Tell Me When I’m Dead: Book One, by Steven Ramirez, is a horror thriller about a normal man who risked his life to save his loved ones, all the while learning what it means to be alive.
Dave had met the woman of his dreams, and was now in the process of getting his life together. But when an old friend goes missing, Dave is plucked out of his comfortable life and attempts to deal with the unwanted interruption. Things spiral further out of control when a woman by the name of Missy shows up, demanding that he leave his wife for her. As Dave’s slowly starts to unravel, and the body count continues to grow higher through the help of an unknown virus, he is left with a gruesome choice; either to wallow in his sorrows, or say alive. In this thrilling novel, Ramirez details an anti-hero’s struggles for family and love, and to find beauty in a world ruled by the dead.
Ramirez seemed like a weak willed man at first. Although he attempted to turn his life around for Holly, it seemed he was only going through the motions of life. He was so desperately trying to fit into Holly’s perfect little future that he even wound up alienating Jim, a good friend for so many years ago. What’s more, he’d even fooled around with Missy, even though he knew it was wrong. As each of the people he knew turned into the undead, I can’t help but feel like that he woke up in a sense, as he started to protect the people he cared about. It was an interesting inversion, the fact that he’d never been more alive at the end of the book, even though the rest of the nation, and presumably the world, had to die.
This very development showed that, despite the world was falling apart, people will still try to cling to what it means to be alive. For instance, although Aaron was a kid, he tried to save a girl who had clearly been turned, simply because he was blinded by his own morals. His father, Ben, was even less willing. They sharply contrasted to Dave, who managed to become a survivor in the brief amount of time he was given, and has tried to do whatever to took to make it back to Holly. The development of groups such as the Red Militia was also something to consider, since society had essentially descended into chaos. No one was taking anyone’s orders, and it was the end of the world. Despite all the rules that Dave had thrown out, somehow, he managed to bring with him morals, and the basic beliefs of love and family. It goes to show that these things are truly timeless, whatever horror may come. While this concept had been explored in a variety of zombie novels, it’s still a wonderful idea to explore, even if it is a little cliche.
The detail was absolutely stunning. I could practically see the undead in front of me, the blood and gore and worms just crawling out of their bodies. The action scene was crisp, and the emotions were turbulent, so much so I found myself painfully reading word after word, just waiting for something to happen.
The book was a good read. Ramirez’s take on the anti-hero was rather intriguing, a sort of double edged sword that led him to a better life than the one he had now. The details were beautiful, and the concepts of thriving and timelessness was also wonderful. As such, I would give this book a 4.0 out of 5.0 stars, and would recommend this book to those who love apocalyptic books in general.
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