Die Trying by Nicholas Ryan

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I picked this up as part of the Prime Plus program where I get free audiobooks through my Prime membership, it’s allowed me to take chances on books that I may not have wanted to risk a credit on otherwise.

This is about a small group of survivors trying to make it to “safety” – if there is such a thing any more. It’s been three weeks since the outbreak and there aren’t many regular humans left in the world. There’s Mitch and Jed who are brothers, and their friend Clinton. The brothers do not get along at all… in fact Jed wants to kill Mitch whenever he no longer serves a purpose to the group. Jed blames Mitch for the deaths of his wife and daughter and wants nothing more than to kill him. Mitch knows this but doesn’t see an easy way out, and hopes for an opportunity to slip away.

A helicopter lands near by… or, crash lands, really. They find a dead pilot, an injured man, and a young woman inside still alive but trapped. It turns out they know where there’s a gathering of survivors and military personnel which could mean safety. The odds are low, but they have to try and make it to what’s left of ‘civilization’ before they get overrun by zombies.

Zombies in this world were described as “like sharks” that can smell blood and run to it. They are fairly typical rage-zombies in that they run towards their prey, they actively hunt, they swarm, and they’re attracted by noise etc. I don’t remember there ever being an explanation for the zombie outbreak itself, which kind of left this big unanswered question for the whole book. It is possible that I missed it on the audiobook.

I think my biggest problem is that I didn’t get attached to any of the characters, I just didn’t really give a shit who lived or died which took a substantial amount of tension out of the book. None of the three main characters were all that likable, and the two people they meet along the way were fairly boring, too. The one brother, Jed, is just painfully stupid and a brute. He was in prison before all this went down and has murdered before pre-apocalypse. There’s a twist to brother’s relationship at the very end of the book which was very “wtf, seriously?!”. It makes them both just unlikable people and I was hoping everyone would die and that would be the end.

The writing was okay, the prose was very to the point and fast paced. The dialogue was occasionally a little wonky, but overall it was fine. The descriptions for the gore certainly stuck out as detailed, lol. This was a very bloody and gory book, it didn’t leave anything out and also had a bit of psychological fuckery when Mitch comes across a man who’s murdered his family and wears his son in laws head like a hat. This seems fairly extreme shift from civilized life since it’s less than a month into the apocalypse timeline, but I guess everyone reacts to the end of the world differently.

I’ve only read a couple zombie novels where it’s your typical horror movie in written form. I haven’t spent much time in the horror genre at all, really, so I wasn’t sure if the tension I get while watching a movie would relay in a similar way through a book. It didn’t, but not all zombie movies get my heart racing, either. If you’ve got Prime and want to give it a chance, it’s a quick read with a decent narration. If you have to pay for it though, I’d pass.

TLDR Snapshot:

  • Tropes: gruff asshole in the group, a group trying to make it to civilization, rage-zombies
  • Tags: gory, zombies, fast paced, bleak, grey characters, survivalist horror
  • Genre: Zombie/Horror


  • Plot: 8/15
  • Characters: 7/15
  • World Building: 7/15
  • Writing: 11/15
  • Pacing: 12/15
  • Originality: 6/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 5/10

Final Score: 56/100 or 2.8/5 on Goodreads