Hidden deep in the Appalachian Mountains lies a very special building. On the surface, a wire fenced perimeter, flanked by tall hedges, it does not seem that out of the ordinary; it's the underground where the magic happens, and, as it turns out, not the good kind. Beneath the relatively tranquil fašade is a research facility known as Coldbrook and the scientists there have just achieved what many thought impossible; the opening of a gateway to another dimension. However, this stunning achievement of science is not the cause for rapturous celebration as it soon becomes clear that something has gone wrong, terribly wrong. The new world they discovered was not one of life, but death, its remaining inhabitants gripped by some form of otherworldly bacteria, turning them into will-less Zombies. When one of those plague-stricken walking corpses comes through the gateway, so too does the unstoppable disease...
Coldbrook is a wonderful, wonderful read that I completely recommend. At first, I feared that it was going to be no more than a clone of Stephen King's epic The Mist but I am really glad that the narrative distances itself from King's plot, both by including more scientific sections about disease spread and describing the initial panic in the Coldbrook lab, ultimately seeing survivors venture fourth into the strange new dimension. The action does tend to "jump around" a lot; one chapter dealing with the events happening to one major character and the next, changing to someone else's viewpoint, usually in completely different circumstances. This approach could annoy those who prefer a more linear 'start to finish' story although it is worth sticking with the book as the varying sections do eventually come together into a contiguous whole. Also, when I was reading, I found myself thinking of how excellent a fit Coldbrook would be for an episodic TV series - it brings an original twist to the regular Zombie theory while keeping things similar enough to a straightforward Zombie apocalypse to maintain that entertaining 'constant struggle to survive against overwhelming odds' experience.