Fiend - Peter Stenson Holy shit.

Being a fan of zombies and living in a small farming town with a notorious meth problem (we seem to be a big supplier between Indianapolis and Chicago), I couldn't resist Fiend. I admit, I read this for the novelty aspect of it.

What did I get? A fine book full of zombies, meth-heads, dark humor, human interaction during social breakdown, and full-fledged literary merit. Well done, Stenson.

The entire novel moves at breakneck speed, appropriate both for the druggie POV and the doomsday zombie scenario. I love how Stenson didn't screw around with a long build-up to where the story really starts, he simply cut to the chase and BOOM! Zombie girls eats rottweiler! The story starts at a dead run and never really lets up, the lulls being just long enough to take a breath before they're off again. Brilliant pacing.

There were some hiccups in the latter half of the book, certain situations felt derivative, an unfortunate occurrence that is nigh on impossible to avoid, considering how popular the zombie genre has become. However, the cleverness of Stenson's setup and original premise of the meth-using main character kept this fresh even in those few moments where you might experience a bit of deja vu.

And that ending! A sucker punch to the gut, the kind that sticks in the back of your brain after you've finished reading, the kind that is perfect and awful and writers like to shy away from.

While I can't comment on all the Walking Dead meets Breaking Bad comparisons (I only watch Walking Dead religiously, have only seen a partial episode of Breaking Bad), I can say that this is an excellent read, highly recommended. Stenson has definite skill for characters and story-telling, can't wait to see more from him.

Fiend is a breath of fresh air in a genre that's been flooded with crap the last couple years. Well done!