Deadline, by Mira Grant
This book is nominated for best novel in the 2012 Hugo Awards, and this will be the final post in my Hugo nominees series.
Many people recommended this series to me, but I don't like horror, and I especially don't like zombies. But Countdown wasn't too bad, and people assured me that the book wasn't much scarier than the novella, so I gave it a shot.
Despite being the second novel in a series (Feed being first), I wasn't very lost. It stands alone nicely, though now I'm curious about what exactly happened in the first book, even if I've spoilered myself completely.
Shaun Mason had to shoot his sister, Georgia, because she was infected with the zombie virus when someone deliberately injected it into her. He and his intrepid team of bloggers are tracking down the person who ordered that injection. When a CDC researcher who's supposed to be dead turns up on his doorstep, the proverbial shit hits the fan.
In Grant's world, bloggers and independent journalists compete for ratings by having their Irwins (named for Steve, because they go out in the field and poke thing with sticks) go poke dead things with sticks and get footage of it, while their Newsies report on it.
The extreme security precautions, and the comment that people are afraid of not being afraid, struck me as commentary on today's airport security theater and "the terrorists will have won." Actually, I didn't have to look too slanted at it to find parallels between future zombie America and today.
The blood testing and fluid precautions remind me of modern infection control measures (whether from HIV or MRSA) taken to the extreme necessary to protect other people from the zombie virus, which lies dormant in everyone until amplification occurs (spontaneously or due to a traumatic event).
It's creepy, but it appeals to the infectious disease/epidemiology geek in me. Now I have to find the first and third books in the series.