Book Review Friday: Blood Soaked and Contagious

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Soaked-Contagious-James-Crawford-ebook/dp/B005NF3SGK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1396569762&sr=1-1&keywords=blood+soaked+and+contagious

Blood Soaked and Contagious by James Crawford manages to entertain, educate, and horrify as it follows the adventures of Frank and his Man Scythe. Did I mention I love Frank? A great sense of humor, moves honed by numerous zombie death matches, and the desire to be a better man combine to make Frank a wonderful, yet deeply flawed, hero.

In Frank’s words: “I’ve been doing this gig, ‘Freelance Zombie Extermination,’ for just over a year and a half. My claim to fame is simple: Hey, I’m still alive! Better, I’m sure, than the other options.”

He’s sort of the American Juan of the Dead.

But Frank isn’t fighting brain-dead, sluggish zombies who travel in herds and eat anything in their path. These zombies are smart, organized, fast, and only attracted to people infected with the zombie virus. No infection with the virus means you can roam with impunity. Infection with the virus is akin to blood in shark infested waters, it’s only a matter of time before you end up as a zombie snack.

Sure, there’s plenty of zombie brain bashing, crushing, and skewering, but the real meat of this story lies in the bond between the inhabitants of Frank’s small, close-knit neighborhood.  When Frank’s good friend is asked to work for a zombie warlord and develop technology to allow the zombies to keep humans as cattle to feed upon, the friend must either submit to the request or endanger the lives of everyone in their community. If only it was as easy as putting up fences and stopping swarming zombies. Instead Frank and his compatriots must strategize against zombies with weapons, military tactics and discipline, and a rather casual attitude toward using their least gifted members as cannon fodder.

As if Frank’s life isn’t complicated enough, sibling rivalry and a hot female zombie killer, who admires Frank’s Man Scythe as much as he does, keeps the heat turned up on this page turner.  Blood Soaked and Contagious is a winner of a novel. Buy it at Amazon. If you can’t get enough of Frank, there’s a second book available called  Blood Soaked and Invaded.

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Soaked-Contagious-James-Crawford-ebook/dp/B005NF3SGK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1396569762&sr=1-1&keywords=blood+soaked+and+contagious

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Soaked-Invaded-Blood-Soaked-Crawford-ebook/dp/B0079N8J04/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1396709790&sr=1-1&keywords=blood+soaked+and+invaded

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Book Review Friday: Undead LA 1 by Devan Sagliani

http://www.amazon.com/Undead-L-Devan-Sagliani-ebook/dp/B00EW6S546/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1391265543&sr=8-1&keywords=undead+la

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.

http://www.amazon.com/Undead-L-Devan-Sagliani-ebook/dp/B00EW6S546/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391267976&sr=8-1&keywords=undead+LA

You Have Questions, We Have Answers

Our mailbox overflows with questions from people curious about specific aspects of the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization. Today, we will answer some of those questions.

Question Mark Graffiti
Question Mark Graffiti (Photo credit: Bilal Kamoon)

From George in Idaho: Why do you feed the children cow brains and how many brains do you go through on a yearly basis?

Dennis,  please refer to this link: http://feedthezombiechildren.org/2012/10/30/i-feed-zombies-so-you-dont-have-to/ for the full story on how we came to our decision to use cow brains. As far as how many we go through on an annual basis, each full-grown cow brain is a little shy of 1 pound. Our nutritionists have carefully calculated that zombie children need approximately 1/2 pound of brain per day to keep them active and healthy. Therefore the amount of brains depends on how many children we have on-site. With 200 zombie kids, we need approximately 36,500 pounds annually or 16 1/2 metric tons.

From Caroline in Seattle: Are there any plans to make your zombie kid restraint devices available to the general public? It seems they would come in handy for people who are keeping their zombie kids at home.

Caroline, handling zombie children is best left to professionals. Our team of zombie happiness engineers work to ensure each restraint is as humane and pain-free as possible. Unfortunately we feel making them available to people without the proper training and support would only result in tragedy. On the advice of our legal team, there are no plans to market our devices.

Restraint Chairs
Restraint Chairs (Photo credit: j_bary)

Rex from the Florida Panhandle: In my area, many people die while waiting for organ transplants. Can’t the zombies be put to use for spare parts?

Rex, ethically we can’t condone using zombies as “spare parts.” Additionally, zombies exist in a chronic state of decomposition. Transplanting a zombie organ into a live human wouldn’t help the human as they’d now have a totally non-working organ which would hasten the death of the recipient.

English: Dr. Ehtuish Preforming An Organ Trans...
English: Dr. Ehtuish Preforming An Organ Transplant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scott from Cincinnati: Are there any plans to open up your zombie preserve for hunting opportunities?

Scott, if you can look at the faces of our kids and want to shoot them, there is too much wrong with you to address in this post. Please contact a mental health professional and get the help you so desperately need.

Delilah from New Hampshire: I’ve heard airlines are planning a rule change to prohibit transport of zombies. Are you opening up additional havens for zombie kids in the Midwest and West Coast?

Deliliah, we’ve been in contact with airline executives about this troubling rule change. Our preferred method of transport is through our underground zombie railroad (read the post at http://feedthezombiechildren.org/2012/10/15/the-zombie-underground-railroad/), but in some cases we’ve been forced to rely on air transport. Currently we can fly zombie kids in hardcover golf club cases as checked baggage for a reasonable fee. If this practice is stopped, it will negatively impact our ability to take zombie kids from the West Coast. Though we have no plans to open any additional facilities, we’ve recently added a Washington lobbyist to our staff and hope he can resolve this issue to our satisfaction.

Carousel 4
Carousel 4 (Photo credit: gloom)

Sandra from South Carolina: I’ve heard that zombies eat fire ants. Can I rent a zombie to make my yard a fire ant-free zone?

Sandra, yes, we have discovered that zombie are naturally attracted to fire ant nests. Researchers at our preserve estimate one zombie can clear a half-acre of fire ant nests in one day. Currently we are sponsoring a study to find out why zombies are impervious to the bites and venom of fire ants.  As far as renting a zombie to clean your yard of fire ants, the answer is no. These are children, decomposing children, but children nonetheless. We do not rent them out.

And our last question is from Jacques in Montreal: Since your move to South Carolina, have you noticed the warmer weather hastens the children’s decomposition or retards it?

Excellent question, Jacques. Our patented brining process keeps our zombie children in good shape by preserving, or curing, their skin. Unfortunately proper curing must take place in a narrow temperature range to be effective. Too cold or too warm will result in improperly cured skin and lead to quicker decomposition. We’ve adjusted by creating a curing room which is kept at a steady 38 degrees and holds ten children. Ask for a tour next time you visit our zombie habitat!

Do you have a question? Send it to us at feedthezombiechildren@gmail. com for an answer. Remember, we feed the zombie kids so you won’t have to.

Zombie Emergency Rescue Organization

Book Review Friday: The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

last bastion of the living

When Barnes and Noble posted a list of their top 20 zombie novels of the last decade, we were pleased to see we’d read some of them, but felt it was our obligation to read the rest. We started with number one, The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater (2012).

Frater creates a futuristic world in which nations banded together in the face of a zombie apocalypse and created The Bastion, a self-contained, self-sufficient city supposedly impervious from zombie attack. Unfortunately something goes wrong and the outer section of  The Bastion is breached. The outer section is the agricultural area, home to the livestock and site of the gardens. Without it, the occupants of  The Bastion face death by starvation.

The zombies, victims of the Inferi Scourge Plague Virus, are fearsome, but even scarier creatures hide among them outside the city gates. As  a group of soldiers ventures into the breached outer section, hopefully to reclaim it from the Inferi Scourge and restart food production, they find all is not as it seems. Special Sargent Maria Martinez, a volunteer for the dangerous mission, is willing to pay any price to leave the slowly dying Bastion, but finds the military and government is not above treachery, intrigue, and backstabbing. Even so, she works to fulfill her mission and return to the man she loves.

Definitely not your run of the mill zombie novel, Frater isn’t content to portray mankind as deserving extinction. She weaves a nuanced tale that reminds us there is good and bad in all of us, and the individual ultimately makes the decision as to do good or evil.  This thought-provoking read kept me awake several nights pondering the implications.

If you’re looking for something different in the zombie genre, pick up The Last Bastion of the Living here.

You won’t regret your decision.

Wednesday’s Child: Love Among The Body Parts

Sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty in the work of the Zombie Emergency Research Organization. No matter how hard we try to preserve the integrity of the zombie kids, decomposition is a constant threat. Whenever I overwhelmed and discouraged, I know where to look to have my faith in our mission restored. I’d like to draw your attention to today’s Wednesday’s Children, Remi and Julia.

Wedding Dress For Happy Couple in Love

Wedding Dress For Happy Couple in Love (Photo credit: epSos.de) Remi and Julia will never realize their dreams of a white wedding, but they have each other, and that’s enough.

Remi and Julia were gangly 13 year olds when they met at a summer camp in the White Mountains. Remi, a Louisiana native, had recently moved to New Hampshire with his family.  His parents hoped camp would help him make friends before the school year began.  Julia, a native of the White Mountains, had never met anyone outside of New England and was fascinated by Remi’s southern accent and his tales of bayous and gators.  Remi fell in love with Julia’s quick wit and fly fishing skills. By the end of their first day together, they were inseparable. By the time 8th grade started, they were going steady.

couple

couple (Photo credit: zoetnet) From 8th grade through senior year, their love remained strong.

There are those who scoff at young love. Those who point to statistics and anecdotes and suggest that it’s impossible to find your soul mate at such an early age. Remi and Julia’s families and friends would beg to differ. As the years passed, the couple continued to be devoted to each other.  Not as teenagers who clung to each other out of weakness, but as mature young adults who cherished their relationship without feeling the need to exclude the rest of the world. They talked of marriage and children, but planned to wait until after college. He wanted to be a chef. She dreamed of being a lawyer. They spent the summer of their senior year as camp counselors at the camp they’d met at.

Late one night, long after everyone else had retired to their tents, Remi and Julia sat by the fire. Perhaps they sat quietly holding hands, or maybe they talked of college applications and SAT‘s.  In any case, the quiet night was interrupted by screams from a nearby tent of eight year olds. Remi and Julia ran to the tent and discovered one of the campers had underwent zombification. While Julia led the other campers to safety, Remi distracted the zombie child with loud movements. In the cramped confines of a tent illuminated only by flashlight, Remi probably never saw the canteen he tripped on. Sensing an opportunity, the zombie child flung himself on the ground atop Remi and bit his ear. Julia reentered the tent and pulled the ravenous zombie off Remi, suffering a bite to her arm in the process. Fearing a black bear attack, the camp director arrived with a loaded gun and fatally shot the zombie child before any more damage could be done.

Unfortunately it was too late for Remi and Julia.

Knowing their fate, the couple went off into the woods together one last time. One can only imagine how difficult it is to fit a lifetime of love into a few short hours, but if anyone could do it, this couple could.

By the time the New Hampshire State Zombie Troopers arrived, four hours had passed. The couple’s parents pleaded for them to be rehabilitated rather than shot on sight. The Troopers made no promises. There was no way of knowing where the couple was or what they might have done. The mood was grim.

Trooper Adam Labounty, a twenty year veteran of the New Hampshire State Police, told us about the encounter:

“My partner and I headed to a waterfall we’d heard the kids liked to hang out at. When we got there, the dark clouds that had been around all night blew off and the full moon glinted off the water. We saw the couple under a tall tree near the water’s edge. Their moans weren’t the usual zombie sounds.  They moaned in harmony, as if they were singing a sad hymn. The other sounds of the forest faded away and their voices grew louder. My partner turned to me with a funny look on his face and said, can you hear that. It took me a minute until I realized they were moaning words.”

Labounty shook his head as if he still couldn’t make sense of it. “They were moaning I love you to one another. I mean, they were zombies. There was no doubt they’d turned. But they were talking. We crept up to them, our equipment at the ready, but they didn’t try to escape. In fact, they moved closer together. And that’s when we saw they were holding hands.”

“Damnedest thing I ever saw. Two zombies holding hands, staring into each others eyes, moaning I love you.” He swiped at his eyes. “That wasn’t the strangest thing, though. They’d tied themselves to the tree, must have been before they turned. Never made a move at us. We stood there with our guns pointed, feeling like jack asses to be honest, and I looked at my partner and said, I’m not shooting them. He wouldn’t either. We secured them and turned them over to their parents.”

The parents dropped the couple off with us and if you ever get the opportunity to visit our sanctuary, you’ll see and hear Remi and Julia. Still holding hands, still moaning I love you, still trying to cram a lifetime of love into the time they have left.

True love can’t be stopped, even by the zombie virus.

Happy Wednesday from your friends at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization.

Wednesday’s Child: Cara The Caregiver

On Wednesday, the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization likes to spotlight one child to demonstrate that our residents are children first, and zombies second.

Cara, a sixteen year old girl from New Hampshire, had dreams of becoming a nurse prior to her zombification. She volunteered twice weekly at a local nursing home, spent her Saturdays doing clerical work at Big Brothers – Big Sisters, and participated in a reading program at the local elementary school.  While some teenagers fill their schedule with activities destined to look good on college and scholarship applications, Cara’s interest lay not in what the volunteer work could do for her, but in what she could accomplish with her volunteer work.  Her plans included applying to a local community college to obtain a nursing degree.  Whether she focused on geriatrics or pediatrics was still up in the air.  A true asset to her community, her human life was cut short during a Big Brother – Big Sister outing when one of the boys turned. In order to protect another human life, Cara sacrificed hers.

English: Hungarian Medals for Bravery little s...

English: Hungarian Medals for Bravery little silver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course there is no medal of bravery for those who turn into zombies. Cara’s parents found that in spite of all of the help Cara provided, no one was willing to return the favor. Her parents confined her to a cellar room and hoped that vigilantes would not arrive to finish her off. It was a grim existence for a family that had lived such a purpose-filled life.

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization has a cadre of dedicated volunteers who scour the internet and local newspapers for reports of recently turned zombie children. The weekly newspaper of Cara’s small hometown lay at the bottom of a reading pile for several months, but when we heard of Cara’s plight, we immediately offered her housing. Her grateful parents accepted our offer and three months after her zombification, Cara became a full-time resident here.

Since then she has blossomed in our facility and her natural desire to help has become a blessing for which we are grateful. She assists with new arrivals, walking beside them for hours in quiet companionship and solidarity. She volunteers in our daycare  area. She even works in our medical unit, assisting the surgeons and seamstresses by helping to position and calm other residents as repairs are made.

Contracting a dread disease did not change Cara’s desire to help make this world a better place. In some ways, it has made it stronger.  The next time you see a zombie child, look past the decomposing skin and gnashing teeth and picture the child within.  Perhaps she’s the girl who once sold you Girl Scout cookies or made the winning goal on your daughter’s soccer team. Maybe it’s the boy who mowed your lawn or was in your Boy Scout troop.  Their past is gone, but you can help make their future a better place by showing compassion.

The Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

We feed the zombie children so you don’t have to.