Broadway Books, 2013, 352 pages
"All of us try to cheat death. I was just better prepared to do it than most folks." In the years since the wave of living death swept the globe, St George and his fellow heroes haven't just kept Los Angeles' last humans alive - they've created a real community, a bustling town that's spreading beyond its original walls and swelling with new refugees. But now one of the heroes, perhaps the most powerful among them, seems to be losing his mind. The implacable enemy known as Legion has found terrifying new ways of using zombies as pawns in his attacks. And outside the Mount, something ancient and monstrous is hell-bent on revenge. As Peter Clines weaves these elements together in yet another masterful, shocking climax, St. George, Stealth, Captain Freedom, and the rest of the heroes find that even in a city overrun by millions of ex-humans... there's more than one way to come back from the dead.
I started reading the Ex-Heroes series because I have a geeky affection for zombies and superheroes, but Peter Clines is growing on me. The second book was a little better than the first, and the third book, while more of the same story-wise, continues to improve. It's still just a comic book in novel form, but like any ongoing series, if you stick with it you start to get attached to the characters and conversant with the continuity.
The heroes guarding the walled enclave of Los Angeles, surrounded by several hundred thousand "Exes," or zombies, ended the last book with a new arch-enemy: Legion, a superhuman who has the power to spread his consciousness among an ever-growing number of zombies and control them. In Ex-Communication, Legion continues to try to get at the survivors, but then a new Big Bad appears. St. George, Captain Freedom, Stealth, Cerberus, and Zap have to defeat an honest-to-God demon lord from hell.
The addition of actual magic into the Ex-Heroes' cosmology does it no great damage; it was already a comic book world. St. George continues to be the Superman of the series, and Stealth (now his girlfriend), the Batman. Zap is the Green Lantern, Cerberus is Iron (Wo)Man, and Captain Freedom... well, guess.
Clines spins a fun yarn, and it's about as consistent and coherent as a superhero/zombie novel can be. There are the usual twists, reveals, a little more worldbuilding, and some clever power stunts, but at this point the books are just new installments for fans of the series. Hopefully Clines will expand this universe and stretch out a little before it gets stale.
Verdict: Zombie/Superhero novel should tell you all you need to know. If you like those things, then start with the first book in the series; Ex-Communication is a decent third installment.
Also by Peter Clines: My reviews of Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots, and 14.
My complete list of book reviews.