“1,139 days since I’d heard the chatter of my friends, since I’d seen the sky….98,409,600 seconds since I’d felt the sun on my skin.” In The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker, Sherry keeps exact count of how long it’s been since she has experienced normal life. Together with her parents, brother, sister, Grandma and dead Grandpa in the freezer, her family has been living in a secure bunker. Now the food is running out.
Her father built the bunker when reports of a severe rabies virus with strange mutation filtered through Los Angeles. Despite his careful planning, he hadn’t calculated on his kids eating more as they grew older. He has also lost radio contact with other families and even the military warnings on a recorded loop have stopped.
Sherry is sick of her parents fighting, and the obsessive clacking of the knitting needles of her Grandma who hasn’t handled her husband’s death well. When her father makes the decision to open the bunker and go out to find food lest his family starve, Sherry leaps at the opportunity to join him. One of the best parts of the big is the suspense generated when they open the doors as you wonder what kind of world they will find outside.
Although their own suburban neighborhood is largely intact, downtown Los Angeles has been bombed into oblivion and the only people outside are the two dead bodies of neighbors which have been mangled until they are barely recognizable. Not finding any food in nearby houses, father and daughter do what any American would, they make a trip to Walmart to look for supplies. However, they find more than canned food and towels in the aisles of the store and Sherry’s father disappears and Sherry herself is attacked and then rescued by the hunter Joshua.
Joshua is one of the few people who have been surviving outside of the bunkers and after rescuing Sherry and the remainder of her family from their bunker, and the two team up on a hunt to find and save her father from the Weepers.
For traditionalist zombie fans, the Weepers don’t fit the stereotypes; they are fast, smart and their appearance is very different than zombies in other stories. However, they aren’t the biggest threat in the world outside, there is something more sinister than monsters that Sherry and Joshua plan to face in the next book….The Life Beyond.
I almost passed this book by because the cover was so cheesy, but it appears that there was a much better alternate cover on other copies. This was a fast read and there was plenty of action. Yes, there weren’t as many moral dilemmas in this book as some other dystopian fiction, but sometimes you just want a salad and not an entrée.