Review: Lockdown by Samie Sands

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  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Triplicity Publishing, LLC (April 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988619695

Available in print and ebook

Zombies have become ubiquitous in movies, television, books and even music videos. But Samie Sands’ zombies have a solid core of realism, thanks to her viable storyline about their creation in her debut novel, Lockdown

Leah Watton, a freshly hired TV news researcher for a local news program in a small English town, sends a video clip and her written summary about zombies as a joke to her co-worker, Jake, on whom she has a major crush. Only it is the station manager, Jamie King, who receives it in error. Fearful for her job, Leah is summoned to the boss’ office. Expecting to be fired, she finds out that he wants her to send him the background information and the link to the video. She does so immediately, and is relieved to find she still has her job by the weekend.

However, the story accidentally ends up on Friday’s 10:00 pm news, and for Leah, chaos ensues. Soon the whole office is researching the zombie story and providing updates to national news services. A virus called AM-13 has infected several people in Mexico, and has begun to spread around the world. When the first AM-13 virus victim appears at London’s Heathrow airport, British authorities decide to impose a lockdown on all uninfected citizens, confining them to their homes or workplaces. Leah and her colleagues have 10 days to prepare to spend an indefinite time sealed up in their news station’s office.

Once the lockdown is imposed, all the news station workers find it supremely irritating. Leah and her best friend Michelle come up with a plan to escape from lockdown and get to their families some distance away. Eventually Jake joins them on their breakout so he can see his son, who lives with his hostile mother. When we learn the characteristics of these new zombies, Sands uses foreshadowing effectively to show Leah’s concern that Jake has been infected by the virus, and is showing the signs of becoming one. Sands also subtly hints at how Leah herself is devolving into a zombie. Sands errs slightly in not telling us early on that Leah is a vegetarian – this would have increased the suspense as readers watch for Leah’s first change in “appetite”. The late stage at which this detail is revealed makes it feel a bit contrived.

Leah, a lively girl in her early twenties, is the first-person narrator throughout the story. Sands has her speak in a stream-of-consciousness style, wherein Leah’s new blue shoes, gossip and parties occasionally take precedence over her work. This light and bubbly background keeps a truly menacing story from bogging down, and helps us root for Leah and her friends to the end.

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