by Jay Wilburn
Peter Welmerink describes his zombie stories as POST post zompocalypse. Where other writers might tend to focus on the outbreak and the zombies pulling society apart, Welmerink enjoys looking at the other side of the zombie apocalypse when things start to come back together for society. His stories explore what that social military industrial complex looks like fighting back against the plague of the undead. You end up with a real mixed bag then of human ingenuity and the darkness of human intentions and desires.
Welmerink has recently completed his Transport series. It showed the tough road fought by a team that is out to do what needs to be done to protect and survive. With Summer of Zombie 2016, Welmerink featured his newest zombie series focused mainly on one individual, Joe Cross. This character rose out of the same universe and story as Transport. Welmerink saw Joe find himself in a tough situation and he knew that he had a story to tell about this character. I look forward to seeing where this new series goes.
Joe has the job of finding what can be used. He looks for what’s left out there that can be traded or bartered. I don’t want to give away too much, but I like this character for who he is and how his life plays out in the story. I would describe him as a guy that is trying to do the right thing for himself and others, but he seems to always end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. I guess that is one risk of being an urban salvage engineer in the zombie apocalypse.
Both series will appeal to zombie fans that like that military team element to stories. Welmerink points out that the military structure can and does bring a lot of strength to characters and a story. He does not shy away from the downsides of that in his stories either though. He shows how that power can be revered and reviled. People want a presence to protect them and fight for them. Welmerink does a good job of exploring the cost of that as well. Not to mention he tells a story of huge tracked vehicles crushing zombies in their path. I have no complaints.
Welmerink is not afraid to dump trouble on his characters and force them to fight their way out. Sometimes that comes at great cost. Through each story though, I get the sense as a reader that there is still hope to be found within and beyond the zombies. He also makes it quite clear that we have as much or more to fear from ourselves and the other living as we ever do from the dead. I get the sense that Welmerink is having a lot of fun writing these stories. Even through the tough fights and the layered commentary, I believe that the joy of the genre shows and makes for a great experience for the readers.
I hope I have made the case for Peter Welmerink. Check out his Transport series which is a completed run of books. And pick up the new series about Joe Cross. If you like military zombie stories or stories of survival after the dead, Welmerink’s work will not disappoint.
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com