Dead in Bed: The Complete First Book, by Adrian Birch, begins when a plague breaks out in the small town of Muldoon, Colorado. After a night of partying, the protagonist, Ashley Young, wakes up in a motel room, unsure of what tragedy has locked the town down overnight. Quickly, the town becomes a quarantine zone as the plague, which drives the infected to crave sex, sweeps over the town’s residents. Ashley’s will to survive is tested as she struggles to withstand the desperate attempts of the infected, along with the viciousness of the survivors.
What I Thought
Even though the book was originally published in 2014, I came across the audiobook edition of the story, which was released on June 20, 2017.
I was drawn to it by the promise of the book’s description, that I have “never, ever read a book like this.” And, it was very true. The originality of the story impressed me, and I enjoyed it for its freshness. It was also extremely clever how Adrian Birch created the character, Bailey Simms, who “wrote” Dead in Bed. I loved how Birch even created a site for the Bailey Simms character, where her blog and the story are posted. It really made the character feel alive, and gave the story an extra shot of originality.
Unfortunately, that is where my love of the story ended. While the story was certainly imaginative, I did not care for the main character (spoilers ahead!!). At the end of the first book, we found that Ashley was under the control of the parasite, which was the source of her courage. Ashley’s bravery was her main redeeming quality. The fact that parasites had control over her brain for most of the story left me questioning who she really was and why I should care about her. And, since there was not a lot of character development from her, it left something missing for me. Perhaps, there will be more development in the second installment.
The pacing of the story was very good, and I liked how Birch broke up the action of Ashley’s story with blog updates from Bailey. It kept the story engaging, especially since breaks from the fast-paced action added depth and some comic relief. However, I found myself more engaged in Bailey’s story rather than Ashley’s. Maybe it was because I kept my horror writing fetish from my parents as a teenager, as well!
On a final note, and at the risk of sounding extremely picky, I did not like the transmission of the parasite. Having a sexually transmitted parasite sounds like a legitimate transmission. Having it kill the host, take over their brain, and make them crave sex does not especially ring true. I guess crazier things have happened, though!
Why You Should Read It
I really enjoyed the book for its originality, and I know a lot of people who thought it was a great take on the typical zombie novel. If nothing else, Adrian Birch is an exceptionally talented writer. With time and practice, I definitely think there is a future bestseller in store.
Dead in Bed: The Complete First Book, by Adrian Birch, was originally published February 4, 2014. The audiobook is available from Hachette Audiobooks, in a collaboration between Hachette Book Group and Wattpad.
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