Description of Kevin. J. Burke’s The Last Mailman1
Four-year degree in business. Trained in hand-to-hand combat.
Works well with zombies.
This is the resume of the last mailman on Earth. It is the near future, and the modern world we knew has been overrun and destroyed by reanimated corpses who hunt humans for food. Mankind has retreated to small pockets of civilization and practically surrendered to the walking dead. But one man routinely leaves behind the safety and comfort to find the people and things we’ve long abandoned. He battles the elements. He battles his own brewing insanity.
But mostly, he battles zombies.
Well, now, this is a bit more like it.
First things first, the story was immediately gripping, which was an improvement on the last book I reviewed. I actually finished this one!
That’s not to say the book is without it’s problems, however.
The first thing I noticed, problem wise, was that The Last Mailman could have done with a stronger edit. The tense dances around a lot, which doesn’t seem to be a deliberate style choice, and is instead confusing.
Secondly, while the post-apocalyptic world is very well drawn (I saw it in my minds eye immediately. Impressive work) and realistic, I found myself irritated by the treatment of women. As we have discussed, women are at increased danger in a post apocalyptic world, especially when children are required, but the good guys have a system that is- and let’s not beat around the bush here- systemised rape in order to increase offspring. Not that I have a problem with a post-apocalyptic novel examining the awful things good people may need to do in order to survive, but Burke doesn’t allow it the sensitivity such a morally off-putting and difficult subject requires. This is ignoring the fact that for a good proportion of the book women are functionally useless except for their wombs – whining, screaming, wailing, over-emotional victims.
Yeah, it bothered me, but if dodgy gender politics were enough to stop me liking a book, I wouldn’t have a library.
What really redeemed these problems for me was the quick plot, the likeable main character and the healthy dollops of dark humour. As you’ve probably guessed from this site, we love those things. Looooove them. We want to marrry them and have little mutated babies.
Over all, a good book. Not without it’s problems, but well worth a read.
3 out of 5