Running Red
By Jack Bates
ISBN# 2940016236384
Author’s website: 

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro



Rebellious teen Robin “Robbie” Willette thinks her life sucks.

Her grades aren’t the greatest. Her dad hates her “older” boyfriend. And her mom keeps Robbie on a short leash after her straight A, perfect, older sister gets pregnant and has a baby. As the tension builds in her family, Robbie runs away with her boyfriend Lane only to wind up sleeping on the sofa of her ostracized sister.

But it’s not all that bad. Robbie has a taste of independence. She’s working on getting her diploma through night school. She has a job–not a great one but it’s legit. And she’s finally beginning to figure out that her relationship with Lane is a dead end. For the first time in a long time, Robbie Willette is getting her life together.

Just as her life is improving, the world around her begins to crumble. Literally. A plague crawls over the planet, mutating humans into blood-lusting zombies that help spread a deadly fungus. It isn’t long before society collapses. In fact, in less than a year, all of society’s norms are gone. Robbie quickly finds herself separated not only from her family, but from all humanity. Hoping to reunite with her sister and niece, Robbie sets off with the most loyal companion she’s ever had: a yellow Labrador she names Yuki.

The road she travels is not easy. She must confront personal fears, untrustworthy humans, and aggressive mutants. Will Robbie fulfill her dream of finding her family, or is the world just too dangerous a place to discover what she needs most–hope?


Zombies are on the top of my mythical-creatures-never-to-come-across list, basically because of the big mass disaster they make when ever mentioned in books, movies or games. And, they’re always after your brain. Makes me wonder what kind of brains do zombies prefer, those with too much knowledge or those with an average brain. On the other hand, zombies, are the most fun to kill within the fictional world. They make you want to gear-up and shoot coins or rocks in every direction.

But, in this dystopian world zombies are more of, what could be, a creation of nature gone bad. Author Jack Bates, describes it as a fungus that takes over the brain of any living thing that it comes in contact with, starting first with small animals and then moving on to humans, to later as the story progresses find out that the parasite/fungus is mutating, taking over more than just the human body’s brain. This characteristic of the zombies just made it even scarier to live in this shattered world, in my opinion. It’s easy to survive if zombies don’t think but once they do, the real danger starts.

I really liked Robbie’s character as our female lead. As the story starts, we see her fighting for survival with no other human companion but her loyal dog, Yuki. The two show a great team work and you can’t help but get attached to Yuki’s faithful loyalty towards Robbie, even at the most intense moments. But, everything changes the moment Robbie comes across other humans after having thought that she wouldn’t see any again.

At this point, I would have preferred for Robbie to follow her path along with Yuki, but the longing for any human contact is a more powerful feeling and Robbie ends up leaving Yuki behind, to end up herself in a house full of everything she had thought lost but as a prisoner. This puts Robbie in a dilemma; after so long of being alone now she finds humans that are as dangerous as the zombies, she can’t trust them.

Just like author Jack Bates, states it, society has indeed collapsed in Robbie’s world. She doesn’t understand why humans are fighting among themselves instead of trying to find a cure and eliminate the remaining zombies from destroying humanity especially now that she has noticed their mutation. As much as I found it annoying, at one point, all events that happened at Freedom House, it actually helps to keep the reader interested on finding out how all of this ends.

At the end I really liked reading this story because of its sudden plot twist and revealing hidden characters that you put aside while reading. When Robbie is finally helped and rescued by Camp G, we learn that the world is divided more than what we thought and when Robbie thinks that she has someone to trust things, turn even worse. With no other option then to go back to her lonely path.

I found it interesting how, between lines, we read about problems that could have led to the zombie fungus like hygiene, the environment and global warming; all of these factors that we face nowadays in our own world, which makes us think.

All in all, this was a good zombie story to read. The female lead was brave and faced all the problems that came towards her, always thinking of a way to survive independently because in the lonely world the only one you can trust is yourself. If this is your type of genre I recommend it for you. It is more a story of survival than romance, although it does have a little bit at the end. it will leave you wanting to know what new adventure awaits Robbie and Yuki.