The Hand That Feeds by Michael W. Garza

MikeFirst of all, excellent title. And the cover haunted me every time I swept by it on my Kindle, so the creepy eyes are great too.

This book is really unique zombie fiction. The story is not at all about the impact the zombies have on the rest of the world but much more about this small, insular family. You see just enough of the how the zombies affect the rest of the town, and how things escalate is simple, clear, and perfectly believable. But the main focus is definitely the family of John, Angela, and Alex, and this makes the book more heart-wrenching than a lot of shoot-and-run zombie stories. It’s really a commentary on dysfunctional marriages more than anything. Always, you have to ask yourself what you would do if you suddenly found your kid was a zombie, and the different choices John and Angela have to make become increasingly difficult, morally.

And that’s my only issue with this book. John, while trying to be a good guy and do right by his family, isn’t really that great of a guy. He sees immediately that Alex is dead and certainly never has the same level of delusion that Angela has about who/what Alex is, but he still does terrible things to other people without a lot of remorse. His main reason for going along with everything seems to be that he doesn’t want to upset Angela, and you kind of just want to slap him. He does have moments of humanity that shine through, so he’s not a completely despicable character, which I would say Angela is. The grief of a mother losing her child is understandable, but it’s also set up that she’s a little bit crazy anyway. And it turns out she is completely manipulative, which furthers the overarching dysfunctional marriage theme. So, really, there wasn’t anyone in this story I honestly wanted to root for. I love morally gray characters and enjoy when an author can make me identify and love a bad guy, but John just never quite got there for me. However, it DOES work because “The Hand That Feeds” shows that the true monsters are the husband/wife team who caused all this destruction in the first place. THEY are the conscienceless, selfish, blind killers. It works and is infuriating as things escalate, but personally I just ended up having a complete lack of sympathy where I would have liked to have at least a little bit. Again, that really may be on me.

Also, the last line is probably one of the best I’ve ever read and definitely got a verbal “No!” out of me.

4.5 StarsSee it on Amazon!