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Texas Bill

Zombie Fiction or Something to Chew On

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The same author who wrote My Last Testament, George Milonas, has published a new zombie book entitled Off The Grid, and it is supposed to be the second in the series. I loved that first book, especially the way it skewered the God Complex some doctors seem to have. George would know, being a doctor himself. Anyway, on sale for 99 cents on Amazon, so I will read and see.

 

Read both of the books in a row and really liked them both. It was interesting to see how two totally different groups of people in two totally different settings reacted to the same crisis, and I couldn't help comparing and contrasting with how well they adapted and what the outcome was. My Last Testament had more of an impact, I think, at least at the gut level. But I really enjoyed watching "the Captain" come into his own in the Keys, too. Does make me wonder about having a boat as a temporary BOL/BOV, too.

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Oh, and the new Keeley book came out over the weekend, Demon Trap. Short, like all in this series and packed more than a few surprises. I enjoyed the heck out of it.

 

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I always do enjoy Dale's work! I'm interested to see how some of the storylines continue in future books, because even though Keeley's reached a big milestone with this installment, there are still quite a few things up in the air for her and the people in her circle!

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For my morning commute, I am going back and listening to the Dead End series by P.S. Powers on my Kindle. I actually am enjoying it more this time around and I have caught little nuances this time that escaped me the first time through. His "friend" Tipper really was a total wench to him, worse than the other women because her mind had not been tampered with, and she rejected him because she could sense his soul in turmoil. Nice.

 

OC, I don't know about a boat as a BOV/BOL. I have friends who have boats and my understanding of the dictionary definition of "boat" is "a hole in the water you throw money into." Worked out okay for these folks, as well as for the survivors in Safe Harbor (another really good zombie book).

 

As for Keeley, I think this one was my favorite installment because we get to see just how messed up her world really is by even supernatural standards. That Lenore is absolutely terrified of her, and not just because she is afraid Keeley is going to steal her boyfriend, says a lot about how dangerous Greater Demons can be, even ones that seem friendly.

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Hmm. I may have to re-read the Dead End series just because I did really enjoy it the first time. Plus there were so many strange and bad and "coincidental" things that happened throughout, I can imagine that re-reading it brings a lot of foreshadowing and whatnot to light. Tipper was AWFUL, wasn't she?

 

What I love is that somehow Keeley seems to scare people more by being friendly! LOL Everyone is so certain that the only thing a Greater Demon is interested is inflicting pain and damage that she can't hand someone a cookie without them figuring she's going to follow it up with a dagger to the back. I also like how she and Darla just happily chat about manipulating the lives of basically an entire town full of people as if they're making a coffee date or deciding on a new pair of shoes. I do hope there are more spinoffs with Zach, though - he's increasingly fascinating!

 

Yeah, I think a boat would only be a back-up BOV, so something that would imply I have enough money to have auxiliary and secondary preps. I've heard that definition of a boat before myself, so I suspect there's some truth to it! Plus you really have to have specific plans in mind in order to make the boat work for you. For example, unless it's a sailboat, you'll need a source of fuel (even biodiesel) in order to make it go anywhere. If it's a sailboat, they can't navigate any and all waterways because they have those keel things that run under the boat. Plus you actually have to know how to sail then.

 

It was more of a passing thought than a real plan, of course. I'm more of a land person when you get right down to it. LOL

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Luke Rhinehart's Long Voyage Back was a pretty good book about a group of survivors escaping to sea after a nuclear war. It got a little preachy at the end (sit around campfire and sing Kumbaya sort of thing) but the book had some interesting points about a sea survival situation. The author obviously knew what he was talking about regarding long sea voyages and teh atttendant rigors. I enjoyed the book even though it was written in the early 1980s originally and was dated.

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Back on zombies, I am reading Even Zombie Hunters Get the Blues by John Holmes. I have really enjoyed the story so far and this is another book with some really good tactical sense. Reminds me of Zombie Crusade in the at the scouts in this book have adapted to the zombie outbreak and they are actually trying to reclaim territory. I haven't finished it yet but I sense it is going to be a bang up ending.

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I finished Even Zombie Hunters Get the Blues last night. Really good story, different than a lot of military vs. zombies as the author tells the story from the perspective of the Irregular Scouts, teams of former military and civilian survivors working with the Army to reclaim lost territory. One thing, the author must have served under some really stupid officers when he was in Afghanistan based on some characters here.

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Just read a novella, Deadlocked, by A.R. Wise. It's free right now on Amazon for Kindle. It's the debut of a new series and I am really encouraged by it. For such a short work, you really do get a good sense of character development - AND tons of great zombie action. They are also battling "classic" zombies, which is definitely my preference with the genre (you know, mindless flesh-eating shamblers, nothing fast-moving or sentient).

 

Looking forward to Even Zombie Killers Get the Blues, too. Sounds like it could be a really enjoyable read, stupid officers aside. LOL

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OC, I really ilked the first Deadlocked novella, the others were good as well. I just started the new James Cook Surviving the Dead novel, Warrior Within. This author is really good and I had to go back and reread the first two when I saw book three was out. I usually do not like books with an alternating first person point of view, but Gabriel and Eric are such good characters that I don't mind. Check them out if you have not already.

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Read Even Zombie Killers Get the Blues, and really loved it. Yeah, the "LTC = idiot" thing got more than a little old, but otherwise I really enjoyed the story. The sense of a tight-knit group, the banter, history, trusting each other in dangerous situations, etc., was completely believable and you really do just want to know what's coming next for them.

 

I also read the Day Soldiers trilogy as you recommended. VERY different series, but fits a bit in this genre because they really were facing the annihilation of the human race at the hands of unnatural creatures. Lily was at times a bit hard to relate to, as she was so much an island unto herself. But the supporting "cast" was warm and interesting and carried me past those moments where I was wondering what in the heck she was up to. LOL It was also just refreshing for being such a different spin on vampires, werewolves, and a somewhat post-apocalyptic America.

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OC, glad you liked them. That point about Lilly was the only negative I put in my Amazon review. Sorry, nobody can hold it together that well. She lost EVERYBODY and somehow managed to keep on trucking.

 

I finished James Cook new Surviving the Dead novel, Warrior Within, last night. All I can say is this guy Cook has the touch. I liked the first book in this series, loved the second and this third book really broke new ground. The zombies are almost an afterthought here, where he real action involves the Free Legion first seen in book two as well as a conspiracy thrown in for kicks. There are some really harsh passages here, but entirely in line with the story, and by the end of the book neither Gabe nor Eric are the same. This book also deals with emotions as well as action, and we get to learn more about Allison, Eric's girlfriend from book two. If you haven't read these books and you like action packed zombie books, pick them up.

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Another reliable author in this genre just released their latest: Jim O'Brien's Takedown. I liked it a lot, but warning, the author stung us again with another cliffhanger of sorts. The rescue of Lynn was a taut, razor edge thriller as Jack once again braves some crazy odds, and this represented only the last quarter of the book. Well worth the price of admission.

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Okay, loved Takedown, but like you mentioned, the cliffhanger ending is infuriating. I would read the next book in the series anyway, so to end it that way just seems to be almost an insult to O'Brien's fans! There are already plenty of unresolved things that I want to know more about: what Greg's group encounters, if Robert will have adverse effects from the bite, whether Julie will eventually become a threat, what happens along the way for the submariners and SEALs heading to San Diego, what will happen for the other group of Night Runners, and so on. I genuinely love the action in these books, and the insight you get into what it means to be a leader: necessary planning, self-sacrifice, the occasional need to stay out of the fray, agonizing over how to prepare your kids without needlessly risking them, and all of that.

 

So, while I'm glad that the series continues and think this was a good contribution to the series, I am disappointed to have needless anxiety (whose blood WAS that?) until the next one comes out.

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Well, OC, as to who got shot, I would think it would have to be either Robert, Bri or Lynn, any of which would suck. The shooter had to have been from the group they had that shoot-out with in the previous book, and if any one of those three mentioned was killed, I guess we will get to see Jack take some revenge that would be "Old Testament" in nature. I figure Robert is undergoing the same changes as Jack went through, since the bite didn't kill him like it did with Nic, he might be able to heal from an otherwise fatal wound. All the other subplots are reasons to keep reading. Fortunately, the author keeps a pretty good pace to his writing so we won't have to wait a year to find out. I personally love the addition of the submariners, as they represent another avenue of discovery for the survivors. What is really up with the satellite phones going out, anyway?

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Oooh, I hadn't thought about whether Robert could survive what others couldn't, and whether sudden trauma following a bite might speed up some of his Jack-like transformations. Interesting! I wonder, too, if that might make it possible for him to connect to his mom (and make her more of a real character in the future), if some kind of telepathy is possible even with "recovered" night runners? I have fears that Bri might also be at the end of her story arc, because she's kind of unbalanced, but doesn't really seem to have much to do that is critical to the group... and because the loss of Bri after losing Nic would really do something to Jack, as you mentioned. "Old Testament" is just the beginning of it.

 

Yeah, the submariners is fascinating because they could almost become their own sub-series even if they don't come back to be part of the larger group.

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Dang, OC, killing off Bri just might do in Jack. I like the way even several books later he is still grieving his youngest daughter. I like the way Bri has become the "little sister" for Gonzalez. In fact, early on in the series, I e-mailed Mr. O'Brien after he sent me a nice note thanking me for a review, and I warned him killing off Gonzalez would mean I would stop reading the series. He said she had evolved into his favorite Redshirt.

 

BTW, my money is on Robert, since I went back and checked: Robert was standing next to Jack when he bent down to pick up the magazine he dropped. Whoever the shooter was, I think they are going to be in for a rough time once Jack gets his hands on them.

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You're right, but that's sort of why it would make sense. It's been said that one of the curses of being a writer is that to come up with a good novel, you have to create characters that you love, then torture them relentlessly. That would count, right? I think you're probably right about Robert, though. It also explains all of the tension (foreshadowing?) between Michelle and Jack about putting Robert in harm's way. This definitely could be the thing that causes Jack to completely snap, though. It could be interesting to see who emerges as a leader, in case this is a way for Jack to transition to handing over the reins - something he definitely seems to want to do.

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Well, OC, if the Navy Captain would come back, I could see him eventually take up the reins down the road a few years. Not Bannerman-too much a beancounter. Maybe Drescoll? Heck, throw it open to elections for a governing council with Jack still kept aboard as a figurehead chairman. I think a lot of folks at Cabela's still feel too much personal loyalty for anyone else to effectively run the show without Jack. I agree, OC, some really good leadership points in this last book.

 

BTW, I was going back through my Kindle and I have 10-12 zombie books I haven't even looked at much less read. Just picked them up and completely forgot about them. Since I have to attend a conference in Vegas next week, expect a lot of recommendations afterwards. I know-lame. But since I don't drink, gamble or chase loose women, not a lot of glamour for me in Sin City. Since my lovely bride will not be accompanying me, I have no reason (or interest) to take in any of the shows, either. Which means, early to bed and lots of time for reading in the evenings.

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I do like holing up in a hotel and reading myself. If your wife were going (instead of you), I'd recommend a complete self-spa while there - I adore doing that in hotels because it's like you have unlimited hot water AND unlimited towels, so facial masks, hair treatments, pedicures, manicures, etc., are much easier in that situation. But somehow I doubt you'd be very engaged by the process of painting your own toenails. LOL

 

That said, I looked for "unusual things to do in vegas" and came up with some really cool options:

 

http://www.shootingsafaris.com/index.html (check out "Shooting Through History" for some real fun)

 

http://www.sunbuggy.com/ (drive a real dune buggy!)

 

http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ (play pinball at the Pinball Museum)

 

http://www.vegas.com/attractions/museums-galleries-las-vegas/ (some amazing museums and galleries are in Las Vegas)

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Thanks, Oregonchick. I have literally been to Vegas dozens of times in the past twenty years, mostly for work, and I haven't done any of these things! Unfortunately, I only have my nights free (in conference all day) but I will definitely check out the pinball machine museum. When my wife goes, we check out some shows and she definitely enjoys the spa treatments wherever we stay, but she is pretty much a homebody like me most of the time. She prefers to spend her time working in our backyard garden.

 

I have managed to stay at just about all of the high end hotels in Vegas because my company sends me, but otherwise I would stay at the Hampton Inn in Henderson. Free breakfast, you know.

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I completely understand! If you aren't into all of the bars, gambling, shows, and shopping that the big casinos offer, then staying in them is not all that exciting. It just means more crowds, more noise, a longer jog from lobby to room, etc.

 

Just finished a book called Meat Camp. The title refers to a (supposed) favorite campsite of Daniel Boone, where he and a small group would go and do all of their hunting, then smoke and make jerky out of the elk and deer they killed. Set in the present day, it's now a struggling camp for "at-risk" youth - who, along with dogs, goats, and other wildlife, wind up becoming infected with something that turns them into zombies. It's hard to find people to root for in the book:

 

  • The camp director seems so admirable as to be fake, and doesn't really do much in the story except flee from cannibalistic campers.
  • Her father is a crotchety old mountain man who is mildly amusing, but I get the feeling the author thought he was really funny.
  • The town sheriff is a washout from a larger city who still can't seem to pull the trigger when he needs to.
  • The camp counselors are a primly virginal tease and a guy who is pretty sure she'll give it up if he only says "I love you" and promises marriage.
  • Two developers nosing around could be introduced as Slimy Senior and his sycophant.
  • The youths themselves are either completely unrepentant, or you don't get "introduced" to them until they are already zombies ("the thing that was Billy, who was always a bright kid and loved school until..."), so instead of being invested in them or feeling the tragedy of their undeath, it's mostly annoying because it slows down the action.

 

There's a lot of gore, not a lot of effective fighting back, and a lot of death. The infection doesn't seem to stick to normal rules (some bites cause you to turn, but it appears that some don't; it infects animals; a blow to the head doesn't actually kill them), which is also confusing and of course makes it that much more difficult for the characters to survive. I didn't dislike the book, but it's definitely a second-tier read, maybe something you choose for atmosphere while you're out camping or if you really like horror stories set at summer camps.

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Wow. Thanks for teh heads up on MEat Camp. I looked at it but did not purchase. Now, I am glad I avoided it. I read Tales of the Forgotten (A Whiskey Tango Foxtrot novel) by WJ Lundy over the weekend. Like the little novella, this book will grab you with its realism and attention to detail. The survivors from the outbreak are still holed up at a railroad warehouse complex in an Afghan town on the Uzbekistan border I won't even try to spell. Brad, the sergeant from the first story, and the two SEALs he meets at the end of the first story go out from their enclave to look for answers. I really liked the action and the story is fast paced, plus we get to see at little of the conflict from the other side as one of the Taliban fighters with them opens up about his own history. I won't give any spoilers but I really liked the tale but as usual, just too short for me.

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John Ringo's Under a Graveyard Sky is now available for $15 from Baen.com. This is the Advanced Reading Copy for those of you who cannot wait for the official release. I couldn't, and I am about 15% into it. Reads really good so far. I know the last few Ringo books have not been up to his standards, but I think this one is going to be a winner.

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Wow. I really liked Under a Graveyard Sky. Worth the $15 in my humble opinion. Great characters and hardcore zombie slaying action. Most of the action takes place at sea, and I think folks here would agree that the motto "what takes place on the lifeboat stays in the lifeboat" is a fitting one. As is often the case with Ringo, we have an unlikely cast of characters and some real emotion mixed in with the manic zombie slaying. The first 25% of the book was a little slow, setting the stage, but turns out to be crucial later in the book.

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For David Peters fans, End World-Corruption Undone is a welcomed addition to the Corrupted world saga. For those new to the series, this is about a zombie outbreak that rapidly morphs into an alien invasion scenario as infected, or corrupted, humans mutate into a variety of insectiod monsters busy wiping out humanity with the exception of a few isolated strongholds. Great series that spans zombie and survival topics and features good writing and tight plotting. Read the series if you haven't already.

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