« Invisible Fences / Norman Prentiss | Main | Strange Magic / Gord Rollo »

Deadfall / Shaun Jeffrey

Leucrota Press / March 2010
Reviewed by: Anthony J. Rapino

Shaun Jeffrey’s third novel, Deadfall, is a noticeable departure from his last effort. Where The Kult played out as a suspenseful murder mystery, Deadfall is an undeniable horror novel brimming with zombies and gore to prove it.

When a team member pulls out from a secret mission at the last minute, Amber Redgrave steps in to take his place. The operation proposed to the group of mercenaries is to retrieve two kidnapped children from a remote village. Amber’s partner and ex-lover, John Richmond, is not happy with her involvement, but with the wheels already in motion there is little he can do.

In Amber’s eyes, the entire mission – from its rushed conception to its questionable funding – was doomed. But being made team leader and offered an obscene amount of money, she couldn’t refuse. When an army of zombies pours from a mineshaft near the village, Amber’s reluctance to participate suddenly makes a whole lot of sense. It becomes painfully clear to the group that the kidnapping was a fabrication, and their new objective is simply to survive.

Meanwhile two activists, Lofty and Jill, discover a testing facility located within driving distance of their apartment and decide to explore. Unprepared and ill-equipped, the two bumble their way into the building, past cameras, security, and guard dogs. What they find inside is beyond their imagination, but they know they have to act quickly because it may mean saving the lives of the mercenaries.

Jeffrey hits all the right notes in Deadfall. Like The Kult before it, humor plays a large role in cutting through the tension he so perfectly creates. These moments of levity also build on the already fleshed out characters and create a bond between the reader and those on the page.

The descriptions of the zombies and their inevitable decimation are some of the most creative I’ve read in years and in a league all their own. Jeffrey moves far beyond mere headshots and evisceration, granting us access to great depths of depravity.

Perhaps most extraordinary is the significance given to the creation of the undead. Unlike so many other novels, it plays an integral roll in the story and is interwoven playfully throughout the leapfrogging plotlines. The reader can rest assured that not only will they discover the zombies’ origin, but why they were created and to what end.

The novel’s action dashes forward like a ravenous ghoul, building in tension and suspense until at last, with an adept hand, Jeffrey puts the bullet of a finale right between its eyes.

Purchase Deadfall by Shaun Jeffrey.

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 01:57PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend