No, I’m not talking about the Bruce Springsteen album — although I do have that album and have enjoyed it a great deal. The Boss doesn’t do zombies. And this is a zombie novel. Steamboat Wille lent it to me so if there is some reason I end up disliking the book, I can conveniently blame him and escape any sense of culpability. As an aside, after about fifty pages in, I am enjoying it, so I think he’s off the hook. The Rising is the first novel by Brian Keene. It won Keene a Bram Stoker Award in 2003. It’s the story of a zombie uprising, but an uprising unlike the more familiar George Romero fashion.

I’ve learned that The Rising is actually the first in a two-part series of zombie novels by Keene. The second is the novel, City of the Dead. Keene is a new author for me. I’m intrigued by his take on the zombie legend. Keene’s zombies are intelligent. They are smart; they have a purpose. They want more than to shamble aimlessly around the shopping mall and consume.

From the back cover:

Nothing stays dead for long. The dead are returning to life, intelligent, determined … and very hungry. Escape seems impossible for Jim Thurmond, one of the few left alive in this nightmare world. But Jim’s young son is also alive and in grave danger hundreds of miles away. Despite astronomical odds, Jim vows to find him — or die trying.

Joined by an elderly preacher, a guilt-ridden scientist and an ex-prostitute, Jim sets out on a cross-country rescue mission. Together they must battle both the living and the living dead … and the even greater evel that awaits them at the end of their journey.