The Incorporated Dead by Nick Keller and Ian Cannon is a story for zombie lovers. To be clear, it is not for lovers who are zombies; it is for “normal” people who like zombie stories. This is a story about the many permutations in character of Hoop, or Edward Hooper, a recent graduate from university looking for his first job so he could realize his part of the dream. Unfortunately, his first opportunity was with a marketing firm that had a pretentious vice president of marketing, Kym (with a “y”, never an “i”) Durant. The VP never took the time to get Hoop’s name right and insisted on calling him Eddy. Durant followed this up by giving Hoop creative advice on decorating his work cubicle. Hoop could do it any way he wanted as long as it suited Durant.
One day on his way to work Hoop got caught in a traffic jam, permanently. Traffic didn’t move, people did. And they were all running toward Hoop and away from something. People screamed for him to abandon his car and join them in fleeing. Whatever was chasing the people was catching and eating them. Those not eaten completely, those only bitten, became zombies. Hoop joined the crown and survived in safe zones with others who had managed to escape. A year passed. Hoop had never forgotten Kym and had decided to go back to his former place of employment in search of Durant. Hoop would be traveling through zones of Dwellers, people who had become zombies and now only acted aggressively when they found fresh food (humans). Hoop assumed Durant was now a Dweller but he wanted to go back and make sure. Once he found Durant, Hoop would kill him. To say that Hoop was fixated on vengeance is an understatement.
What follows are scenes of carnage and violence as Hoop travels in danger zones avoiding Dwellers when he can and killing them when he can’t. It seems the Dwellers, archetypical zombies, are slow, clumsy, unable to coordinate group action, and are easily killed. Hoop dispatches many until he gets to his old office building where a focused search for VP Durant can begin.
Hoop finds Durant but he is not a zombie. He had been hiding in a locked food storage facility for one year. The doors could not be opened from the inside. Almost crazy from lack of human contact, Durant comes around eventually to remembering both his former self and Hoop. But then a life-changing event happens, both for Hoop and Durant. It is one that I won’t describe because that would be a spoiler.
This should interest all fans of the Zombie Apocalypse. There are some interesting subplots that are not clearly explicated but I will leave those for readers of this genre to find. I received this book through an author giveaway and had an incorrect idea of what it was about. I am not a fan of zombie stories but found myself reading this with interest because of questions posed early in the story. It is not all gore, violence, and cannibalism but there was too much for me if this were a longer novel. In a short story format, it is still a “digestible” piece of writing. I would give the story four out of five stars for the interesting theme subplots I discovered but did not describe here.