Book Title: Bay Island
Author: Matthew Kray
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui
Bay Island, with its coastal fishing village and resort, rests quietly in remote isolation, peaceful and serene; its inhabitants ill prepared for the zombie apocalypse that author Matthew Kray is about to unleash. Get ready zombie fans, Bay Island is not just a zombie showcase of gore—although if you are looking for splatter you’ll get that too. Kray has a well written, character driven plot that will please horror fans with some truly gruesome imagery and suspense. Kray’s Bay Island will pull terror from the depths of your primal, racing heart.
The inhabitants are aware that there is a virus on the mainland causing the dead to rise and feast on the living. They know that their only hope of survival is to remain isolated from the contagion. What they don’t know is that beneath the waves, in the currents and on the tide walks an army of corpses.
Through skillfully manipulating words Kray builds a sense of anticipation and a feeling of silence around the island. He sets the scene with care and deliberation so that the natural silence of Bay Island’s lapping water is eerily broken by the slurping sound of macabre chewing and the sodden shuffling of corpse feet.
Not only does Kray maintain and build suspense throughout the book, he masterfully creates visual imagery through the written word that will make your skin crawl and insides turn. Once he breaks the rising tension, he really scorches the pages with truly exciting zombie combat.
To the horror critics that have lost hope for the genre, I want to acknowledge here that Kray uses his zombie apocalypse to explore the human spirit, and the driving motivations behind loyalty, greed, bravery, faith, self sacrifice, and a host of other insights. These characters are believable and motivated to survive. He places the inhabitants of Bay Island through the fire of tribulation and burns away the social masks to reveal their true faces.
What would you do if you were responsible for keeping people safe? Whose arms do you cling to in your final hours? Where does hope come from? What or who do you love most? What will you die to protect? What will you cling to that makes life worth fighting for? These themes are all touched by the drama that unfolds in this horror piece. Not that Bay Island is moralistic or preachy; it isn’t by any stretch of the imagination. Bay Island is primarily a zombie thrill ride, but it has a human, beating heart.
Kray effectively uses suspense to capture the reader’s interest and –once the first zombie touches shore, he thrusts reader and characters alike into high velocity action that turns Bay Island’s zombie invasion into a resurrection of your most chilling, forgotten, walking dead nightmare.