E/view: Zombie Night in Canada: First Period

Local author Jamie Friesen brings the zombie craze--in all its gore and mayhem--to our own backyard.

BY EMIL TIEDEMANN

Jamie Friesen's 'Zombie Night in Canada.'
IT was the basis of several cordial arguments between my buddy Colin and I: If a zombie apocalypse feasted on hometown Edmonton, where would we barricade ourselves? Colin was adamant about surviving the pandemic within the grounds of the Edmonton Institution, while I preferred the benefits and comforts of one West Edmonton Mall. An unlikely scenario, but morbidly fun to debate over beers with buddies.

That's why I was excited to delve into Edmonton writer Jamie Friesen's debut novel Zombie Night in Canada: First Period, a look into how various insipid characters cope when Edmonton--along with the rest of the world--is overtaken by the "infected."

Friesen thoroughly explores the hypothetical behaviour of the military and police force in such a catastrophe, though he splits the novel into interspersed segments that also follows a group of civilians who take shelter in a Northside warehouse, doing whatever is necessary to stay alive.

Friesen also examines the effects a Canadian winter might have on the living dead, an aspect that hasn't been intensively probed--if at all--in other zombie books and films. And although even Friesen only trifles with the winter angle, it's a semi-original take on an ever-growing subgenre.

Despite a number of grammatical errors--an outcome common in self-publishing--and some cliche attitudes, Zombie Night is a rousing, apocalyptic narrative, perhaps more so because of its hometown homage, and only the first in a potential series.

With that said, don't expect to drift far into new territory amongst these types of books, but Zombie Night certainly delivers if you're a fan of the reanimated corpse genre that seems to be all the rage these days. No pun intended.

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