Tag Archives: Zombies

Torr, Edwin; Blood, Bone and Coffin (Dead Means Dead 0); Obulus Books, 2017

The relative merits of my weapon of choice all became a little academic when my phone began to play the Mexican Hat Dance. I rummaged in my pocket, wishing I was better at technology so that I could change the ringtone or at least mute the damn thing. It’s hardly appropriate for a Specialist Funeral Director to have such a chirpy tune ringing out across a graveyard. I pulled the phone out and stabbed randomly at the buttons, trying to silence the thing. It was then I realized that in doing so, I had inadvertently stood up, revealing myself to the dead head.

“Hello?” Detective Inspector savage’s voice sounded incredibly loud. Somehow, I’d managed to put him on speakerphone. “Are you there, Coffin?”

The dead guy spun round. He looked fast for someone who had died a few weeks ago and just finished the impossible journey from six feet under the soil to the surface. He also looked like every one of the days of those weeks had taken its toll on him. His face was bloated and grey, the skin splitting around his forehead to reveal white bone and a lining of something creamy. He gave a low growl from his black lips which gave me a lovely view of his yellowed, uneven teeth.

“Hi, Savage, can I ring you back? It’s not a good time right now.”

Savage was one of those people who never took the hint. “It won’t take a minute, Coffin. We’ve had a report of an open grave in a place called Hampton Green…”

“I’m dealing with a lich, right now, Savage, I can’t really…” I didn’t finish the sentence. The dead guy launched himself forward and rammed his shoulder into my gut, grabbing me round the waist and forcing me backwards onto the ground. (ch. 1)

Blood, Bone and Coffin is a prequel to Demons. It is a novella about the Specialist Funeral Director whose job it is to lay the undead to rest. Sometimes the police give him work to do. Usually, they do not call him at such an inconvenient time as the one in the quote. Or perhaps Coffin learns how to silence his cell-phone.

What begins with the request to lay a zombie to rest, ends up being a search for the killer of residents at the Twilight Grove Nursing Home in Hampton Green, England.

BB&C is a fun little paranormal whodunit with odd people all over the place. Recommended.


Lackey, Mercedes & Edghill, Rosemary: Dead Reckoning (2012)

Artist: Regina Hoff
Artist: Regina Roff

I have been looking for an updated website for Rosemary Edghill. This link is old (2013). I haven’t found one anywhere else, but she is still alive. She and Mercedes Lackey wrote Dead Reckoning together.

The setting of Dead Reckoning is the Wild West a couple of years after the Civil War. Two of our characters are from either side of the issue while the third is indirectly an American Indian. Jett’s story set me looking for how likely it was that a woman would cross-dress around the time of the Civil War. Well, it happened and not that seldom either. There really wasn’t much choice for any of them. Not for Jett either. If she/he wanted to go off and try to find her brother she would have trouble doing so as a woman. It simply was not accepted. But all of her female habits had to be set aside and Jett had to learn how to walk, talk and adapt the mannerisms of the men of her time to be left alone. She also had to shoot really well, because sometimes seeming like a post-adolescent boy brought many of the same challenges women had. Gunslingers were the shooters who were quick draws and fast shooters.

Honoria had the advantage of an unconventional childhood with an eccentric father. Perhaps eccentric isn’t the correct word. Her father was a genius whose ideas kept interrupting his life and drawing him into new mind-zones. With a daughter just as bright, that may have been a good thing. Honoria was given the freedom to study what she wanted and that enabled her to do what other unusual women of her time also did, invent. I found myself rather liking her insistence upon science over all. Sometimes I wanted to tell her to get over herself, but she was consistent with her character all the way through.

In fact, that can be said of all three characters. Jett remained the male she wanted to be taken for. The last of the three compatriots, White Fox, was consistent with the civilian scout and Algonquin adoptee he was supposed to be. White Fox was on a mission for the 10th Cavalry to find out what had happened to his Captain’s mother at Glory Rest. What he discovered was that the town was completely deserted. There had, in fact, been several incidents of people disappearing or groups of people being slaughtered by unknown parties. The disappearing people fit with the allegations Honoria was investigating.

Their encounters with zombies and cultists are fun and full of action.



Dead Reckoning available at

Ebook available for kindle US, kindle UK & nook

1993: Women in the Civil War
2000: Women Inventors By: Ping Chen W S 301
Way of Life – Algonquian Indians

Meskwaki-Sauk language
Meshkwahkihaki/Sauk history
10th Cavalry Regiment

Bell, Alden: The Reapers are the Angels (2010)

The Reapers are the Angels - Alden Bell

“Doggone it, she says. Why do livin and dyin always have to be just half an inch apart?”

Bloody hell! Some reviews hurt more than others to write.

My father was a couple of years old before the Germans invaded Norway during WWII. He had passed his 7th birthday when they left. Yet there are quite a few things he remembers from that time. Especially one thing stands out with regard to The Reapers are the Angels. During the war a certain wildness was permitted in children. Many of the little ones were used by older kids to get at the German soldiers. Being little made it less likely you would get shot. Then the war ended. All of a sudden children were expected to become normal children. As my father tells that was not a simple task to perform, even for a seven year old boy. His father returned changed from POW camp. His mother had retained a great deal of psychological scarring from the war. And my father was a wild one.

Today we have more information about the mental processes of war-time experiences on children who grow up in them. One child tells of his killing as a child-soldier:

“The youngest was a girl about six. She was shooting at me.” (IRIN Africa)

In reading about young Temple, only 15 years old, her traumatized psyche was easy to see. Her feelings of guilt, being evil, should have been able to make different choices are all classic symptoms of a child with PTSD. PTSD is something I have knowledge of and I had no problem identifying with Temple a great many times.

“She eases herself to the ground and wonders when she will eventually die because she’s awfully tired, so terribly tired, and Moses Todd is right – there are debts she owes to the perfect world and she feels like she has cheated them for too long already.”

Death is nothing I fear. Each and every one of us must end our journeys there. Some of us are less afraid of it than others. For Temple her journey has brought her to the brink of death many times in her fights for survival against the slugs. She bears them no ill will. After all, a world with meatskins is all she has ever known. Accepting the world as it is seems to be her strongest quality. Somehow there is beauty to be found in just about every circumstance Temple encounters, even in her encounter with the mutants.

When Temple is saved by the half humans/half slugs you would think she had stumbled upon a gang of “krokodil-junkies” (drug used in Russia that makes your outside and insides look grosse – Slate) taken to the extreme. One thing addicts have shown us is that if the buzz is considered strong enough by its user it will be taken no matter its side-effects. The effects of injecting zombie juice into a human body are devastating. But addicts will be addicts.

“Oh lord, Royal says, marching around the room in circles. I got a fire in me, Bodie. Right now? Right now I could fuck a hole in the world. I swear to God a’mighty I could fuck and new Grand Canyon all by myself.”

Like I said – a buzz one might want repeated.

Nothing in The Reapers are the Angels points toward a happy ending for Temple. But happy endings are illusions caused by a death put off for a while longer. Sometimes there is happiness to be found in the moment of death and that is all we can hope for for our beautiful little Sarah Mary Williams, AKA Temple.


The Reapers are the Angels on MacMillan

2010: Nominated for Philip K. Dick Award

2010: Nominated for Shirley Jackson Award

2011: Winner of ALA Alex Award

Growing up with war:

Shirer, George R: The Finishers (2011)

The Finishers

Perhaps we might call the zombies in The Finishers “Flippers” since they rose after the world seemed to “flip”.

We meet Tobias and Archer who get paid for making sure the dead remain lying down. They finish what death began. The only way to do that is to shoot the flippers in the head.

“Sometimes”, said Archer, “I really hate this job”.

I see his point.

McManamon, Michael: Glory 1 (2013)


Glory is book one of a five book series. I see that number two is now out on the market.

We enter the world of Glory at the beginning of the Apocalypse. Let me tell you, Jackson was a surprise. He is the first person we meet who seems to be affected by what is striking people.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

By now, the words meant nothing to Jackson. He could only hear sounds coming out of the old man’s mouth. He didn’t know what they meant. The concept of language had left him moments ago.

He didn’t respond.

“Are you all right?” the man asked again. Slower this time.

Jackson continued to look at the old man, but still didn’t say anything.

He looked down at the fingers touching him. He could make out the white hair on the knuckles. Grabbed him. Squeezed him. He didn’t know why this old man was touching him, but he did know that he didn’t like it. He felt anger well up inside of him.

He looked up again at the old man. The old man was smiling his skewed smile, trying to make light of the situation and find out what was wrong. To Jackson, his face caused his anger to turn to rage.

The old man. Smiling. Looking. Staring.

Jackson roared.

Then he took his knife, grasped it tightly and stabbed it into the old man’s throat. The old man’s eyes opened wide with surprise. He tried to grab at the knife as Jackson pulled it away. Blood spurted from the wound and covered the table.

It’s bizarre. People seem to turn in the space of a few minutes. All comprehension of the meaning of words or other people’s actions seems to evaporate. Anger is the prevailing emotion they are left with. Without thought of pain, hunger or consequence they just attack. In that sense they are like zombies. Otherwise they are totally different. Alien infection or some kind of engineered disease were my first thoughts.

The prologue is tense. The whole novel is intense. McMananon writes incredibly well drawing the reader into his world and keeping us there.

What we get after the prologue is easy to imagine. A total collapse of society as we know it occurs. Those who are left “normal” discover they have to stick with each other. But sticking with some of the survivors might not be such a good option. Some of them are almost worse than the diseased in that they have “all of their faculties intact”. Good people remain good and not so good people remain pretty awful.

There is some explicit violence in Glory. Sexual violence is part of that violence. Thankfully, we also encounter samaritans. All of these actions were believable. The shock, anger, helplessness, courage, violence, friendship. All of them were perfectly believable. This is probably what would happen in this world if something like McManamon’s version of Apocalypse happened.

Would I recommend Glory to young adults. NO. Glory is just too dark. On the other hand, kids these days see a lot of violence and sex that I never did back when the dinosaurs lived. Maybe it is good for them to encounter it. I know the feelings portrayed by the sexual abuse victims were pretty much the way real life abuse victims experience them.

We were left with a cliff-hanger or maybe we were already falling off it. Shame on McMananon for sending us to the edge. Glory 1 is an excellent first novel and I very much encourage you to read it.

Kellen, Christopher: The Corpse King (Elegy) (2011)

The Corpse King
Cover art by Zoe Cannon and Christopher Kellen

The Corpse King is our introduction to the trilogy Elegy. We are in a land of sorcery, swords and adventure with arbiters running around trying to keep some kind of order and clean manna (magic) whenever it sends out bad vibes. In The Corpse King we have a dark fantasy in the way of zombies, death-manna and insanity.

Apprentice D’Arden Tal and Master Havox Khaine are two of these manna-cleaners. If you take a look at Kellen’s website you will see that for some reason the world Eisengoth is the one sending off bad manna vibes. How do you fight a world? With a world gone insane you are bound to live in a dark place. In fact, I find that the cover reflects the mood of this world gone mad.

It might be a good thing if you like zombie books. This description illustrates why:

D’Arden caught a glimpse of the old man, wizened head perched atop a naked, colorless, emaciated form that was slowly shambling toward him. The belly was swollen to the bursting point, dragging entrails across the wooden floor. Maggots writhed everywhere, covering the body nearly from neck to foot as they feasted.

As you see, not something for the faint-hearted. Well written though. Nice and gory.

Have fun. I did.


Alexander, Cassie: Shapeshifted (Edie Spence III) (2013)

Cover photo illustration by Aleta Rafton
Cover design by Kerri Resni

The Catholic church is a fascinating church. Within its realm we find people praying to both official and not quite so official saints to get these saints to function as mediators between themselves and God. Santa Muerte (the Skeleton Saint) is one such unofficial saint (a folk saint) – one that people pray to in spite of the priest’s condemnation of her.

For some strange reason the followers of The Godmother are persecuted in both Mexico and parts of the US. Human nature being what it is this has only led to an increase in the Saint Death‘s popularity – in some places eclipsed only by Virgin Mary worshipping. Santa Muerte is The Personification of Death itself and is considered very powerful. People pray to her on issues of health, money, love and so on.

PaleHorse Santa Muerte
Pale Horse Santa Muerte

In Shapeshifted the Lady of the Shadows seems to have disappeared. When Edie seeks help for her mother, the condition for getting help from the Shadows (from the sub-basement of County Hospital) is that she find Santa Muerte for them and inform them of the Skinny Lady‘s location.

Edie has no clue as to who/what the Holy Girl is. So she does what most of us do – goes on the internet. While looking for the Pretty Girl Edie finds a job in a poorer and criminally challenged part of town. The reason she applied for the job is because of a picture on the net of a huge mural of the Black Lady on the wall of the clinic. Unfortunately for Edie her lack of Spanish is a huge minus but due to how she deals with a crisis she gets hired.

Without knowing it, Edie is firmly back in the midst of the supernatural world and is once again going to have to fight for the lives of her friends and herself. Even though Edie felt she was getting a grip on what the supernatural world entailed, she finds her beliefs and values challenged. Not only must she find Santa Muerte, but Edie must also discover how much she believes in freedom of choice.



My review of: Nightshifted and Moonshifted

Caine, Rachel: The Morganville Vampires (2006-2013) / Weather Warden (2003-2010) / The Revivalist (2011- )

Rachel Caine, or Roxanne Longstreet Conrad as she is known to her friends, is a prolific writer. From what I have read of her writing (Morganville series, one Weather Warden and one The Revivalist) her novels seem to target young adults (not the youngest).

Her books are fun to read and full of murder, mayhem and entertainment. We get all sorts of magic and supernatural creatures. Some of these supernaturals are the baddest baddies while some fight on the side of light and justice for all. There is something a bit soap operaish about the books at times, but for the most part they manage to stay out of that trap. The ones that I have read are from: Weather Warden, The Morganville Vampires and The Revivalist.



The Morganville Vampires books are supposed to be appropriate for age 13 and up. My library has fourteen of them while fifteen have been published thus far. According to the Morganville website no. 15 (Daylighters) is supposed to be the last one of the series (for now). I believe I have read through no. 10 (Bite Club).

The Morganville series begins with Glass Houses.While it is an advantage to begin reading with book no. 1 of the series, I would have had no trouble starting at any point as all of the novels have some sort of resolution to their plot. There are threads that leave you somewhat hanging but they are more of the kind that you will find in most series out there. So NOT a serial.

Claire Danvers is our main character through the series. There are others that get to shine along with her, but she is the one we always meet.

What can I say about Claire Danvers? Claire is a brilliant girl. Her IQ gets her into Texas Prarie University at the age of 16. Choosing TPU was a result of having to be closer to her parents. I can understand her parents wanting her to be a close as possible. Being the parent of two boys who have been that age, I probably would have let them go to the offered spot at MIT. Whether my choice would have been different had they been girls is impossible to predict.

So off Claire goes to Morganville. TPU is apparently a typical university town. In it she meets both ends of the spectrum of niceness. Claire gets bullied by the town diva, Monica Morell, and makes friends with the much nicer Eva Rosser. Her friendship with Eva Rosser and the bullying by Morell and her crowd is what brings about Claire’s move into what is known as Glass House.

Glass House belongs to Michael Glass. Michael lives in the house himself and he is hesitant about letting Claire live there. The other tenant, Shane Collins, also worries about having an under-age student living with them. The constellation two boys and two girls might have something to do with that. I found that rather charming and wise of the two guys. I also approved of the choice of letting Claire live with them, especially considering Monica’s influence at TPU. Monica does not have many endearing qualities.

Moving into Glass House brings the reality of Morganville crashing in on Claire. Living in Morganville can be detrimental to one’s health.

WEATHER WARDEN (2003-2010)

Weather warden

The Weather Warden series begins with Ill Wind and ends with Total Eclipse. According to various reviews and Ms. Caine’s own website the Weather warden is meant for an adult audience. I have only read no. 1 (Ill Wind). It is difficult for me to know exactly what differentiates a novel meant for adults or older young adults, so I am going to trust the author on this one. On the link above you can read samples from each of the novels.

Ill Wind introduces Joanne Baldwin a Weather Warden. A Weather Warden is a person who has the power to control one of the elements. In Joanne’s case that is the wind. She is not considered an especially gifted Warden. When we meet her she is on the run from the other Weather Wardens and the Weather Council. The Weather Council wields a lot of influence in society due to its nature. Together with the UN they decide when to and when not to intervene in natural disasters (having to do with wind, fire, water and earth). So, not an organization to have chasing you.

Joanne is, of course, innocent of all charges and that is what Ill Wind is about – proving her innocence and finding the real culprit.

As a mystery, Ill Wind worked for me.


The Revivalist

Once again you get to read sample chapters of the novels. The Revivalist is a different kind of zombie novel. As with Weather Warden, I have only read the first of the series, Working Stiff. Like the other two series in this post, The Revivalist is an urban fantasy series. Our main character is Bryn Davies. She is about to change careers – from being in a military supply unit in war to being a funeral director. An unusual choice but work is work.

At first Fairview Mortuary seems like an average funeral home. But there is one huge problem. Her bosses are experimenting on the corpses. Not all of them, but enough for Bryn to discover that there is a problem. It turns out that they are using a drug to resurrect the dead. Bryn enlists the help of the FBI and joins the take-down. During the charge, poor old Bryn ends up being one of the dead. Having no say in the matter herself (being dead and all that) Bryn ends up being one of the resurrected. At this point her options in “life” pretty much become nil. She has to do what she is told or she will not get the daily injection needed for a healthy look.

Basically, Working Stiff is an urban fantasy mystery with a zombie twist.

White, Angela: Alexa’s Travels: A Prelude (2010)

Alexa's Travels
Cover design/art by Angela White

You need to begin reading the Alexa’s Travels series with Bone Dust & Beginnings. While this short-story/novella calls itself Prelude, it is not. Instead it is a continuation of the story of Alexa, part Descendant of Jesus Christ and part Fire Demon.

I am not certain if being part Fire Demon is something that is part and parcel of being a Descendant. Being one does give the “possessed” fairly cool powers. I doubt their victims would agree.

Alexa’s trusted group of men (pets as she calls them) are still stuck to her. They feel fortunate in having such a person to look after and who looks after them. Together they get to fight strange creatures and bad people.

Prelude is fairly well-written. Editing issues are few. I doubt if I am its intended audience.

Alexander, Cassie: Moonshifted (Edie Spence) (2012)

Moonshifted is as delightful as Nightshifted. Moonshifted remains as dark and gory as Nightshifted and keeps on being just as fun to read.

Edie’s life has changed after all of the happenings in Nightshifted. Her perspective has widened and her prejudices have been challenged.

Due to an accident Edie witnessed during her lunch-break, she becomes involved in a battle between two were-wolf clans. Little does she know where her instincts will lead her.

Her vampire connections keep on popping up, and not in a pleasant manner. In a sense Edie seems rather self-destructive. However, once we get to know her, we find that it isn’t so. Yes, she is attracted to rather “interesting” men. Yes, she tends to run towards danger. But her motives are anything but self-destructive.

Like I said about Nightshifted: Edie is a wonderful character and someone I would have liked to have met.

Good job Cassie Alexander. You have done it once again!

Alexander, Cassie: Nightshifted (Edie Spence) (2012)

Cassie Alexander

Cassie Alexander’s debut into the world of urban fantasy comes in the form of her Edie Spence trilogy. Her real-life job as a registered nurse serves as inspiration for her novels about registered nurse Edie Spence. I am pretty certain these books are targeted at an adult readership

Cover for audiobook

Choosing Edie Spence as her protagonist is probably the best move Ms. Alexander could have done. Edie isn’t afraid of a little/or a lot of blood and gore and finds that her nursing skills come in handy in her new night job.  She had previously worked as a regular nurse working with regular people. To protect her drug-addict brother, Edie made the choice to sign up for hush-hush work at a hush-hush facility at County General. Remember that the next time you go to your own County General. Somewhere below-ground there just might be a secret facility catering to the health needs of the super-natural/para-normal community.

Being on the nursing staff taking care of the rather unusual clientele of zombies, vampires, shape-shifters, weres, etc. can be a bit dangerous to your health. Ms. Spence discovers this when she is present at the death of Mr. November. Because of her nature, Edie ends up looking after a vampire, being chased by a vampire and falling for a zombie. One might just say that her life became a little more challenging after her introduction to the “Other” side of reality.

Nightshifted is a fun and dark novel. Edie is a wonderful character and someone I would have liked to have met. Sometimes authors manage to make their characters seem so real and believable, the way Cassie has managed with Edie. Good job.

Fredsti, Dana: Plague Town (Ashley Parker) (2012)

Plague town


p style=”text-align:center;”>Wonderful coverart by Amazing15.com

Mwahahah. Zoooooombies. Funny in a really gross way. Let me give you an example:

“She fell often, the lack of connective tissue around her left knee making balance a problem. Her feet were bare and the flesh was torn, but she felt no pain, not even when she landed face first in a bush and a broken branch punctured an eyeball. It snapped off with the force of her fall, leaving Maggie with a stick jutting out of her ruined eye socket, vitreous egg-white oozing from the puncture and sliding down her cheek like thickened tears.”

I am NOT a zombie person, but the descriptions in Plague Town were wonderfully zombieish. Absolutely perfect for a novel that seems to want to be tense yet kind of funny. I think authors must love it when they get to hand us gory descriptions. Dana Fredsti seems to fall into that group of authors and I love her for it. I am still not a zombie person, but Dana has made a really good case for this category.

Plague Town does have a serious side – be careful what you release into society. There are some excellent fighting scenes and a couple of hot ones between Ashley and … You’ll guess it in two seconds, but you ought to have those two seconds. Plague Town also manages to be kind of twisty – in a good way. Yeah! I think I will wholeheartedly recommend this zombie novel.

Grant, Mira: Newsflesh trilogy

Writing under the pseudonym Mira Grant, Seanan McGuire published the political thriller/zombie trilogy Newsflesh including the books “Feed”, “Deadline” and “Blackout”. I am anything but a zombie fan, but Grant has written a thriller that goes far beyond zombies. We become embroiled in politics and corruption, discussions on freedom of the press and get a look at dysfunctional societies and families. Excellent author that she is, Grant brings her characters alive and gives them depth and color. And the action. My goodness is there ever action in this trilogy. And death. Prepare yourself for a heavy toll on people who made me care about them. Did I say I liked these books??????? Keep on writing under either name and the world will be a better place.

The concept of the Newsflesh trilogy is based on the unforeseen consequences of biological research. By 2014 cancer and the common cold had been defeated. Unfortunately, the side-effect was that when you died you became a zombie and started feeding. Oops. The world was changed forever.  The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power.

by dust-bite

FEED (2010)

Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection.  When Senator Peter Ryman of Wisconsin decides to take a team of bloggers along on his run for the White House, Georgia and Shaun Mason are quick to submit their application.  They, along with their friend Georgette “Buffy” M. are selected, and they view this as the chance to launch their careers to a whole new level…that is, if they can survive the campaign trail. Feed follows the Masons and their crew into a world filled with the living dead—and the much more dangerous living.

Shaun Mason by Rowan


In Deadline, the members of the After the End Times staff are reeling…none more than Shaun Mason, who can’t figure out what he’s supposed to be doing with his life now that he’s found himself unexpectedly in charge.  The arrival of Dr. Kelly Connolly from the CDC provides a new direction, and a possible new route into the conspiracy that caused so much damage just a year before. However, it turns out that Dr. Connolly’s arrival heralds more death and despair for the crew.

From All Forsaken


The world is getting more and more bizarre by the moment for Shaun and now Georgia. Both of them have had their worlds turned topsy-turvy and struggle to maintain their sanity and belief in humanity. Nothing is as they thought it would be and they are both bruised and battered. But there is hope. Not a great one, but nevertheless. The cost of a free press is clearly portrayed in the courage and sacrifice of the characters of this novel. Sometimes no price is too high to pay to share the truth with the general public.

Meaney, John: Dark Blood (2009)

Dark Blood

The Tristopolis series about Lieutenant Donal is an incredibly warm and tense mystery. In Bone Song, we see Laura (Donal’s boss and lover) ends up deader and Donal with her heart. “Dark Blood” sets out to discover the whereabouts of the magicians responsible and we follow Donal’s journey towards that end.

We get to see descriptions of loyalty, friendship, love, grief, betrayal and a whole lot of magic throughout the novel. John Meaney is a top-class author who manages to portray a world of complexity and three-dimensionality.

Some of the descriptions inside are quite vivid and that makes me recommend this for teen-aged and upwards. Death-sentences in Tristopolis just aren’t carried out as nicely as the ones on this earth.

This is definitely a read-again novel.