Tag Archives: Zombies

Friend or Foe?

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The Road To Hell cover     Sidney Bannister is still struggling to survive at a rural homestead outside of Liberal, Kansas. Her group was lucky enough to be accepted into the Carpenter fold over the winter so long as they agreed to help with spring planting. It is not time to become complacent though. Not only do they must stay vigilant to ward off the infected they now have to watch out for the Iranians who are making the local airport into their base. Who knows if they or friend or foe?

Parker’s novel is the sixth in the Five Roads to Texas series. The Road to Hell: Sidney’s Way continues Sidney’s story shortly after she gives birth to her son. To add to her street smarts Jake Murphy has been training her and the others in self-defense and the use of firearms. Her character is growing and maturing especially with the responsibility of motherhood.

The book was well edited. It is a fast read and full of action.

Even though the reason was explained I still find it hard to believe that the Army would waste the resources in an apocalyptic event such as this to track down a soldier who was AWOL.

5 out of 5 stars.

Boots On The Ground

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Showdown at Chimney Rock cover

Sarah Washburn made it to El Paso and Ft. Bliss with her husband who was infected and her father-in-law only to have to go on the run again. Leaving her husband behind, she and her FIL seek refuge with the Ute tribe in Colorado. During the escape from Beaumont Medical Center, a member of her group takes a package left by Dr. Sanjay. Now, her entire group, as well as the inhabitants near Chimney Rock, are in grave danger from those that seek to recover the package.

Baker’s novel, Showdown At Chimney Rock, Sarah’s Run, is the fifth book in the Five Roads To Texas series. It wasn’t until I started writing this review and went to Amazon to get the complete title that I realized this was Sarah’s story. I felt the book was evenly divided among the characters at first. But, now that I think about it I can see that Sarah had a more defined story.

This is a very sad book in that so many good characters die and not by the hands of the zombies. In fact, the zombie role is almost a comical relief. The last chapter totally made the book and had me cheering.

4 out of 5 stars.

Who Is Saving Whom?

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Convergence

Malcom Barnett has lost everything he held dear to a virus that has decimated mankind. Without his family, he feels that he has nothing to live for. That is until he meets up with Tessa and her children while they’re trying to escape Cincinnati for Texas.

Powers’ novel, Convergence: The Far Side of Hell, is book four in the Five Roads to Texas series. It introduces us to characters not in the original story. It is a gripping tale with good character development. There is almost nonstop action with a few twists along the way. Emotions run high for both the characters and the reader.

At first, I was upset that this book did not follow some of the characters from the first book. But, once I got into the story I was hooked and forgot all about that. Hopefully, their story will continue in future novels.

5 out of 5 stars.

Can We Stand?

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For Which We Stand cover

Ian and his group of security professionals that some call mercenaries are leaving El Paso. They have killed Dr. Sanjay and retrieved intel on safe houses throughout the United States. In the process, a man named Ram that was being used to inject variants of the virus into was rescued, and he and his partner, Jesse have now joined Ian’s group. The writing is on the wall for El Paso and Ft. Bliss. With millions of infected attacking the walls each day and food and other supplies running low for the over four million refugees something has got to give. It’s only a matter of time before tensions explode.

Hanson’s novel in the Five Roads To Texas series, For Which We Stand: Ian’s road follows Ian on his quest to find answers and those responsible. It is a much more zombie-ish tale than I would have liked. But, that is my opinion and in no way reflects on this review. The story is full of hard-hitting action and nail-biting suspense. The pace is quick.

This storyline is my favorite of the five. The mystery of who and why are explored along with the response from those able to rise and fight back. There are moments to cheer and moments for anger. I found this to be an emotional book. The fate of the United States is not so clear. Will Ian’s group be enough to make a difference?

As much as I’d love to give this book 5 stars I cannot. It has too many errors and is not as well edited as the other two books in the series. Therefore,

4 out of 5 stars.

Escape From El Paso

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After The Roads cover

Sidney (Wagner) Bannister senses a great need to leave the shelter of Fort Bliss. Tensions are high among the refugees. Food is being rationed but won’t last much longer without bringing in supplies from far away warehouses. The land around the El Paso base isn’t suitable for growing crops. This isn’t the place where she wants to have her baby.

Parker’s novel, After the Roads: Sidney’s Way is the second book in the Five Roads to Texas series. The first novel was a compilation of stories by five different authors. Parkers book follows one path and that is of Sidney. It is very well written and edited. The story is riveting.

As with any story in this genre you expect to have blood, guts, and gore. This book goes beyond that and adds gross, nasty, and disgusting. It is most definitely for the mature of audiences. Areas of the most vile are brought to life. You have been forewarned.

There wasn’t as much Sidney as I expected. Sure, she’s scattered about here and there. But, the story goes into more depth with the other characters. The biggest complaint that I have is the stereotypical depiction of Carmen, a Puerto Rican woman.

Overall, it is a good book, and I am happy to endorse it.

5 out of 5 stars.

Can You Survive The Infected?

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Five Roads to Texas

After a previously unknown virus breaks out in major population centers throughout the US those uninfected seek refuge. Once the virus shows up in areas thought to be safe zones there seem to be few places left to escape. Texas offers the last hope. Or, does it?

Five authors with Phalanx Press have collaborated to bring you Five Roads To Texas. Each author contributes a group of folks trying to survive the outbreak as they travel to Texas. Each group comes from different parts of the US and are very diverse in their makeup.

Regardless of how it’s billed this is a zombie-type book. Though I do not care for zombie stories this was well written and one of the better edited. The only downside was that they often stayed with one set of characters too long. I often had to refresh my memory as they switched to a different set.

This is a very frank novel. It does not hold back in its language or graphic descriptions. It is not for the faint of heart. The pace is varied and moves along quite well. All the characters are well developed. The story has some lightheartedness as well as plenty of heartache.

I am looking forward to the breakout novels that will follow each of the groups separately.

4 out of 5 stars.

Escaping Indianapolis

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Kill Box

The gang’s all here and then some. Dr. Chang, Larsen, Emma & Jack, and David & Justin are hiding within NevoTech in downtown Indianapolis trying to access Chang’s research and get it to . . . who? Who is the $64k question. Someone wants Chang captured or killed because of his research. He is one of the few in his field that has studied the virus before it was unleashed in over 20 major cities across the US. Unbeknownst to the powers that be Chang has studied this new version of the virus and determined it has been weaponized. Who can he trust to give this information to? And, can he get his group to safety at the same time?

There are zombies everywhere. That is the best way to describe those infected with the weaponized virus. They are a murderous bunch attracted by the least little sound or at night, to light sources. Getting past them and the two quarantine zones are some of the challenges Chang and his group face trying to leave NevoTech.

Konkoly’s second novel in The Zulu Virus Chronicles, KILL BOX: A Post-Apocalyptic Pandemic Thriller, takes off running and never stops. There is a sense of urgency throughout the story to get out of the quarantine zone and hopefully, to safety away from those that caused this outbreak. The odds are not looking so good in that regard.

Even amongst all the chaos and confusion, Konkoly is able to interject some moments of levity. My favorite quote is “Yeah. I’m fine. But I’m taking up cross fit when this is over,” said Jack. “I didn’t realize the apocalypse would be this demanding.” Larsen continues to use his sarcastic wit to take the edge off and to defuse serious situations. And, even David is starting to add humor to his dialog.

This book is very well written. It grabs your attention immediately which makes it hard to put down. I do not like zombie books but will make an exception in this case. I like this book. I don’t like that it is full of zombies. That is a personal preference and in no way reflects upon Konkoly’s ability to spin a tale. I would dare say that this is one of the better books that he has written.

5 out of 5 stars.

Guest Review – Zombie Theorem

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Zombie Theorum cover

Zombie Theorem a Conspiracy Military Survival book: The Culling Book One by James Wallace

The book was well written and edited. The characters are fleshed out and their dialogue is great. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to see where the story goes in book two.

The only negative was the repeated find zombies, kill them and do it all over again and again.

4 out of 5 stars.

Gary Deariso

It Came From Below

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Erebus cover

Dr. Linda Graves, a forty-four-year-old astrobiology researcher with the University of Washington, falls down a previously undiscovered fumarole on Mt. Erebus. Mt. Erebus is an active volcano in Antarctica. Her research partner, Brett Thompson, a Homer, Alaska native and the team’s mountaineer and safety specialist, repels down to her. While at the bottom of the fumarole Dr. Graves collects eukaryote specimens to ship back to the university. At the shipping dock, there is an accident and the container with the eukaryotes is ruptured. And, that is when the horror begins.

It is the end of the season and winter is fast approaching. The researchers are packing up to go back home leaving only a skeleton crew remaining at McMurdo Station, also known as Mac-Town. When the transport never arrives to take those remaining at the Lower Erebus Hut, part of the Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO), to Mac-Town Dr. Nathan Hunter, the Principle Investigator for the expedition and a professor of geochemistry at NMT, has Brett lead them via snow machine down the mountain. Upon arriving they come onto a scene that can only be described as straight out of a horror movie. There are dead bodies everywhere and a person running at them with a crazed look in their eyes.

Once they realize that there is no one there to help them leave they seek refuge anywhere they can. But, each noise they make brings out more crazed people intent on killing them. These people resemble zombies even though they are still alive and are easily killed. The group stumbles upon Dr. Graves who has been in hiding since the epidemic broke out. She fills them in on what has happened and they conclude that they are alone in fighting this. No one is coming to help.

Bird’s novel, Erebus, is a frightening look at being left alone with a killer at the bottom of the world. He has done quite a bit of research to make the characters and the location as realistic as possible. The suspense is palatable. The horror is unimaginable. Bird has done an excellent job of telling this story.

I am not a horror fan and I hate zombie stories. This book is so well written that I forgot all about that and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bravo, Steven Bird, bravo.

5 out of 5 stars.

Interview with Author Brian Parker

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May 14, 2016

CTC – Good afternoon! I’m happy to have had the chance to interview Brian Parker, author of Zombies in the Basement, the Washington Dead City series, Self-Publishing the Hard Way, the Path to Ashes series, and others.

Welcome, Brian. Let’s get started, shall we?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

BP – I’ve always been a writer, from early childhood, but when I graduated from college, I fell into the mental trap that so many adults seem to do. I had a career and didn’t have time for frivolous pursuits–or so I thought. 

In reality, I watched a lot of TV to unwind at the end of the day, just vegging out instead of doing something productive. Then, about five years ago, I read a book by active duty Navy officer J.L. Bourne and I decided if he could find time to do it, so could I. The TV goes off when my kids go to bed and I use that time that I used to watch television for writing.

And I haven’t looked back since.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

BP – That’s a difficult question. My first book GNASH took me 2.5 years to write. But I edited as I went and then would set it aside for a long time. After I finally published that one, Enduring Armageddon took about 8 months to write; now I have a process, I just go balls to the wall writing and then go in to edit once the rough draft is done. So, for the past 9 or so books. It takes about 4 months from concept to finished first draft, including my initial edits. Of course, I sprinkle in short stories and other projects during that time, so it may actually be a little faster, but I’ve always got a few irons in the fire.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

BP – I write at night after my kids go to bed and on the weekends before my family wakes up, so that gives me about 2 hours a night during the week and 3-4 in the morning on weekends.

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

BP – Hmm, that I write in silence seems to be odd to a lot of folks. Most writers I talk to have music playing or the television on in the background, but I usually write in solitude since the family is asleep.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

BP – Remember that mental trap? I’ve got almost 20 years worth of ideas floating around my head! For the military parts of my books, I use my experiences, for everything else, there’s Google. The CIA World Factbook is also a godsend.

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

BP – I finished writing GNASH in 2013, so that made me 36.

CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

BP – I’m lucky in that my job “forces” me to work out, so I get my gym and pavement time out of the way for my job, but I do love to lift weights and hike. Actually, pretty much anything that I can challenge myself physically is exciting to me. I run, go to the park, play outside with the kids. I like adventure races like Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash. I’ve ran 5 full marathons and want to get back to that (my last was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2012).

One of my long-term life goals is to through-hike the Appalachian Trail. I think the sense of accomplishment from that would be amazing.

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

BP – My kids think it’s cool that I’ve been on TV and have spoken at schools for my kids’ book Zombie in the Basement, but they’re still too young to appreciate how much effort it takes to write a book.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

BP – The cost! People, myself included before this all began, seem to think that writers are all making money hand over fist. It’s not the case for the vast majority of us. For self-published authors, there’s the cost of the editing (anywhere from a few hundred bucks to several thousand), cover art (again, a wide range of prices), formatting if you can’t do it yourself, then promoting the book once it comes out…everything costs money and you’re only earning, at most, a couple of dollars per book sold, so it takes a while to move into the black on each book.

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

BP – As of today, I’ve written 10 novels, 1 kids’ book, 1 how-to guide for self-publishing, and two published short stories (I’m waiting on word back for a few others that have been submitted). I’m about 3/4 of the way through the rough draft of my 11th novel, a sci-fi noir detective story that will become a series.

The second part of your question is hard. All of them are my babies and all of them are different, with unique storylines an “personalities.” But, if I HAD to choose, it would be either Enduring Armageddon or REND.

CTC – What is it about your writing that sets you apart from other authors?

BP – I feel what sets me apart from a lot of other authors out there is the amount of realism that I apply to my stories. I hate when there are parts of books or movies that make me roll my eyes, so I use my real-world experiences to bring as much realism as possible into each story.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

BP – Ignore all the experts! Seriously. That whole “show don’t tell” mantra that all the out of work MFA degree holders try to tell you is BS. Write for you, in your style and how you feel comfortable writing; it’ll feel forced otherwise and your readers can tell. 

I’m not saying don’t try to improve your craft every day, far from it, but just don’t get wrapped around the axle of the three-part story or the idea that you have to follow established patterns. Play around with timing. One of my favorite movies of all time is Memento, a film that tells each scene from the ending to the beginning, while the scenes progress chronologically.

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

BP – I typically hear from a core group of about 50 readers who interact with me via facebook. For the most part, everyone is positive about my work and I’ve even got a couple of champions who go out and talk me up, which is super cool (thanks guys!).

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

BP – All but one of my books and short stories are for adults. I like that I can let myself be who I really am in my books with language and situations. I keep my facebook page strictly PG-13 because that’s my brand. I don’t curse when I interact with folks or post, but in real life, I do curse and I think there’s an advantage to being able to express myself however I want in my books.

CTC – What do you think makes a good story?

BP – This is a cop-out, but I think it’s different for every person. To me, a good story holds my attention with peaks and valleys. It can’t be all high adventure 100% of the time, that would just be exhausting, and books that are all details with no action are boring! I like action that builds, then ebbs and builds up again, following that pattern for most of the book.

CTC – As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

BP – I wanted to be a soldier or a lawyer. I became a soldier and married a lawyer, so I guess I hit them both in some ways!

CTC – Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

BP – Where to find me, of course!

I’m on facebook, that’s where I interact with readers the most. My page is http://www.facebook.com/BrianParkerAuthor

Also, the one-stop link to find my books on Amazon. Only my four books published by Permuted Press are available on Nook, Kobo or iTunes; my self-published works are Amazon-exclusive. Here’s where you can find everything: http://www.amazon.com/Brian-Parker/e/B00DFD98YI

CTC – Thank you so much, Brian, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions for my readers. And, congratulations on the new baby!

Brian Parker 2 Evil doesn’t become extinct. It evolves. Our world is a violent place. Murder, terrorism, racism and social inequality, these are some of the forces that attempt to destroy our society while the State is forced to increase its response to these actions. Brian Parker