By: Ryan Brown
Read by: MacLeod Andrews
Produced by: Brilliance Audio – 2010
Approx. 9 hours (Unabridged)
There is a saying that ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’ and in Ryan Brown’s new novel, Play Dead, that saying is taken to a whole new level. Set in Killington, TX, a rural town where the residents fear God and love their high school football team – the Killington Jackrabbits. The story begins with Killington high school’s star quarterback, Cole Logan, being brutally attacked in an effort to prevent Cole from playing in the big playoff game against local rivals the Elmwood Heights Badgers. However their gruesome effort to prevent Cole only enrages him and serves as the impetus to seek revenge on the football field.
Following the incident with Cole, and a disastrous pep-rally, there starts to be doubt about whether the big game will be able to take place. After much tension and convincing, thanks to Cole’s determined will, school officials allow the game to take place – much to the sheriff’s disapproval. With tensions high, and tempers hot, the Killington Jackrabbits board their buss bound for the much-anticipated game against the Badgers. En route to the game a prank, perpetrated by the rival football team, goes horribly wrong and results in the death of all the Jackrabbit’s players with the exception of their coach and Cole.
While an investigation into the accident is ongoing, Cole’s neighbor, ‘Black Mona’, who just happens to be a huge Jackrabbit’s fan and witch, befriends Cole and convinces him that revenge is still possible on the football field thanks to her supernatural gifts. Black Mona can bring the dead to life, only for some reason this time her magic doesn’t work completely and the team is brought back as zombies. As zombies they are damned, and the only way to save their souls is to win a revenge game against the Badgers.
After having his work cut out for him in terms of reintroducing the team to a community that has mourned the loss if its football players, once again Cole comes to the rescue and makes the revenge match a reality.
The story Brown has created lends itself well to the audiobook format. However, Brilliance’s audio production was at times a little amateurish. Basic technical issues, such as hard ‘Ps’ or ‘Bs,’ were constant, and the overall audio production seemed like the narrator could have been recording this in his bedroom. Andrew’s however does a remarkable job with character voices. His pacing is great throughout, and very enjoyable. As a newcomer to the audiobook narrator field, Andrews’ has a great talent for becoming characters and telling a story. Despite the issues with its technical production, the narrator and story are strong enough to keep the listener engaged and interested in the story.
Play Dead is a story that is fun, exciting, funny, and filled with the classic horror and zombie story scenes, that make it easy to love. The dialog and writing are very convincing without being juvenile or forced. A highly recommended title for anyone who enjoys a classic zombie or horror story.