Black Friday is the third book in the enjoyable Extinct series and one I looked forward to reading and seeing where Robby ventured next but my excitement was short-lived as shortly after downloading I realised it was just a novella and wasn’t actually even book 3, well not really.
Black Friday was released in March 2015 by author Ike Hamill (Lies of the Prophet, The Hunting Tree and of course Extinct and Instinct). What it isn’t though is a direct sequel to the second book in this series, Instinct. Instead it is really a book 1.5 or a missing part of book 1 and is just a short novella filling in a few holes in the story.
I can’t really blame anyone for me not realising this was a novella – that is surely on me but I will point out that it is not mentioned anywhere on the Amazon main page and is plastered with slogans like “Book 3 in the Extinct series” so perhaps it could have been clearer.
So Black Friday deals with the issue of how Robby met Judy. In Extinct, we come across them already together despite Robby starting off alone so it was an unanswered question in how they met but no more. Consider that question about to be answered. Well, it will be if you read Black Friday anyway.
So we pick up with Robby who is alone having “lost” all his family. He is in desperate need of somewhere to shelter. We then pick up with Judy who is living in the city and apparently has just left her abusive husband. Continuing with the style of the previous books we get one chapter on Robby followed by one on Judy working towards them meeting in a single final chapter. I still like this style. I still find myself trying to figure out how far away from each other they are while I read.
Robby tries to find shelter but while in that shelter, comes across a rather dangerous seeming man called Lyle. Now this is important as Lyle appears at the end of Extinct. In that, he is pretty angry at Robby and tries to take him and foil the big ending plan but we never knew who he was. Once again, read this and see that question answered. Strangely in this story, Lyle doesn’t come across to threatening until he gets pepper sprayed a few times by Robby however we know Robby as being very intuitive so if he doesn’t trust him, it is probably for a good reason.
As Robby tries to escape from Lyle and the building he is now both sheltered and trapped in, Judy is starting to see the first effects of the attack as people start disappearing in front of her eyes. She hides in her apartment at first and then runs eventually meeting up with a nun who laughs off her disappearing people claim as a ridiculous. They are together for a few minutes before the nun also disappears (that will teach her to mock).
Back with Robby who, as well as fighting off Lyle, now has his first sighting of corpses reanimating to deal with. He does eventually get away though, of course we know that as we read the other books, he jumps in a car and he drives. Judy jumps in a car and drives and a short while later, while Judy is standing on a bridge contemplating her life’s worth, a young man comes up to her and says “Hi, I am Robby”, or words to that effect and the story ends.
Here is the issue for me, while it is well written and answers some questions from Extinct, it is a little late as Instinct has long been read and any nuances from Extinct are long forgotten. In truth, this very short novella should have been included in Extinct. It feels like it is a few chapters that were ripped out from there anyway. It also certainly would have made Judy a more likeable character through the next book.
This is fine though, it was a nice and easy read with no real spelling or grammar errors. It puts a point to Lyle and makes Judy a deeper character though with the series complete, does that matter?
Nothing really that wrong with the story telling or the story but I just don’t really understand why this exists. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to revisit that world for even just a few short minutes but this should have been in Extinct. Importantly, if you plan to read this, just know that it is a missing part of Extinct and not the third book in the series like it appears to make out it is. I do hope we get an actual third book though.
Black Friday - Extinct Book 3 (Ike Hamill)