Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
(from the back of the book)
Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes. Vigilantes. Crusaders for justice, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place.
Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Despite the best efforts of the superheroes, the police, and the military, the hungry corpses rose up and overwhelmed the country. The population was decimated, heroes fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland like so many others.
Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his companions must overcome their differences and recover from their own scars to protect the thousands of survivors sheltered in their film studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. The heroes lead teams out to scavenge supplies, keep the peace within the walls of their home, and try to be the symbols the survivors so desperately need.
For while the ex-humans walk the streets night and day, they are not the only threat left in the world, and the people of the Mount are not the only survivors left in Los Angeles. Across the city, another group has grown and gained power.
And they are not heroes.
I like superheroes and I like zombies and there are plenty of both in this story. There is a lot of rather gory action where people and zombies alike get torn apart. But there is a lot more going on than the fight against the zombies. There is the conflict with another group of humans and the characters have lots of personal issues. There is the struggle for survival when food and supplies run short. The need for heroes and symbols of hope in a time of despair is addressed along with the resentment of the people without super powers for those with them. So although most of the plot is nothing new to people familiar with the genre there is enough here to make it worth a look even after all the other zombie books. The heroes are flawed and not idealized which makes them more real. And the story is told in alternating chapters of ‘then’ and ‘now’ which gives the characters a past that I hoped would help develop the characters. Unfortunately all the flaws, issues, and background failed to make any of the characters truly interesting. So though there are good points here, with so much of it being about characters I couldn’t care about it was hard to pay attention some times. It is an interesting twist on both the zombie and the superhero genre but the concept is better than the story.