I finished ‘Feed,’ the first of the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant, quickly, and did not wait at all to pick up ‘Deadline.’ Grant is a master of the cliff hanger. I simply had to know what happened next. ‘Deadline’ picks up right after ‘Feed’ and is narrated primarily by Shaun Mason, everyone’s favorite Irwin. He is a changed man. The events that took place after the end of the campaign left him and the staff of ‘After the End Times’ scarred. The events, however, left Shaun in worse shape than anyone else. He hears voices in his head and he answers them. Those closest to him deal with it, but it is unsettling to those outside of his insulated circle. Shaun is no longer a carefree, devil-may-care Irwin. He has changed his focus to helping Mahir with the administration of the site despite the general roar from the public wanting him to go back to poking dead things with sticks. It’s what they love him for.
The plot of this book surrounds the CDC and their involvement, scientific methods, and potential conspiracies with the Kellis-Amberly virus(what causes humanity to become zombies). One day Doctor Kelly, Doc, shows up at Shaun’s headquarters in Oakland with information that Irwin’s don’t understand and the Newsies only are getting a glimmer of understanding before a full outbreak takes out Oakland, and ‘After the End Times’ headquarter. The assumption – it could only relate to what Doc knows, the timing of her visit, and knowing who has the power to cause this kind of incident.
Shaun and his team go completely off grid in towns that have long since been abandoned by civilization and surrendered to the walking dead. There are several people who live this way, including scientists that work outside the rules of the CDC. Shaun and his team get to know the mad scientists as they unravel what is really going on.
The tale is more disjointed than ‘Feed.’ It does not flow as well, but it will still suck you in. It’s an intriguing book, but at times you will feel bored and other times not understand character motivation and involvement. Shaun is very changed, as I mentioned above, and it can be hard to completely sympathize with his anger, desire to stay crazy, and his lack of compassion for those surrounding him. A problem I’ve always had with characters is when they start acting like petulant children. Let me fair, however, Shaun has reason to act out.
Mira Grant is great at providing some exceptional twists. Ones I refuse to give you and ruin the surprise. All I will say is George still has a part to play, and there is one deliciously large twist at the end that raised my evaluation of the book. If you loved ‘Feed’ continue to ‘Deadline’ accepting it will not be quite as good. If you were lukewarm on ‘Feed,’ I recommend stopping here.