Review: Scott Shoyer's Outbreak: The Hunger

Posted on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 by

Sometimes you sleep on things that are really excellent, and that's what I did with sharing Scott Shoyer of Anything Horror's debut novel Outbreak: The Hunger. Scott mailed me a copy of his book in 2015 and I've just gotten around to reviewing it in the spring of 2017. Life is weird, y'all. 

I read Outbreak: The Hunger in the late summer of 2015 when I was in New Jersey filming Comic Book Men. (In fact, my United Airlines luggage tag is still in my copy as a bookmark.) Reading Outbreak was a fun way to keep me sane during a nervous four-day trip.

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I grew up watching George Romero movies but as I've gotten older, (don't kill me guys,) I've tired of the zombie genre. I can still appreciate a classic zombie film and will catch the occasional modern genre flick, but Outbreak: The Hunger was my first zombie novel and I'm happy it was.

Outbreak: The Hunger gives a unique perspective to the zombie genre. From its synopsis:
What starts off as a fun day at the zoo for John and his young daughter Fi quickly turns into a waking nightmare. Now they and a small group of survivors are fighting for their lives against a pack of animals that seem somehow altered. 
Was it nature or man who altered them?  
In a top secret research facility in Texas lies the answer. But will the scientists and soldiers find the answer before it's too late and the infection spreads to Man? 
No one is safe from the hunger that grows inside! 
Outbreak only comes in at 199 pages and is an action-packed, fast-paced read. I couldn't put it down. It's exciting, fun and from my experience, a good introduction to the genre. Shoyer has taken his experience as a horror reviewer, interviewer, and blogger and skillfully translated it into a fiction piece. Outbreak: The Hunger is a well-written gem, especially for a first-time novelist.

Shoyer has a way of keeping the plot feeling realistic and not so fantastical that the story isn't believable, which I think is tough to do when writing a horror novel. Outbreak: The Hunger's zoo setting is so relatable to anyone that has spent time with children and will scare parents to death. Your zoo experience will never feel the same.

I liked that Outbreak: The Hunger's protagonist, John, is really normal and the rest of the characters we get to meet in more depth feel like real people. Though we follow along with separate groups of characters, everything ends up flowing together like a great anthology film. I felt genuinely invested in John and Fi's story and was rooting for them throughout.

Outbreak: The Hunger has so much to enjoy and is a treat that horror fans will enjoy from cover to cover. Don't sleep on it like I did.

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