Twilight of the Dead by Travis Adkins is a different and exciting take on the zombie genre. The story revolves around Courtney Colvin, a sassy young woman and a lethal "Black Beret": a zombie killer. She is one part Tomb Raider, one part Gretel and one part everyday girl. Twilight of the Dead takes the old Romero style zombie story and adds some modern twists. How would a community live on years after the apocalypse? What would every day and not so everyday life be like? Adkins explores the long term life style of people in such a setting. This is all done within a well written and paced story that reels you in and doesn't let go.
The bulk of the story takes place in and around the walled in community of Eastpointe that had been able to survive the outbreak. It also ended up being the home for the last of the Black Berets. Courtney is a "Black Beret", trained in the art of zombie killing. Black Berets are armed with a rifle, pistol, and a wakizashi and trained in a modified form of hand-to-hand combat created specifically to fight zombies. Among the other Black Berets is Leon, a young good looking guy around Courtney's age. Leo and Courtney have a more or less love to hate relationship going.
The book overall has a really addicting element about it, I read the first 140 pages in one sitting without realizing how long I had been sitting there. I was fully engrossed in the story and in the characters. I think the part that keeps you reading is that besides having a great plot; it also has several intriguing subplots. Relationships, situations, and the setting provide plenty of interesting tidbits to think about beyond the main plot. Because of this there is always something happening to keep your interest.
Hardcore zombie fans should be pleased with the action and the way Adkins writes his combat scenes and the Black Berets really kick rear. What could be cooler than a people taking a wakizashi to zombies? The zombies are truly terrifying and the twist near the end will leave you saying "that's just wrong!"
In the end Twilight of the Dead was a complete surprise to me and in now among my favorites. It has few flaws, such as medical explanations that stretched my suspension of disbelief. However, I have a medical background and I think most people may not know the difference. This is definitely a book that belongs on every zombie fan's shelf.