Derek Gunn – The Estuary

Derek Gunn

The Estuary  (2009)

Permuted Press

pp. 280

ISBN 978-1934861240

Book presentation (from

Journalist John Pender has returned to his home town of Whiteshead to rekindle his marriage. Ex-British Intelligence Officer Dave Johnson has arrived to isolate himself after his fiancée is murdered during a mission that went terribly wrong. But excavations for the new shopping centre unearth a mysterious contagion that threatens to throw their lives into chaos. Now the residents of Whiteshead are trapped within a quarantine zone with the military on one side and ravenous hordes on the other. Escape is no longer an option. Far out in the mouth of the estuary a small keep sits forlornly surrounded by an apron of jagged rocks. This refuge has always been unassailable, a place of myth and legend that has grown in folklore through the years. Now, it’s the survivors’ only hope of sanctuary. But there are thousands of flesh-eating infected between them and the keep and time is running out …

Review (short form).

It’s never easy to write a novel about zombie-like creatures without falling down to cliches but Derek Gunn managed his way well, this novel stands out for its fast pace and a good set of characters. It’s not a perfect work but it’s well worth reading.

Vote: 06,50 / 10,00.

Review (full form).

The people from a little town have to fight to survive against zombie-like creatures. How many times have you read such a story since George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, back in 1968? Countless for sure, it’s almost a classic theme in the horror narrative. For an author it’s always a big risk to try such a story, there are well established canons and a common feeling that have to be trusted if you want to fit your work in this niche but at the same time using the cliches will make the same work look dull.

Derek Gunn manages to find his own way to tell a classic story by making some good decisions. First, the novel  take place in Ireland (to my knowledge it’s the first time that somebody does that); second, we got an explaination about the infection with the minimum of infodump; third, most part of the characters are well developed and well used in the novel (that takes care of countless cardboard characters we got in other works); four, the narration’s pace is always set on “high”; five, the action side is very well narrated.

All of the above does not give us a perfect work. There are a number of flaws, nothing big but some are remarkable. Almost none of the characters made the connection between the infected and the zombie portrayed in fiction, the speed of movement of the infected vary at random to raise the stakes and the way people keeps stumbling everywhere is a bit too much to be fully believable. On the plus side the plot rolls out smoothly from top to bottom and all cliffhangers work well.

My advice for this novel is a “green light” for every horror fan, Derek Gunn did a good work.

Note for the italian readers: to my knowledge none of the works of Derek Green has been translated in italian.

The author.

Derek Gunn (b. 1964); He is the author of seven thriller novels – VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE: A WORLD TORN ASUNDER (2006),  VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE: DESCENT INTO CHAOS (2008), VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE: FALLOUT 2009, THE ESTUARY (2009), GEMINI (2011),THE GATEKEEPER (2011) and CRIMSON SEAS (2012). He has also written two novellas (THE DIABOLICAL PLAN and THE ISLAND) in his historical naval thriller series THE HMS SWIFT ADVENTURES and one novella A PRELUDE TO THE VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE in his VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE series. He is currently working on a fourth Vampire Apocalypse novel.

Author website here.


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