Favorite Character: The Red Man.
Synopsis: THEY OUTNUMBER THE LIVING...25 to 1. Those are the odds of being struck down-and resurrected-by the savage plague that's sweeping the country, forcing survivors to band together against the dead.
THEY'RE GROWING STRONGER...
Even among the living, there is dissention. A new leader known as the Red Man has risen up and taken charge-and he's nearly as dangerous as the hungry dead. Some, like Bob Richardson and his friends, strike out on their own. Because if the men with guns don't get them, the zombies will.
THEY'RE GETTING SMARTER...
Fleeing the cities, Richardson and his crew find sanctuary in an abandoned farm. But their stronghold may not be strong enough. Something strange and terrifying is happening to the undead. They're banding together. Working as a group. Hungering for a common goal: human flesh. And lots of it. ~Product Description.
My Thoughts: Mutated is the fourth installment of this zombie apocalypse saga, but I didn’t know that going in until I was already vested. It didn’t ruin the book for me and I was still able to follow with past events being sprinkled throughout without too much belaboring.
It is told in an omniscient point of view zeroing in on several characters and their journey through this dangerous and deadly landscape. The action is absolutely excellent and it is further expounded because there are many characters trying to survive. McKinney is a former police officer and knows his weapons, his fighting techniques and strategies using them to the advantage of the story.
The characters are strong. Some stronger than others, some kind of stumbling their way through trying to find their place in this epic saga. I was upset when the first main character died and kind of shocked because obviously they had been around for several books. I hated to get attached to a character only to have them rise as a zombie because their luck ran out. It frustrated me a bit but perhaps McKinney felt they had completed their job in the story.
I think the most interesting character is The Red Man. When I found out more about him I was creeped out. He is so sinister and evil and yet he rang true. His motivations are simple and his methods are brutal. He is by far the freakiest plot device/bad guy in the book and maybe that I have ever encountered. He is like the accident on the side of the road that you slow down to stare out. What makes him scarier is that he has a personal history and a bit of a vendetta against another character Niki Booth, who he actually knew as a teenager. Niki is a former cheerleader/honor student/do-gooder who turned into a kick-ass soldier to survive and protect her younger cousin. It is clear from this book that there is a long history with her in this series and she is an important player. I also loved Jimmy and Gabi Hinton and the complexities and understanding of their relationship. Nate is a naïve young man who I see growing in what he has to face next.
The Zombie mythology is used in a way that has not been done before. The Zombies are sick by stages and each stage denotes different symptoms and capabilities. Also what I found interesting is it’s not only just the zombies that the plot is driven by, but the desire and possibility of finding a cure to this affliction that has changed the world.
Although I did enjoy this book for the most, by the end I was a bit exhausted by all the fighting and I found myself wanting the culmination to come sooner than it did. It seems that this installment has wiped the playing field a little bit to make room for a new chapter so to speak of the Zombie Apocalypse in McKinney’s world. Another issue I had was that some of the typos pulled me out of the story, but shouldn't the editors have found those?
Recommendation: If you like kick-ass zombie novels with tons of action and a unique concept you may want to check out this series.