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Texas Bill

Zombie Fiction or Something to Chew On

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I hate to be argumentative (okay, not really - I actually LIKE arguing), but I was REALLY disappointed by NiGHTMARE-Z. It's not particularly fresh in terms of its plot - it's a mashup of other zombie tales and TEOTWAWKI stories - and, at least in the Kindle edition, it is in terrible, terrible need of editing.

 

Among the things that drove me crazy:

 

* The author wrote in the present tense ("Andrew grabs his bag") instead of past tense ("Andrew grabbed his bag"), like most professional authors do. This led to some very muddled verb tense agreement.

 

* Misspellings that should have been caught and corrected while still in Word: visbilly vs. visibly, definately vs. definitely, etc.

 

* Repeated use of the insult "deuscher" which I assume was meant to be "doucher," as in another way of calling someone a douche bag, but instead reads like a someone who maybe dislikes Germans.

 

* The prologue is the history of the Iraq war, but mostly just troop numbers and a few flat facts about a couple of battles... NONE of which comes into play during the entire story. It doesn't even set the scene for the individual servicemen you meet, because it's so high-level and irrelevant. Two sentences early on could have brought the reader up to speed: "The long and costly Iraq War had publicly ended and the supposed last American troops had been filmed by news crews as they crossed the border into Kuwait. Of course, that didn't take into account the 50,000 troops left behind to help the Iraqi Army and police establish control of the territory."

 

* Along the "totally unnecessary" lines are in-sentence explanations of every military abbreviation used. The only thing is, a lot of the abbreviations are only used once or twice, so interrupting the flow of a dialogue to say, "That's the thing with NCOs (non-commissioned officers)..." is not only unnecessary, it makes it really hard to stay with the story. A glossary at the end of the book or simply eliminating the abbreviations and using full words would have worked better.

 

* The author either dislikes women or has no clue how to write about them. Not only do the soldiers frequently insult each other by recommending they "use some Vagisil" (spelled in a couple of different ways, of course), the women in the story basically wait around to be yelled at and hit, and their only contributions are really being into those in-charge soldier types or trying to be everyone's counselor and mediate the peace. The author actually has one of the women request high heels and specialty moisturizing cream when he asks what supplies people need.

 

All that said, the author isn't the worst I've read, nor does he have bad ideas. It's just that I wish he spent a little more time on character development and LOT more time on polishing his final draft before it was published. There are companies that will edit your novel for $100-$300, and having someone look at this with a critical eye would have made the story SO much better. I hope that if S.A. Lowry writes another novel, he finds a good editor to work with or at least hires a decent copy editor to catch those errors.

I think maybe he should hire you to catch those errors, I think you would be pretty good at it, plus you're a fast reader. Of course if he does, I want a commision lol.

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I think maybe he should hire you to catch those errors, I think you would be pretty good at it, plus you're a fast reader. Of course if he does, I want a commision lol.

 

I'll let you know if the author contacts me. LOL My previous boss used to refer to me as his "word nerd" and I am definitely a fussy copy editor when left to my own devices, but I will usually let the occasional error slide - it happens. But there were SO MANY in this that I found myself counting mistakes instead of paying attention to the story! :P

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Oregonchick, all I can say is ditto.

 

Check out LZR-1143 books 1 and 2 by Bryan James. Pretty good books with terrible titles. Some really funny stuff in there. The story is about an action hero who gets sent to a max security mental institution for killing his wife and wakes up in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Except he is not sure what is real and what is not as he escapes with his own shrink. High octane action and a deft hand makes these two books keepers. I am anxious to see the third book come out.

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Really liked the LZR-1143 books, Texas Bill, and now I'm eagerly awaiting part three.

 

I liked the idea of an action anti-hero at the center of it, someone who is acutely aware that he's NOT really qualified to do anything but feels compelled to try in spite of it. He made for a funny narrator, too, although some of the ways people around him die (especially military teams) were kind of hard to handle. I also like that the love interest is every bit as capable as he is - they actually make a good pair instead of leaving you wondering why he'd keep her around since she was clearly going to get him killed (something that's not uncommon in this genre). I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where the series goes!

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Oregonchick, glad you liked the LZR-1143 books. There is also a freebie of short stories by the author out there as wel but I have not read it yet. I just finished A Very Good Man and A Very Good Neighbor by P.S. Power. These books are real genre benders since the first book starts as your standard zombie action thriller and rapidly morphs into...something else. I don't want to give anything away, but the author's imagination is awesome, and his protagonist Jake is definitely a singular hero. His woes at being a 24 year old virgin surrounded by hot women who despise him for a variety of reasons grow annoying at times, but by the end of the second book readers start to get the hint that something else is going on with Jake and his perpetual "denial". Get them, read them, and wait for the next book. For the zombie lovers, these zombies are really terrifying, and so are some of the survivors. These books are not perfect, but they grab you tight, and I was up until 2am fighting to finish the last one before sleep took me.

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Hey, guys I just wanted to let all of you know that the next volume of John O'Brien's New World series, Taken, was just recently released. The first three rocked and I expect this one to do as well from the preview I read. This is hard core survival with scary "night runners" that would eat a Romero zombie for breakfast, they and are getting smarter all the time while still always hungry for human flesh. Not a good combo if you are planning to stay human. Grab it up and feast!

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Hey, guys I just wanted to let all of you know that the next volume of John O'Brien's New World series, Taken, was just recently released. The first three rocked and I expect this one to do as well from the preview I read. This is hard core survival with scary "night runners" that would eat a Romero zombie for breakfast, they and are getting smarter all the time while still always hungry for human flesh. Not a good combo if you are planning to stay human. Grab it up and feast!

Thanks for the head's up, can't wait to read it!

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I just finished When There's No More Room in Hell by Luke Duffy and I have recommend this to those who do not have a weak stomach. I was blown away by this book and this author really knows his stuff. Read it and let me know what you guys think.

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I finished reading the latest in John O'Brien's New World series, Taken, and found it as good as the rest. The story starts with a bang and though it seemed to slow a bit after the midway point, I think the author is setting up for the next phase in the story. No spoilers, but the night runners may be more than they appear. Also, the author teases us with more about Jack's history without spilling. Darn it! Now I have to wait for the next book.

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I just finished When There's No More Room in Hell by Luke Duffy and I have recommend this to those who do not have a weak stomach. I was blown away by this book and this author really knows his stuff. Read it and let me know what you guys think.

 

I really liked it. I was horrified in places, but hey, it's a horror novel so that probably is a good thing. And while some of the descriptions of the zombies themselves and the violence that is done is chilling and disgusting, it's compelling. It was clear that the author really thought through what it would be like to have zombies around - the sights, the sounds, and (oh God!) the smells - and the kind of impact that would have on survivors, animals, etc. The characters are well drawn and you see them grow and change through the book, which is what makes it such a great read, but it isn't all about action man and hot chick hooking up in time for a post-apocalypse honeymoon or a bunch of contrived circumstances/poor decisions that lead to action but make you question whether the characters are too stupid to live. Very, very well done.

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Me, too! I just want to know how things went in that last push with Marcus, let alone whether they move to a new location, if Stephanie tries anything again, and so on. Lots of unanswered questions, even though I didn't feel cheated by the ending at all.

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I just finished Dead Air last night. Sounded cool and had good reviews. Sucked. Beyond the lack of even a cursory edit, the author has the annoying habit of repeating himself, word for word, in the same paragraph. This was interesting only because it shows the zombie apocalypse in an exotic locale (Thailand), but the rest was just a mess. I am not a grammar freak, but the constant misuse of "their", and "they're" and "there" was just one glaring example. My advice is skip it unless Kindle offers for free.

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From the recommendation, I read A Very Good Man and A Very Good Neighbor. I really enjoyed them both, and can't wait for the next! Yes, the protagonist is a little whiny at times, but I sincerely believe he has cause to be. I really felt sorry for him at times. This really is an interesting take on a zombie book/series in a genre-bending kind of way. I suspect zombie story purists won't like that, but for me, it just made for a surprisingly fresh and unpredictable storyline.

 

Just read Mountain Man by Keith C. Blackmore. I both liked and disliked it. It has many of the elements you expect from any zombie novel these days - gore, violence, living people who are crazy. But it also has some new and different ideas, starting with the protagonist who has made a fairly secure home for himself at the outskirts of a dead city and basically hasn't encountered another living human being in a couple of years. He compensates by drinking himself into a stupor every chance he gets, and since he managed to raid a liquor warehouse for supplies, he gets a chance quite often. He's very funny, too, and as the action rolls along, you like him more and more. That said, the author develops potentially rich characters and then refuses to actually give you the details to understand them; for example, the main character repeatedly thinks about an incident with a nurse/in a hospital where he was saved by belly fat that kept a knife from killing him - but we never actually hear more about the story than that. Who was the nurse? How did they meet? Did she honestly try to kill him, and why? How did he escape? etc. The second half of the book is much faster than the first half, and you get the sense that there is a lot just waiting for you to discover... and then the book ends, and it's clear there's a sequel intended. The book was good enough that I'll probably read the sequel when it comes out, but I was disappointed nonetheless.

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Glad you liked them. I gotta say, Tenner is one of the creepiest bad guys I've read about in a while. I checked Mr. Blackmore's blog and he is working on a pair of sequels to Mountain Man, so maybe we will get to find out about the crazy nurse. Check out My Last Testament by George Milonas if you don't mind reading another book with a sometimes annoying protagonist. It is about a thoracic surgeon who gets an early warning about the zombie outbreak and tries to protect his family. He was the typical God complex common in the best surgeons but funny thing is he knows and recognizes that part of his personality. Actually, you get a pretty good understanding of what makes the guy tick, and by the end you may shed a tear or two.

 

On the other hand, I could not get more than half way through Sven the Zombie Slayer before just giving up in disgust. Funny at first, this soon just became too annoying to finish with the morbidly obese "World of Warcraft" Milt getting far more attention that necessary. He's the "Comic Book Guy" from The Simpsons. I figured that out already. I guess I am just getting too old to get the jokes of the young folks these days. Sigh...

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Just read Bones: The Complete Apocalypse Saga. Here's a link to the Kindle edition for $0.99:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Bones-Complete-Apocalypse-Saga-ebook/dp/B005HRSUS0

 

The author uses an interesting story device, because the main character is a cadaver dog named Bones who is taken to a crime scene that quickly morphs into the opening salvo of the zombie apocalypse. Only... it's not the "normal" zombies, it's like a combo between those and the zombies in the movie Slither, which didn't really work so well, IMO. And then other things happen, with rats and birds and feral dogs, and viruses and you're all over the country, and Bones just keeps sniffin' through it all. Because the protagonist is a smart, trained dog without particular loyalty to any of the people who wander into his path, it's hard to be very concerned about any of the survivors yourself, and because he's, well, a DOG, you aren't quite as emotionally involved with him as you would be with a human whose thoughts and fears you might share. It's worth a read, especially at that price, but it's definitely not a favorite of mine.

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Thanks for the head's up, Oregonchick. I looked at but did not pick up. I have a similar reaction to The Dead Rise by David Thompson. Not the worst, and had some interesting turns, but overall I have read better. It was also only 99 cents. I would have liked it better if the author had not killed off all the interesting characters in the first fifty pages of the book in favor of his four Elemental characters who began to exhibit superhuman powers. This more an "end of the current world" story (literally) where zombies seem to be the method of destruction. I know that sounds weird but I can't reveal more without too many spoilers. I would give it 2 1/2 stars.

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Just read The Remaining by DJ Molles. Here's a link to the Kindle edition:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Remaining-ebook/dp/B0070B0JW6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334814797&sr=1-1

 

The idea is that there's a trained special forces type who "retired" from active duty but entered into an arrangement with the US government: they buy and build him a house on 3 acres, and whenever it seems like a big SHTF is coming, he agrees to go down into the bunker underneath it... and after a few days, the commander stops contacting him and the information on the internet stops getting updated. So he opens the sealed mission directive and is told to wait for up to 30 days, staying safe so that he can help to re-establish order in his state, assist the citizenry in general, and take out any brigands. He had previously been bunkered during 9/11, swine flu, etc., so he was pretty blase to begin with, but the lack of contact makes him stir crazy. Topside, the epidemic is a bacteria referred to as FURY and it creates two different kinds of highly contagious zombies... but he doesn't really know anything about the conditions on the ground. So he suits up, grabs his equipment, and steps out into chaos.

 

The premise is really interesting, although I have a few problems with it right off the top. The major one is, if it's a government initiative where there's a possibility of having someone out in hostile territory... why isn't it AT LEAST a pair or a small squad of people? The lack of immediate back-up seems to be a glaring oversight, especially because it doesn't seem like a very military thing to do, let alone a very logical thing to do. The duplicate effort thing is covered - a little - because the author states that there's another soldier like our hero in every state in the continental U.S. But 48 guys/gals to take over that much territory? Seems a bit skimpy to me.

 

Putting that aside, it's a pretty good zombie story. World in chaos, nobody dying like they "ought" to, people having to deal with loved ones who become vicious, the shambling hordes, and of course, the psychos and bullies who might thrive in that kind of environment, along with a few decent people who just want to feel safe again. The bacteria allows the zombies to manifest in a somewhat new way, but not so that it makes them any less terrifying; they are just more tragic, I suppose.

 

It's not the best book I've read, but it definitely kept me guessing and I want to see where the storyline goes. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, that's for sure!

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I enjoyed The Remaining but some of the same reservations you mentioned. At least he is a likeable character. I just gave up on The Undead Situation after getting 3/4 of the way through it. The protagonist and his female Marine companion are so disagreeable I started hoping the zombies would get them. I see the author is trying to use their callous disregard for other s as a coping mechanism but jeez, after a while pair just got on my nerves. Also, just some pretty stupid moves in here for a pair of self-professed hard cases.

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Thanks, Delta. This is hilarious. Some of them are sort of self evident (great, double barrel shotgun against 100 zombies. That will end well). And yet, author's still use these as props. I love zombie books written by gunphobic writers who arm their heroes with revolvers and then write about them "checking the clip". Priceless. I guess a machete does trump a katana when it comes to zombie fighting, but I would still prefer a spear or halberd over either. Up close and personal is not a good idea when dealing with the walking dead.

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Here's another plug for a not-your-typical zombie book: What Zombies Fear by Kirk Allmond. This starts as a typical first person zombie shooter but quickly morphs into something more. Not everybody who gets bitten becomes a zombie. Some people are immune, and with their immunity comes amazing abilities. Also, not all zombies are created equal and some are nearly unstoppable. I won't give any more spoilers than that, other than to say that the origin of the zombies is interesting, but no more far-fetched than some I have seen. There are two books so far in this series and they are available in e-book form for $2.99 each.

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