by Kevin A. Munoz
Ten years after the world’s oil went sour and a pandemic killed most of the population, Sam Edison is the chief of police of The Little Five, a walled-in community near Atlanta, Georgia. Those who survived share the world with what are known as hollow-heads: creatures who are no longer fully human.
A man and a pregnant teenager arrive at the gate and are welcomed into the town. They begin to settle in when suddenly both are murdered by an unknown assailant. In the course of investigation, Chief Edison discovers that the girl was fleeing a life of sexual slavery, and that some members of the Atlanta community were complicit in the human trafficking network that had ensnared her.
In retaliation for Edison’s discoveries, agents of the network abduct the stepdaughter of the town’s mayor. Chief Edison and three companions track the kidnappers to Athens, Georgia, where they discover that the entire city is engaged in human trafficking. By the time Edison has recovered the kidnapped girl, the other three rescuers have been killed, leaving Edison alone to bring the mayor’s stepdaughter home while evading both human and non-human monsters. Against such great odds, will Sam ever make it to Little Five alive?
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I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but the “real work” of writing began in 1998 when I was 25 years old. But I didn’t start The Post until 2014, and the story of how it came to be is… well, if not interesting, then perhaps mildly amusing.
I started work on The Post as a challenge to myself. The genre isn’t one I’d worked in before, and I was curious to see what it felt like from the inside. The thing is, “zombie post-apocalyptic fiction” is a well-trod path. Most stories in the genre focus on the tropes of zombie invasion and are set during the peak of whatever precipitating disaster sets the stage for the story. There are some stories, novels, comic books and films that break the mold, however, to varying degrees. I wanted to break the mold and then grind it into powder.
The result is what I like to call a “zombie-slash-detective adventure novel” that has almost nothing to do with zombies. They are there – on the periphery, and occasionally right up in your face – but they don’t drive the story and aren’t the main antagonists the characters are facing. Some say that supernatural monsters, like vampires and werewolves and zombies, are metaphors for prosaic human evil. But human evil, I find, is more compelling than any artifice that masks the depravity in the shell of something that is very obviously not real.
The Post started as a challenge to myself, but it became something greater, more insistent, the deeper I got into it. This was a story I really wanted to tell, using all of the practice and skill I’d developed over the prior 16 years of writing. And now four years later, and a week out, I’m pretty happy with the result.