Book review ‘Red Ruin’

  • Authors: Denver Grenell & Ian J. middleton
  • Publisher: Beware the Moon (independent publisher)
  • Publishing year: 2022
  • Number of pages: 238 (tolino e-reader E-PUB file)
  • ISBN: 978-1-99-116890-0
  • My rating: 5/5
Not a zombie story but it kind of is 🤭


Kia Kaha. Stay Strong. Two simple words that together are worth more than the sum of their parts. Forever entwined with the New Zealand city of Christchurch, they meant little to Carla Gallo, until now.

As one chapter of her life closes, Carla reluctantly returns to Christchurch to find a city she doesn’t remember, filled with more strangers than friends. Estranged from her parents, and a brother who is more drinking buddy than sibling, she once again has to make it on her own.

When a sudden and violent outbreak sweeps through the country, she finds herself running for her life, and fighting to survive against a sleepless, merciless threat that turns its victims into savage killers. Taking refuge with a family living on the outskirts of the city, her priorities become tested as they’re forced to trust each other in this cruel new world.

A terrifying, emotional, and at times brutal journey that sends Carla across the vast Canterbury Plains and deep into the New Zealand backcountry, where she must come to understand who she really is, if she is to see the last thing she holds dear ever again. Stay Strong. Stay Alive.


I want to thank both authors for giving me the chance to read and review this novel. This his been a real treat for me.

So to start of I wish to say that this was thé horror novel I needed right now… I’m definitely putting this in my top 5 of the indie horror novels I read these past years.

And what’s not to like: it’s a zombie story, but with non-zombies… yeah, the frenzy is similar but they are actually still alive… but bottom line: it’s a zombie story. And I think there are too few of those on paper… Ever since Romero gave us ‘The Night of the Living Dead’ and five sequels, also a few remakes were made and don’t get me started on the zillion movies and series ever since… at a certain point zombie stuff was all we got to see (The Walking Dead and a thousand spin offs, so not necessary!)

But among that huge lake of zombie stories, there’s often a few gems popping up… The Walking Dead comics were amazing, 28 days later… woof!, Black Summer on Netflix… so good! And many more (yes I am a fan of World War Z the movie, although I admit, I have not yet read the book!)

And along come Denver and Ian… two Kiwi’s writing this amazing story of survival! (Ian’s Welsh but lives in New Zealand now so yeah, he’s a kiwi now) See, I love New Zealand ever since I visited it! So I recognised the scenery and that felt a bit like coming home (well home maybe not, but like I was back on that trip)

And this story (with non-zombies) has all the trademarks: infection, biting, blood, craziness, frenzy, hiding, running, untrustworthy characters and a lot of self preservation! The way people react in pandemics have become clear the past years so I wouldn’t be surprised if we ever encountered a zombie outbreak, we’d see the worst in ourselves and others…

The novel is also laced with emotional scenes and family love. So there’s always that little bit of positivity! (Kind of)

The only thing I was surprised by was the ending… Come on guys, you can not, I repeat NOT, leave me hanging like this! At least get that sequel written because I want more… I want much more!

This was the first book I read of both authors… I have read stories in anthologies by them (The Burning Boy by Denver in one of the Bloody Rites Horror anthologies) but this book has shown me I have been wrong not to read more by them. Moving my behind to my nearest bookshelf with indie horror novels right now…

Kia ora, everyone! Kia kaha!

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