Book Review Friday: Slow Burn: Zero Day, Book 1


Slow Burn: Zero Day, Book 1Slow Burn: Zero Day, Book 1, by Bobby Adair, follows the unpredictable path of slacker Zed Zane, a man who finds himself in the wrong place (jail) at the wrong time (the zombie apocalypse). Not that his day started with promise. Broke, hung over, and oblivious to anything except the need to ask his mom and step dad to cover his rent, again, Zed arrives at his childhood home to find a gruesome scene of death and destruction. As Zed says, “Sometimes a half-bottle of breakfast tequila just isn’t enough to deal with the day’s reality.”

Clueless and buzzed, Zed attempts to call the police. “I guess some people in that situation would have crumbled, some would have cried, but I’d emotionally disconnected from life a long time ago. For that I had to thank the skeletal bitch on the floor with her greedy rodent soul and her short-tempered ape-mate in the kitchen. If anything, her death was a belated answer to old prayers, with a bit of unexpected mess.”

Okay, maybe Zed’s not so clueless after all.

Arrested for the murder of his parents, Zed’s thrown in jail. Ever the survivor, when the jail erupts in a riot Zed follows over-sized Murphy Smalls and his friend Earl, as they escape. Too bad it’s one of those out of the fire and into the frying pan situations as now the trio must contend with flesh-eating zombies and panicky armed police. Even worse, Zed’s nasty arm wound, inflicted by his dear, dead step dad, needs medical care. A perilous trip to the nearest Emergency Room gets Zed and his friends quarantined. Zed has a sneaking suspicion that quarantine really means rounding up and killing the infected.

As resilient as a cockroach, Zed gets himself and his cohorts out of quarantine and finds refuge in a building with Jerome, a CDC employee caught in the chaos. Sure, Zed thinks things are on the upswing. Unfortunately partner Jerome is more useless and self-centered than Zed. Yep. Things are on a downward spiral here.

Though it sounds grim, Slow Burn is a fun read. If Zed’s to be believed, he truly had a horrific childhood and can’t be blamed for numbing the world with booze and pot. Still he retains a spark of decency that is ignited when Murphy and Earl drag him along on their prison break and look out for him. Like a stray dog responding to a caress while expecting a kick, Zed discovers feelings he didn’t know he had, including the courage to risk his life to save others, rather than putting on his sunglasses and heavy metal and drowning out the world.

Bobby Adair’s Slow Burn: Zero Day, Book 1 is a quick fun read and it’s perma free on Amazon. You have nothing to lose by downloading it to your Kindle and giving it a try. If you like it, show Bobby some love and purchase the rest of the series, available both in paperback and Kindle. Currently Slow Burn boxed set Books 1-3 is only 99 cents.

Friday Book Review: The Tilian Virus

Tom Calen’s The Tilian Virus (The Pandemic Sequence Book 1) tells the tale of Mike Allard, former newbie school teacher now leader of a band of survivors of the Tilian virus. The virus, which turns its victims into flesh-eating predators, quickly wipes out the majority of the world’s population and leaves the survivors to fight off the infected as well as other uninfected survivors competing for limited resources. The narrative switches back and forth in time from the early days of the pandemic to seven years later and allows the reader to watch Mike and his former high school students grow up and mature in a world gone bad. Refreshingly, they remain decent people, even when it is to their detriment.

Mike transitions from a twenty-something inexperienced teacher, whose greatest worry is bus duty, to a solid leader who keeps hope alive in a seemingly hopeless world. He is not a man of steel, a ninja, or Jack Reacher. He’s a regular guy making do with what he has. A thoughtful, hard worker, he allows his former students to use their strengths to assist in their shared survival. He doesn’t always make the best decisions, but when he makes mistakes he takes responsibility and does the dirty work to correct them. Definitely someone I’d put on my pandemic survival team.

The story moves along at a brisk pace and though there is plenty of bloodshed and killing, there is more relationship building and maturity than found in many books in this genre. I won’t spoil the ending of this most excellent novel, but it is rare I am reduced to a sobbing mess at the end of one as I was when I finished this. The Tilian Virus has one of the strongest, most evocative endings I’ve read recently and though it filled me with deep sadness, it also made me want to continue the journey into Books 2 and 3.  Get yourself a copy of The Tilian Virus and a box of kleenex and email me when you’re done to tell me what you think. I’m dying to talk about it!

Get your copy at Amazon or check out other offerings at Permuted Press because they really do enjoy the apocalypse.


Book Review Friday: Undead LA 1 by Devan Sagliani

Undead LA 1, by Devan Sagliani, uses the landscape of sunny California as the epicenter of a zombie infection deliberately unleashed upon the inhabitants of Skid Row. The infection quickly spreads throughout Los Angeles and points beyond. Rather than focusing on assigning blame or following the narrative through the eyes of government or media, Sagliani employs a diverse range of 6 narrators who find their normal existence interrupted by the zombie apocalypse.

Each narrative is a self-contained story, making it easy to read one and ponder the what-ifs before turning to the next. The narrators include a burned out airline pilot reminiscent of Denzel Washington in the movie Flight, a police detective squaring off against a serial killer, and a terminal cancer patient living out her Make a Wish dream at the Emmy’s. Though there is plenty of blood and gore in each story, there’s also a strong thread of introspection and making amends as people face the inevitability of their death, either from the zombie hordes or from the government’s attempt to exterminate everyone rather than let one zombie break free.

The most gruesome story follows Detective Gary Wendell. Bitter and defeated after being outsmarted by a serial killer, Wendell discovers the zombie apocalypse is a perfect time to mete out his own brand of justice. The most hopeful story, Dogtown Locals Union, shows two surfing brothers as they attempt to survive in peace and harmony while still catching some waves. In between are all levels of hope, despair, triumph, and tragedy. Sagliani does an excellent job of showing a few of the millions of stories that lie beneath the surface of any mass disaster.

Undead LA 1 is a fast-paced, unpredictable adventure. Open it up and enjoy the ride.

If you like this, you might also like another book by Sagliani, The Rising Dead. Read our review here

Now, enough reading blogs. Time to buy a book. Undead LA is available at Amazon.

Book Review Friday: Deadtown

Deadtown, by Nancy Holzner, is not a traditional zombie novel. The heroine, Victory Vaughn, is a shapeshifting demon slayer, not a zombie killer, and the zombies in this fast paced novel live in the confines of a walled-in portion of Boston called Deadtown.

In the world of Victory Vaughn, zombies don’t crave brains, they crave food, especially sugary treats. Twinkies, donuts, and ice cream are consumed in massive quantities and, because they’re zombies, there’s no problem with weight gain. Zombies also aren’t condemned to wander alone until some stray human kills them. Instead they legally live in Designated Area 1, nicknamed Deadtown, with all of the other paranormals, including vampires, werewolves, and demi demons. Deadtown residents can only leave the confines of their neighborhood as long as they have a permit. Caught outside Deadtown without a permit? Not good

The story takes place three years after a virus hits downtown Boston and instantly kills two thousand people in a couple of block radius. Three days later the dead rise and the world is introduced to actual zombies. The immediate joy of having a loved one return from the dead is eventually replaced by the realization that the loved ones are different.

“Their skin was a funny shade of greenish-gray, their movements stiff. They avoided sunlight and spent nights wide-awake. Their superhuman strength and insatiable hunger made them as terrifying as the zombies in any horror flick. And then there was the little problem of blood – the smell of fresh-spilt human blood sent them into a frenzy of hunger. You could calm them down with any kind of food, but the bloodlust did make things awkward sometimes.” Deadtown

Victory Vaughn takes teenage zombie Tina under her wing, rescuing her from the monotony of the group home she lives in and the pain of having parents that want to forget her. Throughout the novel, Tina’s teenage emotions,  tremendous strength,  and voracious appetite, make for an unpredictable combination. As much as Victory wants to be a big sister to this troubled teen, she has other problems to tend to, including a Hellion that threatens to destroy all of Boston.

Deadtown is a great, fun read with exciting characters. Best of all, it shows zombies as more than cardboard cutouts intent on eating brains. Tina the teenage zombie is a feisty character that mirrors the capabilities of real-life zombie kids instead of relying on the stereotypes of the past.  A must-read for our zombie teens.

Click to buy Deadtown (A Deadtown Novel)at Amazon.

Book Review Friday: Valley of Death, Zombie Trailer Park by William Bebb

Valley of Death, Zombie Trailer Park by William Bebb is a horror-comedy taking place in a remote trailer park outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. When a chemical plant accident leaves one man dead, the residents of the park join for the funeral only to have the corpse reanimate and attack the living.

Part of the fun of this novel is the ensemble of characters. Most of the action involves a geriatric trailer park resident, his grandson, and an unlucky sanitation worker who tries to empty the park’s septic tank at the wrong time. Other characters include a survivalist camped out beyond the grid, a married couple who’ve escaped into the valley to cook meth, and a pair of missionaries.

While Valley of Death is a fun, poolside (or fireplace) novel, it could be leaner. Everyone has a backstory and everyone’s backstory has a backstory. Readers who prefer their storytelling stripped down and tight may get exasperated with the sheer amount of information. Though the backstories are entertaining, the reader who skips them will still be able to follow the plot.  This is an easy, fun read.

Best of all, Valley of Death, Zombie Trailer Park is available through Amazon,  Valley Of Death, Zombie Trailer Park and Barnes & Noble , for free. If you enjoy William Bebb’s writing, you can learn more about him and his other novels at his website: