Book Review: Plague Nation

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I enjoyed this book on so many levels . . . It was so easy to visualize what’s going on, following the desperate journey of the wild cards to the next potential safe spot, knowing that it’s all building to an epic climax in Plague World . . . I loved the gallows humour, so necessary in the world that Dana Fredsti has created, and indeed, in our world, too. Watching her protagonist, Ashley, learn to cope with the reality of her situation, and the clock ticking down on it, was absolutely riveting. And then the sinister back-story revealing itself — the machinations of the zombie outbreak — it’s maddening not having the answers laid out in front of me, guaranteeing that I will be getting a copy of Plague World at the earliest opportunity.

Fredsti’s love for the zombie genre in film and text is definitely clear in this book, as well as her love for San Francisco. I loved the details of her heroes’ physical journey, and as much as my heart ached for Ashley and the punishment she was going through (it’s really remarkable how many obstacles Dana can come up with, short of an earthquake sinking the whole place into the Bay), she struck the right balance with references to key moments and quotes in many of the films and books I love. I found myself snorting aloud, even when reading in public places. It’s both funny and poignant.

If you are a fan of the zombie genre — if you love reading about shambling, rotting, moaning, undead flesh-craving killers — this book is 100% for you.

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Plague-Nation-Ashley-Parker-ebook/dp/B00CHOIHFC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381633177&sr=8-1&keywords=plague+nation

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Aftereffects: Zombie Therapy by Zane Bradey

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Well, whatever I was expecting to read from my initial impression of the title, I was pleasantly surprised by Aftereffects. It’s a refreshing, deceptively layered, and exquisitely detailed look at a zombie apocalypse, from more than one perspective. It was like 28 Days Later and the Walking Dead meets CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds, with a dash of Alfred Hitchcock for added zest and skin-crawling irony. For someone like me with a morbid and twisted sense of humour, the creativity with which the author treated zombie attacks, the perspective of the zombies themselves, and the motivation and actions of the protagonist, a zombie psychiatrist, were absolutely compelling reading. I wish the story hadn’t ended when it did — I would have liked to have known who was behind the mysterious camera keeping tabs on things throughout. (I won’t add anymore, for fear of being spoiler-ish.)

I highly recommend Aftereffects for anyone who enjoys a bloody good zombie read. You’ll barely be able to put this one down, I guarantee it.

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Trivia Time — About Me!

Published Works:
“Mist and Midnight” in Midnight Thirsts (Melange Books, 2011)
“Telltale Signs” in Spellbound 2011 (Melange Books, 2011)
“A Living Specimen” in Midnight Thirsts II (Melange Books, 2012)
“Brain Games” and “Bio-Zombie”, in A Quick Bite of Flesh (Hazardous Press, 2012)
“Thy Will Be Done” in Dark Eclipse Digest #16 (Dark Moon Books, 2012)

Now Available!
Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, April 2013

Wife, mother, teacher, writer: I am a mother of two children and have been married for over fifteen years. A full-time teacher of dramatic arts, history, and English in Northeastern Ontario, Canada, I enjoy reading a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature, including romances, ghost stories, horror fiction, and fairy tales. I began writing short stories and plays in my childhood to entertain, frighten, and gross out my friends. Today, I relish creating imaginary worlds with vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and witches.  I love listening to an eclectic mix of music, taking my dog on long walks, mowing my lawn, and curling up with a hot cup of tea, a good book, and a tasty doughnut during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. In addition to writing, my creative past times include needlework (quilting, cross-stitching, and embroidery), making and collecting miniature furniture, traveling, and watching movies. I’m a history buff, a Trekkie, and a practicing Wiccan.

And now, a musical interlude…

Sing to the tune of the Gopher Guts Camp Song!

Great green globs of greasy grimy zombie parts,
hanging slimy zombie guts,
dangling maggoty eyeball puss,
Great green globs of greasy grimy zombie parts,
and I forgot my spoon…

***

Sing to the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey”:

On top of the zombie,
rotting brains ooze…
gnashing jaws slaver,
over fresh human juice…
His legs stagger forward,
on feet worn to the bone…
His hands claw the clapboards,
matching unearthly groans…

***

Try this, too!

When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to one,
you want to have a little fun,
you brush your fangs, (brushing sounds)…
You brush your fangs (brushing sounds).
When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to two,
Blood clots stuck from victim number two,
you brush your fangs (repeat chorus)…
When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to three,
you find you’re craving for a type A-B,
you brush your fangs… (repeat chorus)…
When you wake up in the nighttime it’s a quarter to four,
pop out of your coffin so Van Helsing’s no more,
you brush your fangs… (repeat chorus)…
When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to five,
you chase the victims who want to stay alive,
and brush your fangs…

***

Twinkle, Twinkle will never be same…

Ruby, ruby, vampire eyes,
like two embers in my fire;
Glowing in the closet dark,
Watching as my sleep embarks;
Gleaming fangs stretch long and white;
suck my blood at deep midnight…

***

Forget the sheep. Let’s sing about the endless battle between good and evil!

Slayer, Slayer, have you any stakes?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three strong blades.
One made of rowan, and one made of ash;
one made of silver, to hammer with a flash!
Slayer, Slayer, have you any stakes?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three strong blades…

Vampire, Vampire, have you any blood?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three vials full.
One for my master, and one for my bride,
and one for the the slayer to swallow by mistake (evil cackle)…
Vampire, Vampire, slip it in his mug!
Slayer will be one of us, by rise of sun.

Heh, heh. I need to illustrate these, maybe…

A Quick Bite of Flesh — now in PAPERBACK!

Not everyone is a fan of e-readers.

No problem.

Go here: https://www.createspace.com/4010485

An Anthology of Zombie Flash Fiction

Just a nibble for your daily zombie addiction…

Order the paperback Anthology of Flash Fiction Zombie Stories.

It’s extremely worth it. Definitely. I’m getting one.

Love you!

A Quick Bite of Flesh is now available!

Zombie fans, you have to read this collection of fantastic zombie stories, and not just because I have two stories in it (“Brain Games” and “Bio-Zombie”). It’s truly terrific, delightfully diverse and deliciously gory.

Right now, it’s a Kindle read, but in October, you can get a paperback copy to keep on your shelf. I feel a giveaway coming on…

http://www.amazon.com/Quick-Bite-Flesh-Anthology-ebook/dp/B009EIK4UK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348366784&sr=8-1&keywords=a+quick+bite+of+flesh

Enjoy, before the Zombpocolypse descends…

***

Here’s a quick excerpt from “Brain Games” to whet your appetite:

The small, brown-paper package, wrapped in string, is no bigger than my hand. The Florida postmark makes my heart beat faster.
I bolt up the stairs to my room.
Here, at last, is the perfect solution to my problem. Damien will be no match for a little voodoo magic!
“Rose may have you now,” I mutter, using nail clippers to cut the strings, “but that’s about to change.”
I glance lovingly at his picture, framed and hung in place of honour above my pillow.
I open the crackling paper to find a black box and a business card.
“Mama Jetti’s Traditional Haitian Magics” I read aloud. It lists her contact info, and then there’s a bunch of small print, probably a disclaimer or something similarly boring written in complicated legalese.
I set the business card on my bedside table, and return my attention to the box.
“Time for the big reveal.” I take a deep breath, and carefully remove the lid.
Inside, nestled in a bundle of shredded newspaper, is a single black vial. I can’t see the contents, but when I pick it up and shake it, I can hear powder shifting. Spotting a folded piece of paper tucked into the lid, I pull it out and read the instructions.

***
How about another helping? Here’s an excerpt from “Bio-Zombie”:

Leanne approached the corpse on the table with some trepidation.
She couldn’t get used to it. Somewhere after seventy-five she had lost count.
The last one hadn’t been completely neutralized, either. She paused, one gloved hand about to unzip the body bag, and steeled herself. The other hand reached for the large red panic button.
“You won’t get the jump on me, this time,” she warned the thing. Her voice echoed against the firm plastic concave mask covering her face. “Begin recording, Nigel.”
She knew that her assistant was already scribing her every move. Suppressing an internal sigh, mourning the loss of computer technology, she revealed the remains of the zombie to the stark fluorescent light of the autopsy room.
“August 4, 2119. Subject is a male, approximately six foot four. Immediate cause of death appears to be extreme brain trauma.” Leanne probed the exposed tissue delicately, removing a sample and inserting the piece of grey, claggy flesh in a specimen tube. “The bio-suit tag indicates that this was Sergeant Ron Turner. Serial number T96987822. Nigel, where was Sergeant Turner deployed?”
“The Algonquin Ridge.” Nigel’s voice was muffled, like her own must be. Sealed against the bacteria or virus or whatever malevolent infectious thing was turning the men against each other.
“Damn,” she whispered. “That’s the last line of defence.”

Brain Games — excerpt

The small, brown-paper package, wrapped in string, is no bigger than my hand. The Florida postmark makes my heart beat faster.
I bolt up the stairs to my room.
Here, at last, is the perfect solution to my problem. Damien will be no match for a little voodoo magic!
“Rose may have you now,” I mutter, using nail clippers to cut the strings, “but that’s about to change.”
I glance lovingly at his picture, framed and hung in place of honour above my pillow.
I open the crackling paper to find a black box and a business card.
“Mama Jetti’s Traditional Haitian Magics” I read aloud. It lists her contact info, and then there’s a bunch of small print, probably a disclaimer or something similarly boring written in complicated legalese.
I set the business card on my bedside table, and return my attention to the box.
“Time for the big reveal.” I take a deep breath, and carefully remove the lid.
Inside, nestled in a bundle of shredded newspaper, is a single black vial. I can’t see the contents, but when I pick it up and shake it, I can hear powder shifting. Spotting a folded piece of paper tucked into the lid, I pull it out and read the instructions.

* * *

“Damien! I’ve got your drink!”
I watch Rose weave her way through the crowd, holding two brimming red Solo cups above her head. She’s wearing blue short-shorts and a yellow bikini top, all the better to show off the fresh tramp stamp on her lower back. Apparently, she’d had it done just that afternoon, but she hadn’t bothered keeping the ugly plastic wrap on it.
Yeah, I think bitterly. The infection that will set in by tomorrow will be sooo attractive…
I sip my own drink carefully, fingering the vial in my pocket and trying to ignore the churning in my stomach. It’s hard to be patient, watching his arm curve around her slim waist and trace the stylized butterfly tattooed into her skin. Clearly, he’s into ink.
It won’t be for long.
All I have to do is wait for the right moment. The tricky part is making sure that only Damien’s cup has the magic stuff…
Twenty minutes later, I realize that getting to it is going to be difficult. He and Rose are so into each other, it would take a fire hose to pry them apart. I grind my teeth, watching his lips nibbling at her neck. Okay. The hard way, then.
I dump the powder into my beer. According to the instructions, I’m supposed to put the powder in an open wound, but the best I can do is get him to swallow it.

Find out what happens next in A Quick Bite of Flesh — the zombie anthology lurches your way soon from Hazardous Press!