In “This Plague of Days,” Robert Chazz Chutes takes the zombie novel and raises it a level—his story is filled not only with the ambling, hungry undead but also with true human evil.
The book begins with a doctor in despair—a dangerous virus, later called the Sutr virus after him, has moved from animals to humans. As it sweeps the world, it kills indiscriminately—it’s a plague, but nothing supernatural about it. As the infection rate increases, the Jacqueline and Theo Spencer try to stay calm and stay together, protecting their teenage daughter, Anna, and their autistic teenage son, Jaimie. Jaimie, a selective mute, can actually see the swirling black notes of the virus as it claims its victims, and he’s actually much more perceptive and attuned to what’s going on than anyone realizes. When the evil Dr. Ava Keres—who names herself Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds—takes a mutated Sutr virus that turns humans into cannibalistic beast and begins to spread it, the world descends into violent madness that the Spencers must fight to survive.
Having read a lot in the zombie genre, I often wonder how authors can top a particular work or increase the horror, and Chutes’ story goes above and beyond expectations. In addition to being very well-written, sweeping you along in the action from chapter to chapter, the story has a strong human element. “This Plague of Days” is not a band of strangers trying to survive, and it’s not all about action—it’s about the changing dynamics of family members who must learn to depend on each other and become brave in whole new ways. There are plentiful scenes of action and gore, but there are also scenes that build suspense in a whole new way—the tedium of waiting for something to happen, for instance, or a trip to a grocery store for supplies when an entire crowd could erupt into chaos over who gets the last container of powdered milk. Then, of course, there’s Dr. Keres, a lethal combination of cleverness, rage, and insanity, and she is more horrifying than all the zombies put together. I would recommend this novel not only to those who enjoy the zombie genre, but to horror fans in general—with strong characters and a tension-filled plot, it will please a wide range of readers. Don’t miss horror deals. My daily newsletter is loaded with awesome deals so subscribe and get top-rated finds each morning for free!