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The Red Empire and Other Stories

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Joe McKinney's debut collection, The Red Empire & Other Stories, brings together eight tales of haunted policemen and cosmic horrors...

A chance encounter with a homeless man one hot summer night opens the doors of perception for a Houston beat cop...

Genetically engineered fire ants threaten to devour a small Texas border town, and the only thing in their way is a grief
Paperback, 355 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Redrum Horror Publishing (first published April 29th 2011)
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Nick Cato
McKinney, best known for his Dead World zombie novels, here delivers a collection featuring a novella and seven shorts, most with a police-theme.

In the novella THE RED EMPIRE, a secret military bio-weapon is accidentally unleashed on a small town where a woman and her young daughter (who is recovering from having cornea implants) are trying to get home during a heavy rain storm. Adding to the problem is an escaped cop killer, who seeks refuge in the woman's isolated home. While the story is acti
Ray Wallace
(Originally published at

A violent thunderstorm, a cop killer on the loose, and an army of genetically modified, giant fire ants; put them all together and what do you have? The Red Empire, the titular tale of Joe McKinney’s short story collection, The Red Empire and Other Stories. Here we follow a number of different characters including a recently widowed young mother and her daughter, the latter temporarily blinded after undergoing a cornea transplant. There’s the aforementioned c
Rebecca Besser
Joe McKinney grabs ahold of his readers and pulls them inside his stories. He makes sure he carries you along in his worlds so that the one around you fades away.

The Red Empire and Other Stories is made up of eight stories. I’ll comment briefly on each:

Story One - The Red Empire: The first story of the collection is the longest. It’s based on a military experiment that gets unleashed on the public. At the same time, a convict escapes. A young woman and her daughter (who just had surgery on her e
William M.
Author Joe McKinney, best known for his zombie fiction, takes a detour with “The Red Empire”, showing us that a very small enemy can be just as deadly. This pulse-pounding novella reminded me of Jack Ketchum’s Off Season and Offspring, where the suspense builds slowly, until eventually, the intersecting characters are tossed together into a pressure cooker that is ready to explode.

McKinney is relatively new to writing, having started professionally in 2006, but you would never know that reading
Elizabeth A.
Though Joe McKinney has made quite a name for himself as a novelist, he was a 2009 Bram Stoker Award nominee, his collection The Red Empire and Other Stories was my first experience with his writing. I'm happy it happened this way, as the eight stories in the collection have given me a nice cross-section of what McKinney's capable of considering they run the gamut from horror to sci-fi to police procedural and even a non-fiction entry. A solid collection from top to bottom, three in particular j ...more
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. As usual, I find myself wishing Goodreads had 1/2 stars. I would definitely up this rating to 3 1/2.

I had not read any of McKinney's other works nor did I know anything about them. I'm glad that I didn't because I probably wouldn't have given these short stories a chance.

These stories were all very different however the details and descriptions in each were consistently well done. The main story kept me up late to finish and could only
This book I rated as a four stars because it is just pure fun, but the work also seems to be researched well as it all seems plausible to a point. It tells of two disasters that occur in a huge rainstorm in Texas, one is a about a convict that gets loose when the police car is overturned in the storm, and the other disaster occurs when a government project that was genetically altering red ants also crashes in the same storm and lets loose The Red Empire. The ants and the convict along with a un ...more
David Bernstein
I love Mr. McKinney's zombie books and I was excited to read The Red Empire, a non-zombie tale. And like his other books, The Red Empire is just as great. The writing is superb, the characters fantastic and the story is something different. A throwback to the great horror tales of the 70's and 80's, but with a current feel, if you will. Yes, there are military ants--nasty buggers--that cause quite a havoc, but its still the people that make the difference in this story. This is a great read and ...more
A different side of Joe McKinney...

I purchased this one expecting to get some great zombie short stories from Joe McKinney.

I was honestly surprised after reading the first story, The Red Empire. No zombies to be found and I couldn't put the book down.

Joe definitely showed his writing flexibility with these stories. Each one kept me drawn in and turning the pages, reluctant to put the book down.
Ryan Daley
Sergeant McKinney supplements his excellent title novella with an impressively diverse collection of shorter pieces; ghost stories, crime tales, and even a non-fiction piece. But The Red Empire--which combines a devastating rain storm, an escaped convict, and mutant red ants--is easily the highlight of this anthology.
The first story was thebest. Awesome combination of trapped-by-killer and monster threat. The others were good, his experience as a police officer definitely informs his writing. Most of the time that's good, but occasionally he reads like a written report.
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Joe McKinney has been a patrol officer for the San Antonio Police Department, a homicide detective, a disaster mitigation specialist, a patrol commander, and a successful novelist. His books include the four part Dead World series, Quarantined and Dodging Bullets. His short fiction has been collected in The Red Empire and Other Stories and Dating in Dead World and Other Stories. For more informati ...more
More about Joe McKinney...
Dead City (Dead World, #1) Apocalypse of the Dead (Dead World, #2) Flesh Eaters (Dead World, #3) Mutated  (Dead World, #4) Quarantined

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