Author: Jamie McGuire
Published: October 1st 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Lenght: 9 hrs and 38 mins
Source: Publisher for review
When the world ends, can love survive?For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone means fighting for tomorrow is an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?
I was very pleased to see that Red Hill placed 3rd in the GoodReads Choice Awards for Horror, with over 10 000 well-deserved votes, losing only to Stephen King and Joe Hill. While I myself voted for Parasite by Mira Grant, I considered Red Hill to be a close second and it thrilled me to see its quality recognized.
There are so few old school zombie books these days, pure end-of-the-world survival stories. Red Hill reminded me of movies like Dawn of the Dead, with its overall story, individual characters’ stories and the day-to-day struggle to survive. I could easily imagine this turned into a movie and even the smallest details came alive in my head beautifully.
Red Hill is told from three perspectives: Scarlett, a divorced nurse and mother of two pre-teen daughters, separated from them and desperate to find them; Nathan, a single father of one small daughter with special needs; and Miranda, a college student intent on taking her group of friends to her father’s Red Hill ranch where they have the best chance of surviving the apocalypse.
All three voices were done exceptionally well. I found myself enjoying all three perspectives equally. As a mother, I understood Scarlett’s desperate need to find her daughter and admired Nathan for his determination to keep his little girl safe, but Miranda was the one closest to me as a person. I found so much of myself in her that it was easy to understand her choices at all times, even when someone else might have struggled with them.
While characters are very much the heart of this story, there is plenty of blood and gore around them. Zombies are everywhere, fresh and hungry. McGuire never shied away from horrible, painful things. No character was ever safe. I expected a lot of things from Red Hill, but the emotional impact took me completely by surprise.
Emma Galvin, January LaVoy and Zachary Webber narrated this story. Emma Galvin is the only one I’ve had the pleasure of listening to before (Divergent, Allegiant, Forever) but the other two were just as good. They each added something to their POV character and turned this story into a spectacular listening experience.
If you enjoy old-school zombie books, Red Hill is a must read. I strongly recommend it to fans of Rihannon Frater’s As the World Dies trilogy and to all other zombie fans. I doubt there’s room for a sequel here, but Jamie McGuire is a versatile writer and I’m sure she’ll give us so many other books to look forward to in the future.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.