Shaun is not doing well after George’s death. At least she’s still with him – or his grief shattered brain keeps conjuring her up for him – but the fact the boss is hearing voices (and talking back to them) doesn’t reassure anyone else around him.
But the drive to avenge George continues – along with the George driven need to discover the truth. What is really behind the conspiracy that lead to George’s death? A fleeing doctor from the CDC may provide the answers – starting with the CDC’s disturbing habit of killing off researchers who get too close to certain topics and asking the question WHY the CDC’s vast budget actually devotes so few resources to actually curing the zombie plague?
Questions lead to rogue researchers, some stunning data and some truly devastating revelations – both personally, but also for the entire planet.
This book had a very different tone from the previous book and, on the whole, I think that worked appropriately. In the last book things were very different for George and the people around her. She was embarking on the opportunity of a lifetime. They were doing something they passionately believed in, they were increasing their site to unprecedented levels, they were legitimatising their industry. Even through the eyes of these cynical people, there’s a positivity there, a sense of them doing something powerful and meaningful and things getting better – at least until everything starts collapsing. But even then, as the conspiracy is revealed in Feed there is a sense that they’re uncovering it, they’re succeeding.
Now contrast that with Deadline. They’ve uncovered the conspiracy – but it’s still been largely hushed and a very public scapegoat has been thrown to the wolves. They’re freewheeling, they’ve lost people they care desperately about, their leader is having a full blown psychotic break. Yes they’re pre-eminent bloggers now, but the cost has been huge and, for much of the book, they don’t even know what to do and are rather desperate and flailing. Even with the zombie apocalypse, Feed had a sense of, well, not positivity – but competence and confidence. George and co knew what they were doing, where, when and why. Shaun and his fellows do not. They’re lost, desperate and facing off against an enemy that is more dangerous than just about any other force in the country. People have died, people are continuing to die and no-one is grieving in a healthy fashion.
And then there’s Shaun as the narrator. George was a Newsie. She was a Newsie who endeavoured to present the truth with minimal spin and garnish. Her tone is informative and attempts to be objective. Shaun is not. He’s an Irwin. He finds dangerous situations and pokes it. He’s also emotional, depressed, in incredible pain, angry and dealing with mental illness. His tone is angry. His tone is subjective. His tone has an agenda and a mission and isn’t there to info dump for us. When he does info-dump, it’s more about his personal state and emotions than bringing us up to speed on the world.