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On one of my thrift store treasure hunts, I found a lovely a book by James J Layton called Darkest Days. Zombies in small town Fayette, Alabama! Took me a couple of days and nights to read and while I can’t recommend it unconditionally as a polished horror tale, if definitely had its moments. Premise is simple . Bratty 16 year old girl gets yanked from her life in  New York City and transplanted to Fayette, Alabama, population 5000. It’s a bumpy transition but just as she decides that a local guy is not some dumb Deliverance yokel, enter the zombies . The rest of the story is shuffle, chomp, kill, be killed, come back, back up, rinse, repeat.

I’m a recent transplant to Alabama from the mid-Atlantic. I never had ‘tude like Cara the protagonist, but I did enjoy reading about the ups and downs of settling in rural Alabama after the denser traffic and much faster pace of life in the north.

The author spends a lot of time setting up the characters and I appreciated it. The zombie invasion is a bit like the vampire takeover in Salem’s Lot, but in a shorter space of time. One person gets bit and then it’s Game On — try to survive while your neighbors are turning into the living dead. There are three small pockets of survivors, and eventually they all come together at the First Baptist Church — where else? — although it’s a Roman Catholic priest who provides the religious point of view.

The ending reminded me of the film Miracle Mile.

All in all, Apocalypse Soon! 2 1/2 stars out of 5.

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