If someone had told weapons specialist and ex-military member Amber “Big Red” Redgrave that a security assignment gone bad resulting in two deaths was going to be the best part of her day, she’d probably have stayed in bed. Fortunately for readers of author Shaun Jeffrey’s newest book, Deadfall, she didn’t.
Following the ill-fated security assignment that starts Deadfall off with a bang, Amber returns to the office for debriefing by agency owner and ex-SAS man, John Richmond. Though a lucrative and time sensitive matter has arisen, given the morning’s events he doesn’t want Amber involved and insists that she take some time to decompress.
Amber, however, wants to get right back into things, so when she takes a call from the client indicating that they need an additional team member she talks herself onto the mission team… without Richmond’s knowledge. Understandably, he is not pleased to see Amber later that day at the mission rendezvous point. It being too late to replace her, he begrudgingly accepts her presence.
The eight man team is informed that their mission is to rescue the client’s two children, who have been kidnapped. Though the wealthy client is willing to pay the ransom, he’s not convinced the kidnappers will actually release the kids even if he does. Therefore, having learned that the kidnappers are hiding out in a remote, abandoned mining village he wants the team to go in and get the kids back before the 24 hour ransom deadline expires. A classic insertion and rescue mission, right?
Not quite. Instead of finding the kidnappers and missing kids in the village, they find it eerily quiet and seemingly quite empty. That is until hundreds of people start pouring out of the abandoned mine shaft and begin attacking the team. As they try to repel the assault they notice that the people are not slowing down, let alone dying, despite being shot… unless it’s a head shot. Impossible as it seems, the team quickly realizes that they aren’t dealing with living people, but with the undead. And we’re not talking Night of the Living Dead shuffling, slow moving zombies. No, these are the 28 Days Later chase you down speedy kind of zombies, and the resulting fight by the team to stay alive and get back to civilization is a white-knuckled ride with gore aplenty.
But there’s more going on in Deadfall than just a good zombie romp. In addition to having to deal with scores of the undead, there’s the question of exactly who their client really is and why they were set up, as well as the realization that not all the team members are who they seem to be. Further, Jeffrey has given a unique twist to the origin of the zombies in Deadfall, one that is both believable and allows for an ending that manages to simultaneously wrap things up and leave them open, in equally satisfying measures.
First with The Kult and now with Deadfall, Shaun Jeffrey is quickly establishing himself as the ‘go to’ guy for high-intensity action. Having already demonstrated that he can write both traditional crime fiction and horror with equal skill, I can’t wait to see what Jeffrey serves up next!