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Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura, #1) by Jonathan Maberry


This story is about two brothers, The Imura brothers, Tom the bounty hunter and Benny the not so yet bounty hunter. Benny since First Night, the time when the Zombie outbreak began has not yet killed, has now come to the stage in his life where he’s going to have to make some big decisions. Will he embrace the path of a bounty hunter like his brother or not? What sets Benny on a stepping-stone to his chosen destiny is the search for one girl, that he becomes besotted with.

Forget the tag of ‘Young Adults fiction’ as the only thing you are going to miss is unwanted foul language and sex scenes. This story gets to the meat and bone of what is a really good thriller about zombie hunters, many of today’s fiction that i have read for the Young Adult genre have cheesy one liners and cliché scenes, in this one gem you would not find this. Maberry takes you straight to the heart of the story and the action of the moment in this flowing and page-turning story. This has the makings of a TV series, similar to ‘Supernatural’ where you also have two brothers who hunt out demons and ghosts instead.

There is something more worse out there than zombies, more of an enemy for the Imura brothers, this enemy is killing off family members. A few of these bounty hunters, evil individuals have started something called the Gameland and are taking everyone down without rules.

With really good locations like ‘The Hungry Forest’ the author has created an interesting and engaging story. All I need now is to buy myself one of those Zombie cards from the story, they are like picture cards on the front of each was a portrait of a famous bounty hunter. On the back was a sort bio and the name of the artist. The next book in the series has all the makings of something even better!


“It’s not safe anywhere Benny. Not unless you’re generation makes it safe. My generation gave up trying.”

“Out here-I kill. Walkers, bad men. I kill and I live. I’m safe here”

“Cadaverine was a nasty-smelling molecule produced by protein hydrolysis during putrefaction of animal tissue. Benny remembered that from science class, but he didn’t know that it was made from actual rotting flesh. Hunters and trackers dabbed it on their clothes to keep the zoms from coming after them, because the dead were not attracted to rotting flesh.”

“The pair of them-Charlie and the Hammer-were the toughest bounty hunters in the entire Rot and Ruin. Everyone said so. Except for a few weirdoes, like Mayr Kirsch, who said that Tom Imura was tougher.”

“Most of the hunters were paid by the town to clear zoms out of the areas around the trade route that linked Mountainside o the handful of other towns strung out along the mountain range. Others worked in packs as mercenary armies to clear out towns, old shopping malls, warehouses, and even a few small cities, so that the traders could raid them for supplies. According to Charlie the life expectancy of a typical bounty hunter was six months.”

” ‘Quieted’ was the acceptable term for the necessary act of inserting a metal spike, called a ‘silver’, into the base of the skull to sever the brain stem. Since First Night, anyone who died would reanimate as a zombie. Bites made it happen too, but really any recently deceased person would come back. Every adult in town carried at least one silver, though Benny had never seen one used.”

“Every dead person out there deserves respect. Even in death. Even when we fear them. Even when we have to kill them. They aren’t ‘just zoms,’ Benny. That’s a side effect of a disease or from some kind of radiation or something else that we don’t understand. I’m no scientist, Benny. I’m a simple man doing a job.” “Yeah? You’re trying to sound all noble, but you kill them.” Benny had tears in his eyes.

” The world is bigger and harder to understand than you think, Benny. It was before First Nigh and it still is now. You have to keep your mind as wide-open as your eyes, because almost nothing is what it seems.”

“She may answer to the name Lilah or Annie. Approach with caution, she is considered dangerous and may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.”


Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 14 July 2011

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    Maberry On Writing

    On writing ROT and RUIN

    By Jonathan Maberry – September 27, 2010
    I started laying the groundwork for ROT & RUIN when I was ten years old.

    That’s when Night of the Living Dead opened in Philadelphia. October 1968. I snuck into the deserted balcony of the old Midway Theater, one of those vast old Art Deco theaters. No one was supposed to be up there, and no one my age was supposed to be in the theater.

    By age ten I’d seen just about every monster movie there was. Vampires, werewolves, giant bugs –the works. I was kind of jaded. I thought I had a good working plan for how to deal with monsters. Crosses, silver bullets, that sort of thing. Then George A. Romero made all of the dead rise to attack the living. Not one, not a pack…all of them.

    Talk about game changers. Sure, I could figure out how to deal with one or two. But legions of flesh-eating monsters?

    That movie scared me more than anything I’d ever seen, read or imagined. Scared me almost sick. So….I stayed to watch it again.

    Since then, I’ve seen every zombie flick, read all of the books and movies, and I’ve spent an absurd amount of my time thinking about how I would survive a zombie apocalypse. That ten year old kid in me was still trying to out-think Romero.

    As I grew older and (I hope) wiser, I applied what I knew of forensic science, martial arts, basic survival, and common sense to the problem. I thought of what to do during the crisis and what could be done after –especially if zombies completely overwhelmed civilization as we know it. I’ve discussed this as a guest on scores of zombie panels. I wrote about it in books like ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead and PATIENT ZERO.

    But all of that was really tackling it from the point of view of an adult. I’m a very big guy, I’m an 8th degree black belt jujutsu master and former bodyguard, and I have over fifty years of life experience to draw on.

    It still left me with the question of what would I have done if this happened when I was a kid? Or, what if it had happened when I was a baby and my whole life had been lived after the fall of mankind. Tough questions.

    I’m a writer, and when I have something tough to figure out, I tend to write about it. Which is how ROT & RUIN got started. To explore it, I wrote it.

    I started with a kid –Benny Imura– who was a toddler when the dead rose and is now fifteen. Everything in his world has been changed because of that. Benny doesn’t truly know what life was before the terrible events of ‘First Night’. Almost all of the adults he knows have lost all faith in everything that had been part of their world: society, politics, religion, technology, the military. They are all suffering from a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. But Benny is fifteen. He expects to have a life and a future. He and his friends may have been handed a broken world, but it’s the world they’re going to have to live in. They don’t accept the idea that there is no future.

    At the same time, everything in Benny’s world is defined by death. Everyone has lost someone (and even Benny has vague memories of his parents from First Night). The specter of death looms over everything and pollutes Benny’s world. This is where we meet him, and ass Benny explores this world –dealing with the constant threat of zombies, entrenched fears, violence, and the enduring corruption of evil men…he learns what it means to be alive. And to be human.

    Benny Imura is an ordinary teenager, but ‘ordinary’ is a funny word, because when you scratch the surface of every single ordinary person you find an extraordinary uniqueness. Benny discovers his own weaknesses and learns the value of courage, trust, love, optimism and honor as he struggles to survive in world where zombies are really the least of his problems.


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