Flex Sheridan receives an eerie phone call of unusual proportion. His sister, Jamie Leighton reaches out and quickly unveils the plague that has consumed her. She complains of an infernal, insatiable hunger. Even her husband or two daughters Jesse and Trina couldn’t subdue her carnal behavior. The call is abruptly concluded to disturbing, blood curdling screams.
Distraught, he bolts off like a bat out of hell from his Atlanta home on the highway to investigate the peril he suspects has transpired. On scene several elements indicate the awry. The door is left open, the children are no where to be found and his brother in law is a barely identifiable cadaver impaled and torn to shreds. Some sort of beast seems to have preyed upon his flesh in ravenous predatory fashion.
After understandably vomiting beyond dry retching, Flex grapples with pulling himself together. Trina, his beloved niece is found hiding to his relief. We’re given the first indication of the humanistic subtext and themes as Uncle Flex wrestles with how much he should disclose to the child and how much to fib with intent to protect her fragile mind.
Bad leads to worst: as Jamie is discovered in an infected state chanting a mantra of constant hunger. To thwart her cannibalistic tendencies, Sheridan wraps and secures her in the vinyl pool cover; not before another diseased tries to devour Flex on the run.
We’re introduced to our second illustration of sheer heart breaking humanism as the other niece Jesse is found in the pool drowned. Shelman’s insertion of raw emotional humanism greatly contributes to a more realistic surreal back drop. He sets up a more believable conflict, causing the reader no more alternative than to root for our perpetual protagonist.
With sister Jamie restrained and consoling Trina in tow, Flex is united with on again/off again girlfriend Gemma Cordoza or Gem for short. After an intimate, amorous reunion the three band together in search of survival tools, techniques and rations. Shelman’s knowledge of firearms is highlighted here. His research is thoroughly impeccable and impressive. Either that or perhaps the FBI should be notified of such an extensive background on guns, rifles and weaponry…hmmm….
But seriously his description of defense builds a solid belief in our characters desperation and efforts to obliterate the army of the undead. Our protagonists are next found in a local abandoned police department. Here they meet Hemp a local doctrine extraordinaire of various degrees in physics, biology and engineering. Joining forces together they embark upon a quest to the government centre for poison and disease control. Here they search for survivors and cling in desperation to finding a cure for Flex’s beloved sister.
Without spoiling too much of the plot or conclusion, our pack meets Charlie a spunky post punk rocker in her late twenties. Will they find a cure for the rapidly spreading plague of the undead? Will sister Jamie be cured and reversed of the gnawing zombie disease? Sink your teeth into Dead Hunger and find out.
Eric A. Shelman has an unprecedented talent for painting a picture of graphic, bloody, gut searing, gross-out terror. Not to be taken lightly, the voice in which our tale is presented solely in first person perspective from Flex Sheridan’s eyes. Initially there was only one very minor strife with Shelman’s prose. An over indulgent amount of profanity and curse words infest the pages. Readers may argue this is an escapist technique for inability to describe or express in any other fashion.
Astoundingly Shelman justifies his own tactics in rare subtext within the actual story. As young Trina is being schooled in survival 101 such as proper use of guns, etc she’s given the official pass to curse like a sailor like our other heroes. She’s overjoyed at the epiphany they are nomads in a brave new world where the rules have changed and social etiquette bets as they’d once known are officially off.
Flex Sheridan’s voice has beckoned an intriguing tale as our conclusion hints into a sequel told in the eyes of Gem. Shelman has made it safe to digest genre horror once again. His unique slant delivers hope to fresh and crisp, new ideas that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and yes hunger for more.
Book Review: Dead Hunger – Author Eric A. Shelman