One of Dr. Larsen’s strengths as a writer is his ability to characterize, as I’m quite certain all of his readers will agree. Personally, I enjoyed the lead-up through Operation Z-Day’s rising action, especially when the reader was able to become more intimate with the thoughts, actions, and dialogue presented from the primary cast’s varying backgrounds and perspectives. One of my favorite introductions was to that of Ziggy, a colorful police officer who will undoubtedly play a more significant role per book two of The Raven Falconer Chronicles.
One aspect I hope readers don’t misinterpret as a caveat is the book’s length. Even though Operation Z-Day is on the shorter side, the story has multiple plots running through it. Yes, the crux may be an unconventional zombie apocalypse due to an airborne virus, but the author underlies the aforesaid with Raven’s internal conflict—a crucible of individualistic proportions. Raven must trade in her selfless optimism for realistic gut-wrenching self-preservation. As author Dennis Larsen personifies her as a “fiercely independent survivor,” Raven Falconer is a force to be reckoned with.
Since this story takes place in real-time Canada, that was another fantastic wrinkle I enjoyed; Mr. Larsen accentuated the experience with quality local color realism, highlighted with dialect and mannerisms that are characteristic of life above the United States’ northern border. Other things most readers should find appealing include Larsen’s creation of cannibalistic “huskers” (readers will have to digest the book in order to truly appreciate this label) who take on the role of uncharacteristic undead, able to hold onto some familiar memories and feelings while capable of methodical and systematic plotting.
Most of the horror element in this book is subtle, but what smash-and-dash violence that is provided is detailed and exciting. Subsequently, Larsen’s pacing is spot-on as he provides enough complications and crises that are not even zombie-related to keep readers on their toes.
The only forewarning I would extend is to readers who hold enmity toward overly-sympathetic threads, as this particular book has a few that border cliché. Even with that said, readers who enjoy this particular genre undoubtedly expect some degree of formula, which may in fact work towards the author’s advantage in terms of book sales.
If you are looking for a solidly written and fast-paced apocalyptic read, look no further than Operation Z-Day. At .99 cents per e-book, this is a solid investment that should hook you into reading its sequel.