George A. Romero (l) and Daniel Kraus Credit: image via Twitter

Chicago author Daniel Kraus announced in a tweet today that he is finishing an epic zombie novel left behind by George A. Romero, the legendary director of Night of the Living Dead. The book, titled The Living Dead, will be published in the fall of 2019 by Tor Books.

“If I could have named somebody in the world I would have wanted to do something with, it would have been him,” Kraus told the Reader. “The first movie I ever saw was Night of the Living Dead. Day of the Dead changed my worldview. He’s probably my favorite artist of any kind.”

Romero’s manager, Chris Roe, learned that Kraus was a fan of Romero’s, and arranged for the two to meet about 10 years ago. Roe has followed Kraus’s career in the interim, and after Romero’s death in July 2017, Roe and Romero’s wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, approached Kraus about finishing the book.

“George probably wrote a third of the book,” Kraus says, “and there are indications of where some things were going. Other things not so much. As the manuscript gets further on it gets a little sketchier. Near the end it’s almost like he was writing notes to himself.” Kraus has combined the clues in the manuscript with research into Romero’s work and life to complete the novel.

The book is epic in scope, jumping between three different points in history and spanning the globe. Kraus believe that as an independent filmmaker, the book was Romero’s “way to do all the things he never had the budget for with movies.”

After the announcement, Kraus tweeted today: “Romero fans, I will not let you down.”