Mark Spitz is an average guy (a B student) tasked with helping clear post-apocalyptic Manhattan of infected "stragglers." These slow, confused zombies are left after their more dangerous, aggressive counterparts--"skels"--have been removed by the military.
As a member of the civilian squad trying to reclaim the city, Mark falls into long, internal reminiscences of his former life, before and after "Last Night" (when the plague caused the apocalypse). He identifies with the "stragglers" in their mindless repetitions of mundane acts and thinks of friends and family as he clears buildings in Zone One.
However, in the course of three days, his team of "sweepers" discover that not all of the "stragglers" are as harmless as they once thought. In the end, Mark, who has never learned to swim, must face a sea of "skels" when the wall separating Zone One from the uncleared land falls.
Best part of story, including ending:
This book is an excellent examination of modern life; it illuminates how many people feel trapped in average lives, as "stragglers" going through the motions.
Best scene in story:
The flashback of hiding out in a toy store with another survivor named Mim gave a lot of depth to Mark's character and the relationships that occur in a post-apocalyptic world.
Opinion about the main character:
Mark Spitz is easy to identify with because he is so average. His flaws make him seem real, and the reader is able to see through his eyes.