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.

Recommended.


Reviews:


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.


Reviews:


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

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.


Reviews: