Not because the books sucks, in fact it’s a great read, but because it gives you meatsacks too many good ideas on what to do in case of a zombie apocalypse. We don’t plan on starting one anytime soon mind you, not many of us are ready to go over to the all pork diet just yet, and if we go all apocalyptic that’s exactly what we’re going to have to do eventually. Before we can band together and take over the world we’re going to have to come up with a plan to turn the living into cattle without overrunning the world in walking corpses, don’t need too much competition among our ranks after all. As far as I know, that plan hasn’t been conceived yet. I mean, yeah, there is the zombie fringe that’s all about a zombie apocalypse, kind of like an undead cult, but we don’t put much stock in them, they’re kind of like the Pat Robertsons of the undead. We worry more about books like Snareville than we do those nut-jobs; at least the zombie fringe isn’t out there helping humans form a good resistance…damn you Youngquist.
Our story/survival guide begins with the end of the world. The dead have begun to rise and they are devouring the living, at least that’s what the people of Snareville, a small town in Illinois, have been hearing. No one believes much of it at first, even after a couple towns become little more than smoldering craters, but the dead don’t leave Snareville alone for too long. When they show up on their front door, taking a few members of the community to the other team as they do, the townsfolk take up arms and eliminate the immediate threat. Not stopping there, they quickly construct defenses around town, blocking off bridges and sealing roads. Armed men are set at every roadblock to make sure the undead menace is kept at bay while a quick (and extremely dangerous) trip is made to a nearby town for some much needed weapons and ammunition. After another trip to the only thing worse than a zombie apocalypse, Walmart, the townsfolk further fortify the city and prepare for the long haul. Overtime a few more human stragglers come to Snareville and are welcomed into the community, providing they stay a week in quarantine and follow the harsh but necessary laws. Time goes by and life goes on for the people of Snareville, they do what they need to do to survive and enjoy the life they have, but they aren’t the only ones to survive. Other towns have done what they can and while not many have been as successful, nor had as many survivors, they join with the town of Snareville none the less to form a strong front against the zombie menace. The still functioning military base near Snareville helps to make up for the lack of people and power and form an even stronger front. Unfortunately, the still swarming dead aren’t their only worries, scavengers are out in full force and they don’t care a lick about order. With their world just barely coming back to a semblance of normality, the people of Snareville and their allies are going to have to take care of both the remaining zombies and the barbaric savages hell-bent on destroying what they’ve managed to rebuild if they expect to continue surviving.
Anyone who’s been following my reviews from a few different sites knows there is one thing that really impresses the hell out of me, creating not just a story but an entire world and that’s just what David Youngquist has done with Snareville. The book is an amazing look at how people could come together after such an apocalyptic scenario; you could just as easily replace the undead for nuclear war or a global pandemic and it would still work. There was so much thought put into what people would do that I imagine Mr. Youngquist did a lot of pondering before he set pen to paper. Defenses are fully thought out, food and water are taken care of, body disposal, patrols, continuing education, there isn’t a stone left unturned down to the minutest detail, there are even extremely detailed plans put in place for what to do in case of both a massive zombie attack and intrusions by scavengers. Once the military base comes into play it only gets better.
I think my favorite thing about Snareville was the fact that Youngquist pulled no punches as far as what humanity would have to do in order to survive, and what some degenerate into during that struggle. The townsfolk are forced to create extremely harsh laws and violations for these laws can range from exile to an instant hanging. It might seem brutal and even cruel but it would be necessary in such a world. As for the scavengers, the roaming bands of maniacs that call no town home, some of the things they are capable of would have made Attila the Hun cringe. There are a few vicious scenes I had to re-read a couple times just to make sure I was interpreting what I was reading right (though I have to admit to getting a slightly disturbing smile when I realized I was reading them right).
One thing I want to discuss only because it came up in conversation with a good friend of mine (yes, the undead have friends, some of them even among the living) is comparisons to The Walking Dead. To be honest, I had previously only read the first couple of paperbacks and seen only the first two seasons of the show, I know, I know, a self-proclaimed zombie expert should own the series right…well I don’t, get over it. However, after hearing the comparison made I went and spent several hours catching up and I have to say, Snareville is far more detailed. It’s true that both are about people surviving after zombies destroy the planet instead of the actual destroying but Snareville takes it a whole lot further in my opinion. As odd as this might sound when discussing a fictional story, Snareville felt more real.
This is not only a great read for the zombie fanatic but anyone looking for a great book with some very dark elements and an extremely detailed world. Great characters (I actually wanted to cry when some of them passed), fantastic dialogue (no one-liners here), and a truly gripping story, there isn’t much not to like about Snareville.
The Undead Review
Written By: David Youngquist
Published By: Crossroads Press