Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

Don’t judge a book by its cover. 

While, undoubtedly this *should* be true, in reality we all do it.  Yes, even me. I therefore make a conscious effort to read the first few pages of every ARC that falls onto my desk.  On occasion this will lead to surprises.

Nothing surprised me more than The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker which arrived looking…well… like nothing much. Bearing in mind that this was an ARC, which are often non-descript, I would ask you to take a look at the final cover and bear it in mind while you read this.

Anyway, I honestly expected to read a chapter or two and chuck it on the shelf. I was sorely mistaken.  Once I started reading, I absolutely could not put this book down.

The story opens with Sherry and her family living in an underground bunker below their house.  The rabies virus has mutated and the population of Los Angeles has turned into terrifying flesh eaters, known as Weepers.  Those who didn’t succumb initially locked themselves inside and Sherry and her parents, her little sister and their grandmother have been shut in the basement for over three years. (Granddad died  during that time and his corpse is stored in the freezer…!!!) But, they have run out of food and Sherry and her dad venture out into the nightmare to find some.

I swear, this is one of the most compelling page turners I have read for a long time.  Susanne Winnacker is a genius at forcing you to turn the page.  The story is quite gruesome in parts. Sherry’s dad is taken by the Weepers not long after they emerge from underground and I was frantically flipping pages with one hand over my eyes. Sherry is rescued, by mandatory love interest and hot guy, Joshua who is on a mission to seek and destroy Weepers.  He takes her back to Safe-Haven where he is living with other survivors.

Each chapter begins with a flashback to the way life used to be for Sherry, giving the title The Other Life and I think this is a brilliant way to gradually reveal how Sherry has been changed by her experiences.  Despite having a bit of a twee name, this girl kicks ass… which is obviously a good thing. The growing relationship between her and Joshua is really well done as it develops slowly and is very much secondary to the action.  One of the really compelling ideas in this story is the way that Sherry feels empathy towards the Weepers.  She is acutely aware that they were once people like her – most likely because they are still pretty intelligent savages.  This is sometimes overlooked in books with this type of plot and I found it refreshing.

There is a ton of gore in here.  Not gratuitous but definitely no punches are pulled.  If a Weeper is gonna maul you…it’s there on the page in all its gory detail.  These creatures are terrifying.  They weep a milky substance from their eyes (hence their name), they’re smart and they creep about quietly, stalking you, waiting for the right moment…

So, I return to my initial point. Have a look at that cover and tell me why I and my co-kid-booky person Dani, despite both totally loving this book, have a bit of difficulty convincing people to buy it? Exactly. Don’t get me wrong.  It’s a lovely cover.  But it’s not a lovely cover for this book.  Up really close you can see that the butterfly is dripping blood…but you have to really look.  And eventually you notice the barbed wire.  But at a glance it’s far too white and far too pretty for a post apocalyptic, rampaging monster, edge-of-your-seat terrifying story.  And that’s a real shame…’cos both Dani and I agree that it’s one of the best we’ve ever read.

About Eve Harvey

Eve Harvey is a bookaholic. She is forever to be found with her nose in a book. If there are none around then newspapers, magazines, the back of cereal packets, road signs or the tiny washing labels found on the seams of jumpers will do. Eve used to have full time job as a children's bookseller and she was the very first Waterstone's Children's Expert Bookseller in Scotland. Her first love was definitely literature for children and teens, about which she has nerd-level knowledge. However she has since become involved in grown-up books and has co-written her first adult novel with Cath Murphy. Eve and Cath Podcast, blog and have far too much fun on their website Domestic Hell. Eve lives in a field just outside Edinburgh in Scotland with her daughter and son and two dogs and two rabbits. She also has some tanks of tropical fish and vows one day to start up a marine aquarium. And the day she signs her very first publishing deal she is going to celebrate by buying a pair of Horsefields tortoises. You can find Eve through her Agent, Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency. She's also on Twitter or on her website :

3 comments on “The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

  1. Jackie
    March 31, 2012

    While I noticed the barb wire soon, I didn’t see the butterfly blood spots until you mentioned it. Definitely at odds with the contents of the book. Why don’t they have a snarling dog instead of a butterfly?
    Though I know I could never read this book, I can see how it would appeal to people of any age who like those post-apocalyptic books, as it’s not the usual sort of villains.

  2. kirstyjane
    April 1, 2012

    I loved your review, Eve, and this sounds terrific — but far too strong for wimpy me, I suspect!

  3. Pingback: Book Review: “The Weepers: The Other Life” | The Cheap Reader

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This entry was posted on March 31, 2012 by in Uncategorized.



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