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Zombies rule ‘City of the Dead’

In the acknowledgments kicking off “City of the Dead,” author Brian Keene thanks many people, including “all the fans who read ‘The Rising’ and wrote to me about how much the ending pissed them off.’ ’’

With “City of the Dead,” Keene gives his fans their ending, though it might not be the one they want.

The book begins right where “The Rising” leaves off, with Jim and his friends just narrowly escaping the clutches of the rogue U.S. military and the rotting zombie army killing everything in its path.

Jim and company make it to the house where Jim hopes his son — still alive — is hiding, and he rushes in. From that point on the novel moves at a breakneck pace as the small band of survivors seeks safety from the putrid fleshbags hunting them.

Keene really cranks up the action in this sequel with the undead trapping many survivors in a fortified New York skyscraper. (“Land of the Dead” anyone?) The seeping soldiers surround the building as the living begin to doubt their chances of survival.

Across the globe the zombies have taken over. Ob, their leader and master strategist, is pleased when he learns of a conquest from one of his minions.

“Three days ago, I was in a place called Tibet. Our kind knew it of old, of course, but that land has changed since we last walked the Earth. Our forces were victorious — the humans were eradicated, as were the other forms of animal life. Nothing lives there now. The entire continent has fallen.”

“So, the humans in those lands are defeated, eh? That is good news. Their population was among the highest on the planet. Well done. Here, have an eyeball.”

He held up a cardboard popcorn bucket, filled to the brim with eyeballs plucked from humans and animals. The zombie took a handful and chewed.

Obviously, “City of the Dead” won’t appeal to every reader, but lovers of horror are sure to be satisfied. Keene’s consistent in his work and isn’t afraid of taking risks, as he does in his latest novel, “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” which is far less gory than the author’s other books.

Gory or not, horror novels are meant to keep the reader entertained, and Brian Keene has proved himself a master at that.

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