In One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning, David Moody returns to the world of his Hater trilogy with a new fast-paced, and wonderfully dark story about humanity’s fight for survival in the face of the impending apocalypse.
Fourteen people are trapped on Skek, a barren island in the middle of the North Sea somewhere between the coasts of the UK and Denmark. Over the years this place has served many purposes―a fishing settlement, a military outpost, a scientific base―but one by one its inhabitants have abandoned its inhospitable shores. Today it’s home to Hazleton Adventure Experiences, an extreme sports company specializing in corporate team building events.
Life there is fragile and tough. One slip is all it takes. A momentary lapse leads to a tragic accident, but when the body count quickly starts to rise, questions are inevitably asked. Are the deaths coincidental, or something else entirely? Those people you thought you knew, can you really trust them? Is the person standing next to you a killer? Will you be their next victim?
A horrific discovery changes everything, and a trickle of rumors becomes a tsunami of fear. Is this the beginning of the end of everything, or a situation constructed by the mass hysteria of a handful of desperate and terrified people?
What We Thought:
I was not familiar with any of David Moody’s previous books. I don’t think it hurt too much when reading One of Us Will Be Dead By Morning though. If I had read his work before, I would know the term hater he uses and how it represents a person who becomes a killer at random almost like a zombie, but more human. I don’t personally like the term hater and it seems very childish to me, but fans of his books are used to it and understand what he means by it.
As for this book, I enjoyed it. It’s a good story in a well established genre with some originality. The idea of an adventure group using an island as a getaway retreat makes for a great setting. A company goes to the island on retreat and team building and gets stuck there while the world around them falls apart. The setting feels claustrophobic and has an environment we don’t see in post-apocalyptic type stories.
The setting provides everything you need for this type of story. The environment of the island provides little shelter and dangerous areas. Because it’s away from civilization, there are little rations and supplies so those trying to survive don’t have much to rely on. They are far away enough from the rest of the world that once communications go, they are cut off from news reports and what’s happening elsewhere. It’s a great location for this type of story. In a zombie film like the remake of Dawn of the Dead, those survivors thought going to a distant island would be a safe haven and just like with that film, this book shows you all the negatives of being there.
Moody’s book has just enough characters for you to care. There are the company people on retreat and the people who run the Hazleton Adventure Experiences on the island. One of the company people dies and another company man is blamed for her death. That divides the people on the island. Then the boat that takes people to and from crashes on the island with dozens of dead kids and adults and the story takes on a new plot twist with characters trying to figure out what killed everyone on the boat and if that killer is still alive.
What Moody does best is show every side of humanity. In a situation where someone is believed to be dead, personal feelings are instantly brought to the forefront. Stephen is blamed for the death because others think he always had it out for the woman who was killed. He claims she came at him and that she fell. Once the boat crashes and kids are floating to shore dead, personal feelings have to be put to the side and your survival instinct must kick in. But through it all, people are still playing their roles in regular society. The boss of the company thinks he’s still the boss no matter what is happening. The Hazleton people think they know best because they know the island and survival skills. Each character has to come to terms with who they are and where they fit in this situation.
Even though I liked the book, there was a word/term used so much it bothered me. Moody is British and this story is set in Europe that the word reckon seems so out-of-place to me. Maybe I’m wrong, but reckon/I reckon seems like a term overly used in the south of the United States. I don’t remember hearing it too much on British TV which I watch a lot of. When I hear I reckon, I immediately think of the south and not England at all. Even if it is a popular phrase in the UK, it felt drastically over used in the book. There were pages where it was said multiple times by multiple characters. Between that and the use of “hater”, those terms bothered me, but that’s just a personal thing that others probably won’t care about.
If you are a fan of David Moody’s Hater trilogy I highly recommend One of Us Will Be Dead By Morning. Even if you aren’t, if you like genre books, it’s still a good read. It’s a fast and easy read and I’d consider reading other works of Moody’s because of it. The setting felt absolutely perfect to me and I can see it making a really good film.