Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Benny Imura thinks his older half-brother, Tom, is a coward. After all, on First Night, the night when zombies began to reanimate—about 6 billion of them, actually—Tom, who was a young man, grabbed baby Benny from their mother’s arms and ran to safety. Benny often wonders why Tom didn’t help to save their mother or return to find her.
Of course, Benny has a lot more to think about. It’s been fourteen years since First Night, and now that Benny is fifteen, he needs to find a job or have his rations cut in half. Since he’s a bit lazy and more than a bit picky, he narrows his options until working with Tom is the only one left.
Working with Tom is no slacker job. Tom is a bounty hunter who kills zombies. How the coward Tom could do such a job is more than Benny can imagine until he tags along as an apprentice, venturing into the Rot & Ruin, or what was formerly the United States. There Benny learns of Tom’s true nature. While other bounty hunters create cruel games pitting zombies against lost children, Tom makes Benny understand that the ‘zoms’ were once people, and that families still care about how they are ‘quieted.’
Unlike any other zombie apocalypse book I’ve read, Rot & Ruin has interesting questions about ethics—right and wrong. Characters who are motivated to do good must also preserve their own lives. And those that are motivated to do bad—well, in the Rot and Ruin, they have lots of opportunities.
There’s plenty of zombie hunting and cutting down the living dead here. Action-packed, full of adventure in a post-apocalyptic world, Rot & Ruin still leads the reader to ask some big questions about life, death, respect, and the true meaning of courage.
Best zombie book I’ve read. Enjoy!