Book Review Friday: Brew by Bill Braddock

  Brew, by Bill Braddock, is a fast paced romp that combines the craziness of a college football weekend with a crowd of sex crazed, flesh-eating drunks. Though they are not identified as zombies, they do consider brains a delicacy. But in Brew these creatures, primarily college students, are avid consumers of all things flesh. Whether it’s snacking on the nearest bystander or having noisy, eventually mutilating public sex, flesh drives this story.

This is not a tale for the young or the squeamish.

The premise, the local microbew, affectionately known as Cougar piss, is spiked by eco-terrorists. Since the activists don’t have the know how to carry out their plan, they outsource the job to chemistry student Herbert Weston, a villain reminiscent of Harold Lauder in The Stand. This group of self-righteous zealots finds out that not everyone is as honorable as they are and Herbert’s glee at the turn of events almost makes him likeable.

Though Brew manages to show the worst in people, it also reveals the people who band together, help one another, and perform heroic acts under the shadow of imminent death. Steve and Cat, local drug dealer and sexy female, try to ethically survive the chaos. For all of her tight clothes and sex appeal, Cat comes across a strong female who is not afraid to make hard decisions. Steve, her companion in arms, takes a little longer to make the right decision, but eventually he always does the right thing. It’s a refreshing and welcome change to spend time in a world where the good guys outnumber the bad.

Overall Brew muscled along at a breakneck pace with vivid descriptions and interesting characters. It might even make you a little more cautious the next time you visit a college on a football weekend. Available at Amazon.

Advertisements

2013 Year in Review at Feed the Zombie Children

English: Fireworks over Edinburgh on New Year'...

English: Fireworks over Edinburgh on New Year’s Eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2013 was a busy year for the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization. For those of you just joining us, as well as those who want to remember the year that was, here is 2013 in review.

January 2013: Our call for surgeons and seamstresses to help maintain and repair our zombie kids is  met with overwhelming success. Over twenty-five board certified surgeons and thirty-two seamstresses answer our call and set up teams for both routine skin repairs and emergencies. The program comes to the attention of New England‘s premier academic medical center and they generously offer to use our facility as an internship location for surgical residents. The influx of students leads to the publication of several academic papers including “Tensile Strength in Zombie Skin: Implications for Plastic Surgeons” and “Microbial Pathogenesis in Undead Tissue.”

February 2013: After the government of Canada declares their opposition to sheltering zombies, we offer haven to orphaned Canadian zombie kids. What starts as a trickle, turns into a flood as Canadian parents and relatives that had been sheltering zombies cross the border to New Hampshire. Our population doubles in February, but the kind-hearted people of Canada donate money, clothing, and chain link fencing to help us accommodate the new arrivals.

March 2013: A New Hampshire state representative reveals his son as a zombie on the House floor. In the ensuing chaos, New Hampshire legislators begin drafting bills to either protect, or remove, the rights of zombie kids. Numerous candle light vigils and inflammatory blog posts illuminate the issue while the Legislature debates amending the state motto from “Live Free or Die” to the original toast it was derived from, “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of all evils.”

April 2013: We share our preservation method, brining, with the world. We turn down invitations to appear on “The View,” “The Daily Show,” and “The Talk.” After much coaxing, we reluctantly agree to appear on “The Tonight Show,” but the appearance never happens after an unfortunate incident with a curious audience member and one of our charges.

May 2013: We start construction on a second preserve at Lake Keowee South Carolina. Construction is slow, and the weather warm and we inadvertently discover that fire ants die after biting our zombie kids. Scientists convene to see if our kids have the solution to one of the South’s most vexing problems. Our preserve is the only fire ant free zone in South Carolina.

Fire ant nest

Fire ant nest (Photo credit: Martin LaBar (going on hiatus))

June 2013: A hot spell and lack of air conditioning result in the discovery that zombies slow down in prolonged heat, entering a hibernation-like state. Biologists from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources arrive to investigate. Their conclusion? Even zombies have the sense not to work too hard in hot weather.

July 2013: Our New Hampshire facility gets dragged into a PETA demonstration. Misguided activists attempt to jump the fences and free the zombie kids. Our fences hold until the New Hampshire National Guard arrives. No zombie kids, or activists, are hurt.

August 2013: The Sea Shepherd arrives at Lake Keowee with plans to harass our zombie preserve by water and pitch a new show idea to the Discovery Channel. Helpful South Carolinians quickly assemble a flotilla of boats, kayaks, and rubber rafts to protect our shore. We provide cases of beer for the thirsty sailors and a sound system capable of being heard all the way to the ocean. Captain Paul Watson accepts defeat, and a cold Natty Light, before leaving the state.

September 2013: With construction complete at the end of September, we offer our New Hampshire staff members the opportunity to transfer to our South Carolina location. Unfortunately all of them decide to transfer and we make the sad decision to close our New Hampshire preserve and relocate all of our kids to South Carolina. The resulting savings in property taxes enables us to start construction on a second site on Lake Hartwell.

October 2013: A joyful month capped off by the marriage of our public relations director, Sarah Carpenter. Using our beautiful preserve as a backdrop, guests drank, ate, and played into the wee hours. Local celebrity, Tiny Dancer Josh, made a rare public appearance.

The bride and groom got in the spirit at a zombie themed Jack and Jill party pre-wedding

The bride and groom got in the spirit at a zombie themed Jack and Jill party pre-wedding

November 2013: We gave thanks in November by allowing our older kids to serve at several Oconee County homeless shelter Thanksgiving dinners. Dressed in turkey outfits, complete with masks, guests were kept safe and no spare body parts ended up in the stuffing.

December 2013: A peaceful moonlight Christmas Eve service at our lakeside retreat attracted over 200 community members to pray with us. Truly, we are in God’s land here.

We look forward to returning to regular posting in 2014, including our Friday Book Review feature. Upcoming book reviews include BREW by Bill Braddock and DEAD TIDE by Stephen North. Looking for something to read in the meantime? Below are a few of the books we reviewed in 2013.

Happy New Year from your friends at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization.

The Undead Situationlast bastion of the living

Mallory Caine, Zombie at Law. She ate the sheriff, but she did not eat the deputy.

Mallory Caine, Zombie at Law. She ate the sheriff, but she did not eat the deputy.

kill the deaddead livingdouble deadpay me in flesh

Book Review Friday: Tankbread by Paul Mannering

Tankbread

Tankbread

I was browsing through my Kindle the other night when I saw the title, Tankbread. Having no recollection of downloading it, and not even sure what it might be about, I clicked on it and was rewarded with a cool, fast-paced zombie tale that should be made into a movie. Not to say reading this book wasn’t enjoyable. It was. I stayed up into the wee hours to finish it in one night and kept thinking about it the next day. Still, a movie version would be cool. You know, for people who don’t like to read.
The narrator of Tankbread is a hero on par with Riddick in the movie “Pitch Black” and Clint Eastwood‘s the Man with No Name. In fact, I don’t think narrator ever reveals his name. He’s called “bad dog,” by the zombie who hires him to pick up a package and the “courier” by the scientists who make synthetic humans as zombie food. This is one twisted post apocalyptic world.

Right off the bat, the reader knows the narrator has been there, done that, and stole the t-shirt. Surviving in a world essentially run by zombies is tough. For once, instead of the humans being the real threat to mankind, semi-intelligent zombies are kicking their ass. Sure, there’s cowardly, craven humans kowtowing to the the zombies, including making their food, but there’s also plenty of humans who are banding together and trying to eke out more than a sustenance lifestyle. The real menace in this tale are zombies who can think and plan. They’re definitely not as swift on the uptake as humans, but with their sheer numbers, they don’t have to be.

Still, there are plenty of feral zombies who exhibit traditional zombie behavior, but the dangerous zombies are capable of thinking of more than eating brains. Luckily scientists have produced human clones, called Tankbread, to feed the zombie hordes. Perhaps we should call them the zombie overlords. If the humans continue to produce Tankbread, the zombies won’t eat them. Appeasement on a grand scale.

The novel follows the journey of our reluctant hero from the zombie slums to human settlements and back again. His journey fuels this story and kept me glued to the page. The author squeezes in plenty of gore and fighting and death, but he keeps hope alive in this bleak world. At the end, I felt surprisingly good about the outcome. Sure, the zombie apocalypse is going to suck, but imagine if it turned out to be mankind’s finest hour, rather than an excuse for power-hungry psychopaths to fulfill their sickest desires.

If you’re looking for something new in the zombie genre, check out Tankbread. I think you’ll be glad you did.  Click here for Amazon link for kindle book or paperback.

 

Books Gone Bad, Review or Ignore?

The staff at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization loves zombie books, zombie movies and even zombie TV shows. By keeping on the cutting edge of what is out there, we identify untruths and areas of confusion that need to be clarified in order to further our mission of making this a kinder, gentler world for zombie kids.

Unfortunately, some of the books we review are, to be honest, boring, unimaginative, and poorly written. That breaks our hearts. We WANT to give positive reviews. We thrill to the reading of tales that are fast-paced, smart, and keep us up until 4 a.m. to see how things turn out. Reviewing those books makes our Friday book review fun. The authors enjoy hearing some praise (writing a novel is damn hard work), for those with publishers (like our favorite publisher, Permuted Press, who sends free books for review) it is an acknowledgement of their savvy in the field of zombie lore, and it benefits our readers, who hunger for well-written stories that defy genre stereotypes. On a personal note, good book reviews generate shares, likes, and new visitors to our blog. All actions we heartily endorse.

So what happens when we give a bad book review? The author generally doesn’t share, people aren’t eager to read it, and our blog doesn’t benefit. The problem being that we can’t, in good conscience, write the kind of snarky, bad book review that will go viral and generate hits. We respect writers too much.

Our experience so far has identified two kinds of writers: those we call professionals, meaning they can take criticism, process it, and move on, and those we consider amateurs, who only want to validation that they are a great writer and consider criticism a sign of a stupid reader. Amateurs spend so much time defending the sanctity of their writing that they leave no room for discussion or reflection. We wish we could identify these writers prior to reviewing their work, because then we could avoid them.

Now, we’re not looking for sympathy. We appreciate everyone who offers us books to review and suggests books we might enjoy. Our post today is only to gather some feedback as to whether it is worthwhile to post truly bad reviews, or whether you only want us to review books in the zombie genre that possess some redeeming qualities. Answering our poll will allow us to serve you, and the orphaned zombie children, better. Thanks, Your Friends at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization.

Book Review Friday: The Undead Situation and The Undead Haze by Eloise J Knapp

Opening a second facility and dealing with internet craziness  has resulted in our backing off on our usual posting schedule and concentrating on daily operations. Luckily, the one thing we haven’t stopped doing is reading zombie fiction. Today we not only post Book Review Friday on a Sunday, we also give you a two-fer as we review Eloise J Knapp’s The Undead Situation and The Undead Haze.  Enjoy!

The Undead Situation

The Undead Situation by Eloise J Knapp
Cyrus V Sinclair doesn’t mind the zombie apocalypse. He’s got a crate of Guns and Ammo magazines, a well stocked pantry, and a bird’s-eye view of the chaos from his Seattle apartment. But when the chaos winds down, the magazine articles get repetitive, and Cyrus’ sweet tooth starts acting up, it’s time to enter the fray. Searching for his survivalist pal, Frank, and joined by a motley crew of survivors, Cyrus needs to dodge the zombies and avoid the crazies – survivors who have turned to religious fervor, cannibalism, raping and pillaging – to find safety.
Cyrus isn’t your typical leader. He’s cold, he’s cruel, and he’s a self admitted sociopath. When he isn’t hanging his pals out apartment windows by their feet or abandoning them to a zombie feast, he dispatches the crazies and the zombies with equal glee. The only warmth in his cold, two-sizes-too-small heart belongs to his albino ferret, Pickle and his allegiance to his friend, Frank.
Despite his cruelty, Cyrus is an interesting, almost charming protagonist. He’s like the misogynistic frat boy or arrogant asshole who you can’t stand but still hang out with at a party. Turns out,  there isn’t a lot of room for compassion when undead zombies roam the city and, despite his faults, Cyrus manages to keep himself better off than the Mother Theresa types.
The Undead Situation takes longer to get into than most zombie fare. Cyrus’ personality coupled with a slow start make the first couple of chapters difficult to engage with, but once the action starts, it’s nonstop to the end. In fact, I flew through this novel and went straight onto the second book of Cyrus V Sinclair’s story.
The Undead Haze

The Undead Haze

The Undead Haze by Eloise J Knapp
Cyrus V Sinclair should be in the clear. Sure, he lost his best friend, his protegé, and the only woman he considers his equal but he’s found Frank’s safe house. Pickle and Cyrus would be set if he could just forget the past. Instead his nightmares force him back into the zombie infested towns and cities in search of Blaze, the woman he left for dead.
To say Cyrus has had a change of heart in the sequel to The Undead Situation would be giving him too much credit. Sure, Cyrus is questioning himself: Was he ever truly a sociopath? Does he really want to help the survivors avoid the crazies? Is his search for Blaze something more than missing a friend? Luckily none of his questions undermine his basic self-preservation skills and weaklings be damned if they come between Cyrus and his survival.
If you enjoyed The Undead Situation as I did, The Undead Haze is a fantastic follow-up. The plot is more streamlined in the second novel and a whole new batch of crazies is introduced.  When I was done, I wanted more and am hoping there’s a third novel in the works.
The Undead Situation and The Undead Haze are available at Amazon. Now stop wasting time, go buy them.

Book Review Friday: Sea Sick: A Horror Novel by Iain Rob Wright

Part Groundhog Day, Part 30 Days Later, Sea Sick: A Horror Novel follows police officer Jack Wardsley as he replays the outbreak of a deadly plague onboard the Spirit of Kirkpatrick.

After a traumatic experience in the line of duty, Jack doesn’t expect much from his time aboard the vessel. He just wants some peace, quiet, and a couple of bottles of scotch. On his second day aboard ship, a common cold affecting one-third of the ship’s passengers changes for the deadly. Suddenly, the coughing and sneezing turns to eye bleeding and a taste for flesh. After fighting his way out of the theater to safety, a split second mistake ends with Jack’s windpipe being crushed.

When he wakes up, it’s the same day, same scenario. Jack finds himself once again battling his bloody-eyed, flesh-eating, fellow passengers to escape from the theater. Jack needs to find a way to save the ship or risk losing his sanity.

Sea Sick is a cool little novel with slick writing and great pacing. It takes a turn for the paranormal in the back half, but that plot twist only enhances the story. While bioterrorism and drug money is great, Pathwalkers and magic curses shake up the book in an unexpected and fun way.

ZERO has previously reviewed Iain Rob Wright’s free novel The Peeling. Check it out on Kindle for a small sample of Wright’s work. Sea Sick: A Horror Novel by Iain Rob Wright is a great pick for a quick weekend read. Pick it up on Amazon here.