Book Review: Tooth and Nail by Craig DiLouie

“This is how the world ends: not with a bang, not with a whimper, but a SLAUGHTER. This is the story of the soldiers who fought to save it”

Take well armed unit of the US Military, a zombie outbreak, and throw them together in the middle of a crowded city capable of producing unlimited hoards, and you have the setting for Tooth and Nail.

Unlike in movies, it seems like the literary realm is oddly lacking in organized military versus the undead type. Reading this was a bit of a surprise and fairly significant change from the civilian survivor angle that I have come to expect when I pick up a new zombie book. To be honest I am not really into action books, as I think the action scenes tend to be poorly written, overly long, and get dull real fast. But that didn’t happen here as Craig DiLouie served up a plate full of zombapocolypse awesomeness.

Zombies versus the army.Tooth and Nail wastes absolutely no time by dropping you into the middle of chaos as a military unit diverted  from a tour in Iraq finds themselves trying to contain New York City during the initial stages of a virus outbreak initially called the “Hong Kong Lyssa Virus.” The situation quickly goes from chaos to outright pandemonium as every hospital and group of first responders are the first to feel the effects of the Lyssa Virus as it evolves into something far worse, changing people into hoards of viscous killers – what this military unit will later call “Mad Dogs.” Zombie purists will likely raise an eyebrow here as the zombies in this book relate more to those found in 28 Days Later than Dawn of the Dead. Personally I don’t care what type of zombies a story has as long as it’s a good tale, although I did once read a book where a zombie drove a car. I immediately stopped reading it. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far.

It doesn’t take too long when reading this book to realize Craig did an amazing amount of research for this book as it is technically sound from a military standpoint. Everything from the acronyms to soldiers cleaning their guns during down time rings true. Thankfully this never bogged down story by getting too technical like a tedious Tom Clancy book can. There was a grand effort to make this book as realistic and believable as possible which shows in its quality and attention to detail. The intention of this book was to theorize through a story what would really happen should an outbreak occur in a crowded city and I am not sure I can disagree with any of it.

While a story-driven tale, the book still had plenty of character development, which is something I must have to enjoy a good novel. Because of this, I found myself caring and cringing at what happened to various characters through the story as they made their way across the city. What made it so fascinating about this military unit is that it was a normal unit. These weren’t gung ho Special Forces types, which added to the human element and allowed the reader to still connect with the characters despite their being soldiers. These were normal people who happened to be in the military. They still felt fear but had the active military training and experience in Iraq to help them get the job done.

Tooth and Nail is an absolute page turner that never slows downs and lets you catch your breath. It maintains a high quality level of writing that leaves you being unable to predict what happens next. Craig is also the type of author who has no problem killing off a character, which adds a level of credibility to the story. I cannot recommend this book enough and I find it a great start for anyone who has yet to read zombipocolypse book. While reading other reviews, I noticed some people had negative opinions about the ending. I found it very satisfying as this is a stand alone book. There will be no prequel or sequels so it is its own story from start to finish.

Grade: B+

Tooth and Nail is published by Permuted Press, a industry leader in zombie and post-apocalyptic literature.

15 Comments

Calicade

I should attempt to pick it up. I haven’t read much with in the last few months, other than comments and short blog posts of course :P.

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Dave

I just went to one of their going out of business sales over the weekend. Even with everything 30-50% off, it was still grossly over-priced. It’s not wonder they went out of business. It’s a shame, I used to love Borders. I thought they were nicer and cheaper than Barnes and Nobel, but it seems like their business model changed and they went right to hell.

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zombiemutts

My biggest issue with them is the same issue I have with Barnes & Noble and it’s a seriously flawed inventory system they have in that they don’t understand the buying habits of readers. You take a popular series that has 2 to 10 books and they don’t take into account that people will not buy the same number of book 1’s as they do 7 for example. So book 1 runs out and left on the shelf is duplicate copies of other books in the series. That leaves me looking for other stuff to read and often I would wander out not buying anything. You keep sending a customer enough times to amazon to get the books they want it becomes habitual and then you’re doomed when the customer realizes they can instantly get books on their Kindle cheaper than your store, tax free. Especially when its avid readers you’re sending away.

And yeah on the business model…filling up expensive floor space with over priced DVD/CD’s and chocolate doesn’t make sense to me.

IStoleYurCar

Well I just ordered it from Barnes and Noble. They didn’t have any left in the store itself sadly. Looking forward to recieving it!

zombiemutts

Aw man….no worries about resurrecting an old thread. I am absolutely thrilled to hear what others think of any book.

(SPOILERS BELOW THIS LINE)

So tell me…what did you think of the ending? Some people were pissed. I thought it was perfect. Helicopter flying away as those that sacrificed were swarmed over by a tidal wave of undead. Fooking brilliant and I hate it when a story teller feels like everything needs to be finished all neat and tidy with the good guys winning. The humans lost big time. Done!

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IStoleYurCar

* MORE SPOILERS*

I personally thought the ending was great. I especially liked the helicopter that tried to fly away with mad dogs onboard and crashed into a building. It was that final sense of: we got out, but at a tremendous cost. My one complaint about the ending was: McLeod. I wanted him to get out of there So. Badly. Even thought it never says that he died, I wanted him OUT of there, not stranded. Not a huge deal, but I fell in love with that character.

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PDOG

Sorry but I have to bring this up again. I just finished reading this book.. it was just an side note that someone suggested. But oh my god, talk about finding a gem in a heap of coal.
This story is epic. There is no doubt about it. If a movie were made about it, it would blow away 28 days later.
Yeah the writing is not what you’d see from the pros on the NY times bestsellers
but fuck
It made me feel so many different emotions. I could not put this down. I was taken… it was so emotional. I love each and everyone one of those boys.
It was like Vietnam Hill 937, except in New York against an uncontrollable infection of madness.
There is no equal to this book that I have ever read or seen.
Fucking amazing shit.. if you love military shit and zombie shit, this is it.

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