Resident Evil: City of the Dead

Author:  S.D. Perry

Published By: Titan Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                I enjoyed reading Resident Evil: Caliban Cove so much that I decided to forego mixing up my book reading genres and move right on into the next novel in the Resident Evil series, City of the Dead.  I couldn't wait to see what would happen to our heroes next.  Little did I know that I wouldn't really be seeing much of them in this novel.

                In City of the Dead, we travel back to Raccoon City.  Rebecca, David and John are still out in Maine during the events of this novel.  Things are getting hot in Raccoon City as the cannibal murders start picking up again.  The remaining members of the former Raccoon City S.T.A.R.S. team, Chris, Barry and Jill, are heading out, planning on taking it to Umbrella at their headquarters in Europe.  They get out just in time.

                About a week later, Claire Redfield, Chris Redfield's younger sister, is making her way towards Raccoon City.  Having heard very little from Chris during the original cannibal murder crisis, Claire has heard nothing from him in over a week.  After making an attempt to contact someone in Raccoon City, from friends to the local police department, and getting nothing but a busy signal, Claire has begun to worry.  What has happened to her brother?

                Meanwhile, Leon S. Kennedy is travelling from New York City to Raccoon City to start his first day on the job in the Raccoon City Police Department.  Already running late, Kennedy speeds it up to make time and is jarred when something runs across the highway in front of his jeep.  The fact that the thing looked the size and shape of a dog, but that something was very wrong with its coat, doesn't sit long with Leon as the thing darts off into the woods immediately after running in front of his vehicle.  What does bother Kennedy is the fact that, upon arriving at Raccoon City, it appears to be deserted...and smells  like rotting meat.

                Claire and Leon eventually meet after a run-in with what is left of Raccoon City's residents - T-Virus infected zombies hunting them for food.  They are separated, but agree to meet at the RCPD Headquarters where they will hopefully find officers willing to help.  Unfortunately, each of our main characters discovers that the police headquarters has been overrun and that the survivors are not quite the law abiding citizens one would expect to find fighting the zombies.

                Claire has a run-in with the completely unhinged Police Chief and manages to get away, only to be stalked by a decidedly inhuman goliath of a creature that doesn't want to die and seems to be hunting down a little girl.  That girl just happens to be Sherry Birkin, daughter of the Umbrella lead scientists developing the T-Virus mutations.  Something about this creation of the Birkins has it hunting down their daughter. 

                Meanwhile, Leon runs into Ada Wong, a woman pretending to be looking for her Umbrella Corps boyfriend.  She's actually an operative working for the elusive Trent, hunting down the latest strain of Umbrella viruses - the G-Virus.  With orders to return to Trent with a sample of the G-Virus and Umbrella Corps breathing down her neck trying to attempt the same sort of extraction, Ada can allow nothing to stand in way, including a rookie cop, however attractive and well-meaning he may be.

                Can Claire find a way to keep herself and Sherry alive despite the monstrous new mutations that have been released by the secret Raccoon City Umbrella laboratory?  Will Leon discover what Ada is up to before it's too late?  Will Claire and Leon ever find each other?  Will anyone survive the monsters of Raccoon City?

                Oh man!  This book is awesome in the action sense.  Right away, you get a sense that things are escalating in Raccoon City, just from the news clippings at the beginning of the novel.  We are introduced to two new characters in this novel and I thought I might be disappointed with the fact that the S.T.A.R.S. I had become accustomed to were only briefly shown in this book.  The fact is, once I started reading and getting into the action, I couldn't have cared less.  Claire and Leon are interesting characters in their own right and worthy of carrying the storyline in this book.

                I loved the twists and turns, the hidden passageways, the new and never before seen monsters, the explanation for some of the monsters we see in the games and movies (Lickers, Tyrants, etc.).  The book is supposed to be a novelization of the video game Resident Evil 2 and only differs in a couple of ways, mainly in that the book allowing us to skip the puzzles and key gathering of Ada Wong in preference of allowing us to experience all the adrenaline pumping action experienced by the characters as they race against time to escape the undead and unearthly Umbrella creations inhabiting Raccoon City.

                And speaking of a race against time - the way S.D. Perry wrote that countdown sequence was great.  It brought back memories of Ellen Ripley racing against time to save Newt from the colony's reactor system based hive in Aliens.  Every scene in which the monotone voice reminded us how little time was left had me biting my nails, thinking, "Hurry up!  Hurry up!"  Loved it!

                In fact, I loved the whole book from start to finish!  I so want to check out the next book in the series, but I don't want our whole G-POP.net Halloween horror month to be covered in zombies.  There are other scary horror books, movies and soundtracks out there that I have to cover.  So, I'll put the zombies aside for now.  But, rest assured, I'll be coming back to the series soon.  I want to know what happens in the next book in the series, Underworld.


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