cover image Omega Days

Omega Days

John L. Campbell. Berkley, $15 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-425-27263-3

Campbell (The Mangroves) provides an impressively convincing vision of a world suddenly gone insane in this print edition of a bestselling e-book, the start of a series. Catholic priest Xavier Church has a crisis of faith just as zombies overwhelm California; trading God for guns, he becomes the de facto leader of a wandering band of survivors. The implosion of civilization shreds the patina of decency surrounding amoral televangelist Peter Dunleavy, transforms wide-eyed college freshman Skye Dennison into a remorseless antizombie fighter, puts San Quentin inmates T.C. and Carney back on the mean streets, and gives Russian helicopter pilot Vladimir Yurish an opportunity for heroism. These and other struggles to survive underscore the traditional implied comparison between ravaging zombies and secular social collapse. The maelstrom that Campbell creates is a somber portrayal of the human capacity for both selfishness and, more rarely, altruism. He effectively builds a mood of terror that sweeps the reader along in this powerful example of the zombie thriller genre at its best. (May)