There is really no clear physical description given of the main character and narrator, Alicia Gaden. She is beautiful and has long hair, pretty features, and a slender build. Alicia’s strong points include her intelligence and scientific mind. She has a natural curiosity, and her impeccable research skills compliment that perfectly. Alicia is driven, and she puts the majority of her focus on her studies as a biology major at UCLA. She also does not have a steady boyfriend, but she is narrating the book, and the reader can easily pick up on the fact that she is independent and goal-oriented, which seems to explain everything. Her parents are on vacation while this outbreak is taking place, and they couldn’t get ahold of her if they wanted to. She does try to call them at one point, to no avail. Even though she is strong, she is scared, and meeting up with Jace Booth is the best thing that could happen to her. Alicia is also about as human as she can get. When circumstances between her and Jace become very serious indeed, she reacts in her own mind with fear and trepidation, which is how all of us would be in her position.
Jace is very attractive, with black hair and blue eyes. He is a student at the university as well, only he is majoring in chemistry. Like Alicia, Jace isn’t dating anyone, and the reasons for this are similar to hers, as well. He is well-aware of the situation happening with the zombies, and he is as relieved to meet Alicia as she is to meet up with him. Jace is immediately attracted to Alicia, and he also feels a strong sense of obligation when it comes to protecting her. As far as being able to contribute to the goals of stopping the zombies, his knowledge of chemistry makes him an indispensable asset; together, they are the ideal match for such a desperate situation. By the time things really come to a head, Jace is ready to get through it and get on with his life, a life he plans to include Alicia Gaden.
In his late fifties, Jim Richardson has already put in thirty years in the maintenance department at All-Purpose Plastics. Even though he is a tired man, he loves his job. Jim has gained the trust of all the big-wigs of the company because of his loyalty and discretion, and he wouldn’t compromise that for anything. Jim happens to be the one who comes across a chemical leak from Soligel. He follows procedure and suits up to do his job. Unfortunately, the toxins effect Jim anyway, and within only days, he is obviously in big trouble. A married man, he also fearfully takes note of the shortness of his temper when it comes to his wife; he has always been soft-spoken, never prone to violent outbursts. The man is so low-key and loyal that he won’t even go to the doctor without speaking to those in charge at work first, and this decision proves to be his demise. Jim Richardson is the type of character, no matter how short lived, who believes that he can trust everyone as much as he can be trusted; this shows in the fact that he has maintained such a rigid stance in his company’s favor for as long as he has. They have literally put him at risk every day of his life, and when it finally catches up, they throw him under the bus quickly and easily.
Dr. Sandberg is the head scientist on the Soligel project for All-Purpose Plastics; he is also the first person Jim Richardson goes to after he gets sick. Mike Sandberg is a scientist, but he is also a compassionate man; he realizes the direness of Jim’s situation right away, but he doesn’t know what to do about it. As per policy, the man ends up dialing the president of the company, who literally takes matters with Jim Richardson into his own hands. Like Jim, it is loyalty on Mike’s part that motivates him to contact the guy at the top first; but as it turns out, that was really the worst thing he could do, and it starts a ripple effect that is almost irreversible.
Harvey is the president and CEO of All-Purpose Plastics, and like all businessmen, his main priority is the bottom line. Harvey is fully aware of the dangers that Soligel poses, but he is more interested in pushing it through government approval and getting rich. His heart is blackened by greed, and this shows not only in how he deals with Jim Richardson’s horrible situation, but in the comment he makes at the end of the interaction as well. He is superficial and heartless, just the sort of man you would expect to be running a company and heading a terrible chemical cover-up.
Lilith is Alicia Gaden’s dormmate at UCLA. The two are friends, getting along as girlfriends should. They look out for each other, gab to each other, and generally help each other out when needed. Lilith is the first face-to-face zombie infection that Alicia is witness to. It is through Lilith’s change, and the incessant thirst that accompanies it, that Alicia is able to recognize how the water doesn’t taste right, and it spurns her on to figure out why. While playing a very short role in this book, Lilith is the catalyst for the studies and research to be conducted by Alicia and Jace.
Belinda Smythe is not a speaking character at all in these pages; rather, she is just a nobody who happened to own a house out in the middle of nowhere, who also happened to get eaten by zombies. Belinda’s home and car become lifesaving finds for Jace and Alicia, who are in desperate need of safe shelter by the time they stumble upon it. Belinda Smythe gets honorary character mention.