Raising Stony Mayhall
by Daryl Gregory
Cover Artist: Photo: Rachel Querrien / Arcangel Images
Review by Steve Sawicki
Del Rey Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345522375
Date: 28 June 2011 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
One day, in the middle of a snowstorm, a woman, and her daughters, find a dead girl and a baby on the edge of a field by their drive. Neither the girl nor the baby is breathing. And yet, the baby opens its eyes and looks at them--and then he begins to move. They take him inside and, against all better judgement, they begin to raise him rather than turn him over to the authorities who would destroy him for the zombie he clearly is.
Seems there was a viral outbreak in the late 60s that turned people into zombies and it was only beaten back by dramatic action in the part of the government. But there is more to the baby than meets the eye. Unlike other zombies who are frozen at the stage they became infected, Stony, for so they have named the babe, begins to grow. Years pass and Stony continues to grow--and learn. He makes friends with his sisters and with a neighbor boy. But then, when he is 18, things change and Stony needs to run or be destroyed. This is the first time he learns that there are others like him. Many others. And they are organized. And some want to infect the world as a means of survival.
I have to say that this is one of the more interesting zombie novels I have ever read. It comes in five parts: raising Stony, the underground, Prison, the future, and the end. Each part is a logical progression of the previous although it is not necessarily immediate. Gregory has taken the zombie world and turned it on its head. These are not the mindless zombies of Romero, although they do go through that phase, but, rather, people who have been zombified and have come out the other end, sometimes the worse for wear and sometimes just different. The book is well crafted, extremely well written in an understated style that works extremely well with the subject matter.
This was a fun book to read and Gregory does not hold anything back. The narrative moves between positive and negative with fluidity but always moves forward step after step. On top of his writing ability, Gregory has developed zombification in a way that I have never seen before. In some ways, it carries a lot of the belief suspension required when dealing with the subject. Gregory does a masterful job at this and the book is interesting and compelling. I highly recommend it and I would advise searching for anything else that Daryl Gregory has written. I know that I am going to.