In which we get started...
Welcome to the detailed (and, unfortunately, spoiler-rich) review of Night of the Living Dead Christian. For a briefer review that doesn't give anything away, read the main review. If you're curious, here's a discussion of why I'm doing this.
This is a rather long bit of reaction, so I'm breaking it up into sections. Hopefully that will allow for more bite-sized discussions. I'm also tempted to create a cast list, just to avoid confusion; we'll see if that's needed or not. Meanwhile, if you're ready and willing to proceed, join us below the cut:
I hate to open with a complaint, but this concerns a basic authorial decision and I think it was ill-chosen. The name of the primary narrator is Matt Mikalatos. That is also the name of the author. This is distracting. It pulls my attention out of the story, and not in a good way. Would it be equally distracting to someone who hadn't been corresponding with the author over in the comments on another blog? I don't know, but I think it easily could be. And (as we'll see later), I think the reader is very much meant to be aware of it. (Later note: there’s a Q & A with the author in the back of the book, in which he discusses his reasons for doing that, and the device’s literary precedents. It’s pretty clear that how he intended it and how it came across to me have almost nothing in common.)
Unfortunately, that isn't the only difficulty I had with the book.
The book opens with an introduction (written, like everything else, in the first person) by "a concerned citizen and friend of the author" named Luther. Now, Luther is a character in the book, and says so in the introduction... but we don't actually meet him as a named character in the main narrative until chapter six (around the 23% mark on my Kindle). So having him soliloquize on how monsters really do exist, we just don't like to admit it... well, it doesn't do much to set up the story that follows - at least, not as a story. Bear in mind that this is also a piece of Christian fiction, so presumably it's intended to have an underlying didactic message. I think Luther's introduction is meant to help with that, rather than with the story per se. It's also possible that need for (and the purpose of) this sort of introduction was simply lost on me.
Generally, though, I think that you shouldn't have to explain your metaphors before you even start to introduce them, and I would have been perfectly happy (and probably less confused) if I'd skipped the introduction and gone straight into the story.