Cover of State of Decay by James Knapp

State of Decay by James Knapp


Cover of State of Decay by James Knapp

From the cover…

They call them revivors – technologically reanimated corpses – and away from the public eye, they do humanity’s dirtiest work. In the near future, where a never-ending war drones on, they are the infantry. Back home, they sustain a black-market trade in labor and pleasure models.

Nico Wachalowski is an FBI agent investigating the revivor black-market. While undercover to bust a smuggling ring trading in revivors for the sex trade, Nico uncovers something far more sinister.

Someone wants to start a war, and the best front line troops are the ones that are already dead.

(Ed. Note: I received a copy of this book for review at no cost to me. )

My Opinion

State of Decay doesn’t really strike me as a zombie story. The revivors are more like meat puppets, a classic sci-fi concept recently explored in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Though, admittedly, this version is slightly creepier than Eliza Dushku.

The good news for fans of the undead is that there are some great zombie mythos elements included. For instance, there’s a good explanation for the cannibalistic behavior exhibited by older models of walking dead. That problem has now been solved. If you want your army of reanimated corpses to strike fear into your enemies by devouring flesh, there’s a simple, and illegal, modification.

Yes there are flesh-eaters, one of the main characters has the scars to prove it, but the necro-ambulism isn’t contagious. The dead are revived by science. (Science! Muwahahahahahaha!) It seems to take a lot of very high level technology, and a couple of quarts of synthetic blood. Overall the revivors come across as an unsettling, and sometimes frighteningly human, hybrid.

Some of the science is a little wobbly. I’m not talking about the fictional future science either, but the stuff we already know. For instance, there is a substance in the book that dissolves necrotic flesh. It’s used to melt the revivors if things get out of hand. The problem is that there’s nothing left behind. Where did the mass/matter go when the bodies melted? They should leave something behind. It could be ash, sludge or vapor, but some sort of residual matter should be left.


James Knapp uses characters type to great effect. They are very familiar, because we’ve seen characters like them before. That’s not a bad thing. Since we have a pretty good idea what they’re like, then all we need are a few details to round them out. We don’t have to spend a lot of time getting to know them. We can use that time learning about the zombie-tech and it’s history. That helps to get the story going and keep it moving.

  • Federal Agent With A Dark Past.
    Nico Wachalowski is a federal agent and a First Tier Citizen thanks to his military service. Nico got more than top level citizenship out of his tour, he also got some hard lessons and some scars, and scars like those come with nightmares.

  • Female Cop.
    Faye Dasalia is a homocide detective investigating a very strange string of murders. Faye takes her job very seriously and works hard, maybe too hard for her own good.

  • Tough Chick.

    Calliope Flax is a Third Tier Citizen fighting to get by, literally. She makes her living inside a cage, fighting for a screaming crowd. She’s lived a hard life, and she has become hard because of it.

  • Psychic Shut In.
    Zoe Ott is different from other people. She sees things and, even worse, she knows things. She’s not crazy though, she’s not that lucky.


State of Decay is worth picking up. James Knapp has written an engaging story with characters that grow from their experiences, the ones who survive anyway… and maybe even a couple that don’t.

I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series. There’s more to this story and I can’t wait to see how things will turn out.

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