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Reviewed by Scott Cahan for Readers' Favorite
Contagion: Dark Days Book 1 by Marcy Dyer is the first in an apocalyptic survival series about a group of people struggling to survive after a deadly virus has been released on humanity. Yes, it’s another zombie apocalypse story, but Contagion has one major difference that sets it apart from all the others. If it were a movie, it would easily be given a PG-13 rating. That’s because Ms. Dyer’s story doesn’t focus on the blood and gore like most zombie movies would. In Contagion, the zombie attacks are described in broad terms with very little of the expected bloody details. The focus is instead on the characters and how they deal with each situation. The story follows three families who are fleeing the zombies, or infecteds as they are called in the book. There is plenty of action as the characters struggle to stay alive on their journey to reach a safe house built for the occasion. They are all headed to the same place; a fortified home with double fences and all the supplies they will need to survive.
Contagion is, for the most part, well written with a strong focus on the characters. Marcy Dyer has woven an intricate plot together to form a work of art by the time the three families arrive at the compound. The main characters, Randi and Josh, are likable and easy to root for. I’ve always been one to say an author doesn’t need to depend on violent acts to make her story appealing. It’s refreshing to see a zombie story told with such restraint. Some people may be put off by a zombie story that gives so few details about the violence of the zombies. I must admit that there were a couple of scenes in Contagion that I felt could have been fleshed out a little more to give them more emotional impact. But, Ms. Dyer easily overcomes that issue by giving us vivid descriptions of the consequences that follow as a result of the zombie attacks. This is a realistic portrayal of humans forced to cope with a world gone mad. The struggle that Contagion portrays so well is that of regular people thrown together in the worst of situations and trying to figure out how to get along with each other and survive.