Apocalyptic Organ Grinder by William Todd Rose

William Todd Rose reinvents the zombie story with a thrilling novella of a post-apocalyptic America where saviors are heroes . . . and heroes are killers.

A fatal virus—a biowarfare experiment unleashed on an unsuspecting world—has reduced the once-mighty United States to a smattering of tribes dueling for survival in the lawless wilderness. The 11408233disease-free folk known as Settlers barricade themselves in small villages, determined to keep out the highly contagious Spewers—infected humans who cannot die from the virus but spread the seeds of death from the festering blisters that cover their bodies.

Tanner Kline is a trained Sweeper, sworn to exterminate Spewers roaming the no-man’s-land surrounding his frightened community. As all Settlers do, Tanner dismisses them as little more than savages—until he meets his match in Spewer protector Lila. But when hunter and hunted clash, their bloody tango ignites a firestorm of fear and hatred. Now, no one is safe from the juggernaut of terror that rages unchecked, and the fate of humanity hangs on questions with no answers: Who’s right, who’s wrong . . . and who’s going to care if everyone’s dead? – Goodreads.com

The biggest thing I liked about this fast-paced story was that it was told both in Tanner’s and Lila’s perspectives – and there were arguments to be made for who was right and who was wrong in their motivations and beliefs.  Their world was extreme variations of shades of gray and the novella itself was dark and very disturbing at times.

What I didn’t like so much was the “fairy tales” in between some of the chapters that told of the coming of a hero and how the virus began.  Parts of it were just laughable and didn’t seem to fit in with the dark setting of the novel.  However, the action sequences were very vivid made me feel as it I were right there watching in person.  The author also did an excellent job in the character development of Tanner and Lila, showing the good, bad, and ugly of both.

All through the story, I wondered where the organ grinder came in and when it showed up, I thought it somewhat reminiscent of the imagery in some of Stephen King’s novels.  Although I suspected what the ending might be, it didn’t happen like I thought, so there was a little bit of a surprise there.  I would definitely recommend this for a quick, thought-provoking read.

This was a novella I received from Net Galley.

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