Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cozy Mayhem

Suzanne Robb is back - and she's gathered together three absurd and macabre tales.  Her latest offering, titled "Were-wolves, Apocalypses, and Genetic Mutation, Oh My!" is currently available at amazon.com for a steal of a price!  (Head over there right now and buy it - then come back and keep reading!)

Each tale is progressively more interesting and thought-provoking than the last.  My personal favorite is B.I.T.E.  It's one of those stories where you never can figure out what's going to happen next.  It centers around a group of people trying to stop the apocalypse - but they're not exactly the kind of crew you would originally sign up for the job.  And well, the huge murderous squirrel-nemesis doesn't hurt either!

The other two stories are also equally interesting, but I'm afraid that if I go into their plots, I'm going to give away all of the hidden details.  It all boils down to this : everyone should read "Were-wolves, Apocalypses, and Genetic Mutation, Oh My!" because it is an all-around fun book to read.  Before you know it, you'll be at the end of the book searching for a hidden chapter or something to keep you going because you're feeling withdrawal set in hard and fast.  (Or, like me, you'll spend ten minutes paging back and forth on your Kindle praying that you really haven't hit the end of the book so soon.  I wish I could say that I'm a drama queen and that I'm exaggerating.  I really did keep checking just in case.)

Suzanne's stories are all character-driven.  There are moments when it's possible to forget that the story is actually a horror story.  It reads like a one-sided conversation.  It's engrossing and thought-provoking at the same time.  The first of the trio, The Moonlight Killer, features a (for all intents and purposes) mostly milquetoast main character.  He doesn't really love his girlfriend, but can't seem to be bothered to give up the free sex by breaking up with her.  It's interesting to watch his transformation as the story goes on because in many ways it's believable.  The people we idolize will always be regular people with a few outstanding qualities.  So too, do we see this with our main character.  Despite his heroic qualities, it is still possible to see the real person at the end - at times selfish, and at other times immature.  His flawed humanity ultimately makes him a likeable character.

Beware - if you're not careful you might just get lost in "Were-wolves, Apocalypses, and Genetic Mutation, Oh My!" because the world Suzanne Robb presents is ultimately very much like our own...

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's genre-bending madness!

It's hard to believe that so much horror and gut-wrenching sadness could ever originate from the likes of the cherubic-looking gentleman featured in the picture to the right.  He could be your next door neighbor or the teller at a local bank.  Luckily for zombie aficionados, he's neither.  In fact, he's none other than the celebrated zombie author, Craig DiLouie.

I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I just got around to reading "The Infection", which has been on my To Read list for some time now.  Had I known what kind of tale was in store - I'd have picked it up sooo much sooner.  In fact, I'm so excited about this book, you wouldn't believe how many times I've written and rewritten this review to try and get it right!

DiLouie's greatest strength is in his ability to move the story along at a fast yet organic pace.  There isn't a single spot of unimportant or boring information, and the characters develop on their own without DiLouie playing God and throwing random obstacles at them for the sake of their growth within the story.  Each character seems real from the first time the reader meets them, and they stay that way until the very end.  There's Kid, who spent his whole life being bullied at school only to find he was tailor-made for the apocalypse.  We have Wendy, the she-cop who's too beautiful to be taken seriously, but ultimately finds her way to acceptance.  Anne, the enigmatic group leader who never lets her guard down.  There are others in the ragtag group, each as important as the last.

The actual zombie infection is multi-faceted as well.  It starts with an event called The Screaming, which is the sudden and agonizing death of a large percentage of the populace, and eventually moves on to The Children of Infection.  The Children of Infection are horrific abominations that are  driven out of hiding when the cities begin to burn.  They include my personal favorite, the Hoppers.  They are naked monkey-like organisms that end in grasshopper legs.  DiLouie deftly blends modern zombie and apocalyptic fiction with the 50s style monster genre, creating infection vectors that are, quite literally, larger than life.

As if DiLouie weren't talented enough, he's also able to elicit a visceral reaction from his readers.  I found myself inadvertently yelling at my Kindle while my favorite character was devoured by one of the Children of Infection.  I hadn't seen it coming, and I knew it wasn't a crack shot from the author.  It was, unfortunately, what was to be expected of any zombie novel worth the paper on which it's printed.  Characters must die, whether they're the hero or the scumbag.  Everyone alive during Infection is living on borrowed time, and nobody knows it better than the characters.

I was so impressed by "The Infection" that I almost flipped to the first page to read it again.  While I've already discussed DiLouie's writing style, there is one more very important tidbit I'd like to leave my readers with.  DiLouie handles flashbacks and character back story in a unique way.  He titles his chapters after the pertinent character, and makes sure that anything that happened in the past is written in past tense.  That sounds easy enough, but then when the reader is immersed, the story is written in the present.  This causes the reader to feel as though they've been swept along into the story with the characters.  It also builds a sense of urgency and fear that moves the story along.  Instead of experiencing the story as a casual observer, the reader is forced to take greater interest because the story is taking place in the here and now.

Thankfully, this book will appeal to readers of all levels of zombie experience, from the die-hard survivalist who is counting the days until the apocalypse, to the closet-zombie reader.  Whatever you do, go and purchase this book RIGHT NOW!  Especially because rumor has it (as in, craigdilouie.com has it) that there will be a sequel entitled The Killing Floor out sometime early this year.  I promise you - this book needs to go straight to the top of your reading list...right now!

(You can view the ultra-creepy book trailer on Youtube.com here!)

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.



Here's an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.