Blindness is just the beginning. Once the virus strips away everything remotely human, all that’s left is a mindless savage predator.
Hank Mason thought he had nothing left to lose, but now that he is all that stands between a young girl and a gruesome fate, he’s sworn to protect her with his very life. But the virus isn’t done yet. A new, deadlier terror is slowly emerging, and even as Mason and Mackenzie battle their way from one horror to the next in a desperate flight through a world gone mad, they both know that their time is running out.
The girl is already blind, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.
Stage 3 by Ken Stark
I attribute Ken Stark’s Stage 3 novel for single-handedly rejuvenating my love for the zombie genre. It’s that good.
** Some spoilers below **
The novel begins with protagonist Hank “Mace” Mason on a commercial flight heading towards San Francisco, CA. Hank seems ornery, partially hung-over from drinking too much scotch during the flight while also wallowing in misery over fractured relationship with his girlfriend “Becks.”
As Mace slowly awakens, he pulls off his headphones and hears complete pandemonium on the plane. Let the adventure begin!
After a quick chat with a blind flight attendant, Mace learns no one on the plane, including the pilots, can see anything. Except for Mace.
Mace must assist the pilots land the plane successfully, but as that’s going on, pandemonium turns into insanity in the cabin. After the plane lands, Mace quickly exits the craft as emergency services begin to assist evacuating the blind off of the plane.
Only then do readers catch a glimpse of zombie action, but the story continues on following Mace on his way home, leaving the action in the airport alone…for now.
It doesn’t take Mace long to realize what happened aboard the plane is also happening throughout the city. As he makes his way home, Mace encounters more newly blind people.
Thinking there was a new type of flu going around causing the issues he observed, Mace decides to lock himself in his apartment for six days of isolation. He closes the blinds, leaves the television, computer, and his mobile phone off.
A week later Mace learns the hard way that the world he knew merely a week ago was gone, forever.
At this point the action and thrills that make the book so good pick up the pace. Readers find themselves on the edge of their proverbial seat, unable to put the book down. It only gets better from here.
Mace Meets Mackenzie
Stage 3‘s other protagonist enters the story later in chapter five. We meet Mackenzie, the wisest and most clever girl in San Francisco. Also a victim of the new pandemic, “Mack” lost her vision but her ability to hear significantly increased.
Mack and Mace team up and Mace agrees to help Mack search for her aunt, Sarah.
The duo make their way through sewers, hoards of zombies, the medical facility where Aunt Sarah works as a nurse, and back again.
The author perfectly builds each character up throughout the book, developing the relationship between Mace and Mack into a pseudo father-daughter relationship. And it’s believable and makes for the best part of the book.
Will Mace and Mack find Aunt Sarah? Will Mack suffer the ultimate fate that everyone who went blind did – becoming a zombie?
Pick up a copy and find out for yourself. You won’t regret it.
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