Friday, July 21, 2017

The List

The List is the debut novel from Shannon Walters.

The story centers around Sara and her survival during the first days of the zombie outbreak. It doesn't start with Sara though.

The story starts with a little boy having nightmares and his father trying to convince him there are no such things as monsters. Totally plausible until the father gets the phone call that makes him realize that he's been lying to his child.

It's not clear how much time lapses between monsters being real and our introduction to Sara as she works in her garden. Sara's husband, Rob, yells for her and at first she thinks that he has gotten into a fight with their neighbor again.

Problem is there is a fight, but not in the usual manner. Something is horribly wrong with the neighbor and during the interaction, it's become clear he's attacked Rob. A potentially nasty situation is sidelined by a well placed gopher hole. Sara calls for medical help and for now, she remains blissfully unaware of the bigger picture.

The problem is the neighbor was infected. The neighbor infected Rob. Rob ended their family.

After a short period of understandable insanity, Sara gathers herself, some necessities, and begins her journey to find anyone she cared about. Her list. Her reason to continue.

In quick succession, Sara learns just how quickly things have gone downhill.

Finally, a ray of hope arrives in the form of Sara's friend, Heather. Both women are thrilled to see one another and after a fun outing in a deserted mall, they're off to find more hope in the form of Heather's father and a lost love. It winds up being a 50/50 deal- they find Heather's love, but her father wasn't so lucky.

Realizing she needs to continue finding her own hope, Sara leaves Heather with her love in a safe place.

Sara's hope comes in at 50/50 as well, but she comes to realize there is someone else she has to make sure is alive- herself. (it's not as hokey as it sounds!)

Great debut! Can't wait to see if there is a continuation in the story of these characters!


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dead of Winter

A.M. Rycroft opens the anthology with a forward regarding anthologies. Why do some places think anthologies need certain themes to drive them?

My theory is some publishers might want to force writers to consider topics or come up with ideas they maybe didn't consider before OR it lets a writer know their limits, and subsequently the reader's limits, regarding suspension of disbelief. Mine is zombified kumquats. The idea of sentient fruit that can die and come back to life to attack others is so out there.....oops, got off topic....

The idea of this anthology centered around the notion of dark fiction. Not necessarily the stuff that churns your stomach or causes sanity to be questioned, but an exploration on the items that go bump in the night. Or that mistake you made that will haunt you or experiences that scar us for the remainder of our days.

THE DARKNESS HAS TEETH- Our dark fiction journey begins with Pamela Jeffs, who gives us a tale of time travel. This isn't the happiness you found in Back to the Future, kids. This is living with the horror of what your actions cause. Demons are powerful and painful things!

THE HUNTRESS OF BUR- Justin Chasteen tells of a robbery gone wrong. There are just some people you don't mess with. Too bad Gligk and his companions learn this lesson in the most painful way possible.

FRY MACHETE'S MONSTERS, MUNCHIES AND MAYHEM- Stuart Conover introduces us to Fry Machete, a Nom Network host. Fry has become completely weary with his job and wants out. Too bad what he's become leads him to commit actions that will render that decision impossible.

ONLY IN DEATH- Zoey Xolton's Amara is a woman who knows she's trapped in a gilded cage. She knows she has to escape, not only for her safety and sanity, but her child's. Amara's plan to escape to the light fails, but she manages to find her freedom and safety in the dark.

THESE CLAWS DIG SHALLOW GRAVES- Kevin Holton's protagonist personifies what drives him to his misdeeds as a spectral female form. He must kill to keep her at bay, so he does not blame her, same as he does not blame himself. She is the only light he needs after all.

SLIPPED STITCH- KT Wagner shows a world like our own, only with a little more violence and this leads to questions. What happens when what you valued before slips and another feeling slips in? Do they truly deserve better or do you need to find a new way to deal with your knowledge?

SPOTLIGHT- David J. Gibbs gives another take on Thanksgiving traditions. Sure, you gather with your family in order to celebrate all the traditions that have been handed own over the years, but do you stop to consider any of the old traditions? The ones used to deal with what came with the settlers. Times change, but the old ones don't acknowledge that.

COYOTEMAN- Robert Perret's narrative reminds us it's a bad idea to pick up strung out hitchhikers. And if you have to pick them up, don't take them somewhere where there are drugs. And if you have to do that, beware of murder and the woods. On second thought- let the hunt begin!

THE KILLERS- Meredith Schindehette's story has a ditch. Broken people who can't be saved go in the ditch. Jamie finds someone in the ditch who isn't broken. They didn't stay dead, so how can they be broken?

Annabel Lee- Erin Kahn wraps things up with a ghostly tale of yore. Sadly wrapping, sadly tapping, run along the lane to your door! Sadly, Annabel Lee is no more.

What great fun we had today! This is why anthologies are great things to read. It doesn't matter if you've heard of the writers or there's a central theme. It doesn't even matter if you liked everything written or found every story amazing because all that stuff is subjective.

The key thing is the stories you read and the author's words sparked some sort of reaction and get your imagination running (even if the theme is sentient zombified fruit).

The Trumpening: Twilight of the Golden Menace

The Trumpening: Twilight of the Golden Menace is brought to you by the mind of Tim W. Long. Before you go all crazy happy thinking he made Trump into one of the undead, well, that didn't happen.

Although knowing our luck, Trump in zombie form would.....ew....

The Trumpening is a tongue in cheek look at what over inflated egos would turn the country into if given half a chance. The sad thing is, it's totally believable. Yep, a glimpse into the Trumpocalypse.

Meet Andrew. At first, he's a happy little Trump drone, but then reality happens.

Meet Carlos Danger. That's not his real name, but why ruin the surprise?

Meet Nate and Leona. Proof you can't suppress brilliant minds.

Meet Alec. It's exactly what you think it is and it's awesome.

Meet the team that will find a way to end the Trump shenanigans (trumpnanigans?) and get everything back on track.

Find yourself on a wacky adventure full of twists, turns and pornstaches! It's a great read. It's an amazing read. It will make reading great again, you'll see.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Hunger

The Hunger, a short story written by Guy Riessen, follows Sir James on his trek to "acquire" something for his employer.

When we meet Sir James, it's on a train. We learn he likes killing and equates its ease to eating crumpets with marmalade. (side note: if you don't know what a crumpet is, google it)

The first distraction on Sir James's trek for his acquisition comes in the form of Michael O'Shane. Michael claims to specialize in lead poisoning and shows Sir James he's a wanted man. Michael proves to be a diversion, a rival agency wanting to slow Sir James down, but Sir James quickly settles it and continues with his journey.

Upon his arrival, we learn that Sir James has enlisted the help of a couple locals to help him track and trap a Wendingo (google it, you won't be sorry).

And this is pretty much where it all goes sideways.

Can't go any further without spoilers, so let's just stop here and call it a day.

Overall the story is a bite sized bit of fun that can be used to ignore people during your morning commute. Unless your commute involves driving. Don't e-read and drive, folks.

Toodles!