Book Review: Deck Z by Chris Pauls & Matt Solomon

What happened to the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic? Did it strike an iceberg and sink in the early hours of 15th April 1912? Did it actually go down in history as the worst maritime disaster ever? Yes, we know this is the case. But what happened in the hours leading up to that fateful night. Some say the official events don’t match up to what really happened.

Many have theorised that the Titanic disaster was an insurance scam gone wrong. This book doesn’t want to tell you that story, nor of star-crossed lovers from across the class divide who are able to defy physics against a powerful vortex as the ship sinks. No, in this story the Titanic suffered a zombie outbreak. This book was on Kindle Daily Deal several years back when it piqued my interest. I was attracted to its quirky take on a well-told story and what a tale the writers have for you.

An outbreak of suspected bubonic plague in China leads to a zombie plague and one man’s determination to find a cure for a disease he calls “The Toxic”. Taking a sample, he boards the ill-fated ocean liner to the USA where he hopes to develop a cure. But tragedy strikes. Not only the history we know but a zombie outbreak in which hundreds of passengers are infected – putting the world’s most famous ship in danger from the moment it launches.

Anybody who knows Titanic lore will recognise several of the famous names here. The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Captain Smith, J. Bruce Ismay and Thomas Andrews all feature in this action-packed thriller across the ship’s decks from the steerage to the first class. Any zombie story is tense in itself but the isolated and limited space of the ship – regardless of its size – compounds the situation for the protagonists. They can’t go anywhere and they can’t really evacuate as they are in the middle of the Atlantic. This makes an ideal setting for a zombie story – I’m only surprised nobody tried it before.

I must commend the writers for meticulously mapping the enormous ship. This is the sort of basic research you must get right or get vilified for it. People are passionate about historical accuracy. The details are too many to have been to be off the cuff, so I can only assume they wanted to get this element right for the sake of realism. Congratulations too for integrating it so seamlessly. That would have been an easy mistake to make for a book that is essentially a thriller.

My only complaint is that the editing could have been a little tighter. I didn’t spot any typos, but some of the text could have run a little more smoothly than it actually did. This is an issue with self-published work and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it too. Overall, this is a fun book, a real page-turner and a great read when you want something engaging without being too heavy. Great job! 4/5


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