The Dead Years by Jeff Olah! Zombie & Kettlebells! Oh my!

Article first published on RebeccasReads


The Dead Years: Volume 1

Jeff Olah CreateSpace 2013
ISBN 9781489505231
Reviewed by Cianna Reider for Rebecca’s Reads (7/13)

Grade: B-

First off, Zombies seem to be the hot topic nowadays, and I have read quite a few zombie novels, and have loved them all for their differences and similarities. In zombie novels, you expect an outbreak, a reunion, a band of outcasts, and a trip to a destination. Those are the hallmarks of any Zombie story.

Jeff’s book reads very much like a series, something you’d expect to find in a monthly magazine. It’s compact, easy to read, and gives you just enough of the story to keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next serial to come your way. Wondering what could happen to your favorite characters, making up ideas of your own. That’s what a good story leads itself to, and Jeff Olah is a very good storyteller.

In this first volume, the zombie outbreak has just begun (we are given no details for the cause of this outbreak, and how it spread so fast in this small suburb of a major city). We see people crowded around TVs, looking at computers, trying to understand why humans seem to be attacking and eating other humans. So the story starts by following Mason, a personal trainer, working at a gym. Within moments of him seeing the news broadcast, “Feeders” which the news dubbed the zombies, are on the attack outside the gym. Mason’s only goal is to get home to his estranged wife and teenage son.

The story jumps back and forth between Mason’s quest to make it home to his family, and his wife and son’s quest to make it from the school to their house which is just across a football field. Both stories are seemingly calm to begin with but as they progress, the zombies continue to multiply, and the heroes are forced to come to grips with this new reality in order to figure out a way to fight them and make it to their destination.

The story is at a critical juncture, just as night is falling on the newly infected city. Mason has recently learned some new information about the cause of the outbreak. Mason has gone to get some supplies, while the wife and son pack and hunker down until morning. This leaves us wondering, what will the hours between nightfall and 6am bring for this family?

Jeff’s story is interesting, short and quick to the end. The only issue I have with the story is the lack of showing. The characters tell you everything, without showing it to you. This tactic can often distance the reader, because though you’ve told the reader that the character is in anguish, the reader would rather see the character act that way.

Overall, this is a zombie story, and will appeal to all lovers of zombie culture. I can’t wait to see what happens to the family next!

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