James Phelan was born on the 21st of May, 1979, in Melbourne, Australia. His creative spirit was nurtured from a young age, and he credits his overactive imagination to being exposed to such works as The Hobbit, Treasure Island, The Jungle Book, and The Little Prince.
Chasers, by James Phelan, is the first in a trilogy of post apocalyptic survival novels set in New York. The novel follows a young boy named Jesse as he struggles to survive in a decimated version of the New York City he once knew, and to top it all off the city is filled with rabid zombies intent upon drinking his blood. Is it just me, or is there a trend here? It seems that there have been an abundance of survival horror novels these past couple of years, and to be honest my patience is wearing a little thin with them. The concept behind these novels is brilliant, but after a while the dozens of almost identical stories get to you.
Thankfully, Chasers is excellently written, so even if the idea behind the novel is somewhat overused, at least it’s been used well in this case. The plot is crisp, sharp and thoughtful, the
characters are clearly defined and complex and the setting itself is ominous verging on terrifying. What’s not to like? Well, sad as I am to say it, quite a few things. As good as the characters are, a lot of their dialogue is unbelievable coming from 15-16 year olds, and while the setting and the plot are all good and thoughtfully created, the situation seems unrealistic. Now, it’s a zombie apocalypse book, so it’s not meant to be realistic, but the way the city deteriorated in just a couple of hours left me scratching my head. Other things, like the fact that the building the main characters reside in was completely empty of zombies or even bodies sounded slight off, and the fact that in a single week there were already bears wandering around the streets of New York. These are minor grievances, but in a book as good and sharp as this, the little things count.
Chasers is a very good read, and fans of apocalyptic horror and zombies will not be disappointed. What’s good is that the horror isn’t laid on too thick, so even those who aren’t comfortable with zombies, crumbling cities and lone survivors should still be able to enjoy this book for what it is; a story of survival.
I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for an absorbing read.
Read James Phelan’s blog.