Patrick D'Orazio's Review of Michael S. Gardner’s “Betrayal”
Betrayal is one of those quick getaways that doesn’t require a lot of time but packs a nice little punch. A novella that is a very easy read, this is a zombie tale that perhaps might not give you as much time to get emotionally invested in the characters as a full blown novel, but it’s more than just a tidbit you get from a short story that might elicit a smirk or a gasp of revulsion, but not much else.
The story is pretty simple. A group of survivors have built walls around a farm to keep the undead at bay and a few select members of the group go out via helicopter to collect whatever supplies they can gather on a weekly basis-into a city that is filled with zombies and less and less supplies each trip they take. The author adds the twist that people are dying-not just from whatever turns people into the undead, but from a variety of regular ailments that are much more difficult to deal with the lack of modern medicine at everyone’s finger tips. So the desperation of the survivors is even greater.
A supply run goes wrong, as have others before, and this time a couple of marines are left behind when the helicopter pilot, an unrepentant self-absorbed jerk, decides that they are taking too long to get back to the meeting place where he set down. Despite his urge to take off and abandon the camp, he returns and goes on another mission later, where he discovers the cost of his betrayal.
Betrayal is a quick, brutal trip to hell-a rip-the-band aid-off type of story that I would say goes down smooth because it is such an easy read, but the ride is a bit bumpier than that-with a few twists put into play for those who like to mix things up with their undead.