Chasing Spirits by Glynn James is a captivating story, a mystery really. A man in an old folk's home (Reg) reflects upon his extraordinary life, start...moreChasing Spirits by Glynn James is a captivating story, a mystery really. A man in an old folk's home (Reg) reflects upon his extraordinary life, starting with being young and homeless in pre-war England. He somehow catches glimpses of a strange, disturbing, supernatural side of life. He experiences spooky events in his life repeatedly, and they shape him, especially the day his newly wed wife disappears without a trace from right behind him. He spends his life trying to find her and make sense of things that he has seen and experienced. [return][return]The writing is clear, easy to read. The author beautifully captures Reg's emotion and pulls the reader completely into the mystery - what happened to his wife? What are these strange glimpses of another reality that our hero experiences? Is he crazy or is there some rational explanation? I loved this story. The ending was satisfying. [return][return]If you were left wanting to read more, try Diary of the Displaced. It is a completely different story, but with the same supernatural, spooky elements. There are some overlapping characters. I hope the author will write more.(less)
The Zombie Fallout Series by Mark Tufo thus far consists of Dr. Hugh Mann (a prequel), Zombie Fallout, A Plague Upon Your Family, and The End.... Although distinct books, I am reviewing them together because that is the way that I read them. Once I finished each book, I was so wrapped up in the story that I immediately purchased the next. Cumulatively, they are an epic apocalyptic tale, which reminded me of Steven King's The Stand and Robert McCammon's Swan Song.
If you read the first book, and are anything like me, you'll feel compelled to read the entire series. I recommend that you read the prequel Dr. Hugh Mann after the third book. It makes perfect sense then, but is a different story and style from the rest of the books. Zombie Fallout (book 1) sets the stage and is a better starting point.
Told in diary format primarily from the point of view of Mike Talbot, a tough and crude ex-Marine and self-proclaimed survivalist, the series follows a small group of family and friends (and the amazingly flatulent bulldog Henry) who are doing their best to survive a zombie apocalypse caused by a tainted swine flu vaccine. Led by Mike, they stay one small step ahead of the zombies who turn out to be a bit more complicated than George Romero envisioned. Mike's perspective is hysterically funny, primarily because he is a bundle of contradictions - a big tough man afraid of germs and bossed around by his wife, a survivalist who makes plans that are so half-baked that he calls them "ideas" instead of plans, and a ruthless killer who is tender, fiercely protective of his family, and takes incredible, spontaneous risks for strangers. Mike is a down to earth, farting (but never in front of his wife), and beer-drinking man. As such, the humor is sometimes a bit crude, but this makes the story ring true. Mike is also unfailingly loyal, which is endearing, as he cares for a motley collection of friends and family. His friends, particularly the enigmatic Tommy, make for an interesting supporting cast.[return][return]In the first book, Zombie Fallout, Mike encounters his first zombie while wearing a towel. The zombie is licking the peephole in Mike's front door, which outrages the germophobic Mike. This sets the precedent for the tone of the book. Mike's first priority is to rescue his son from Walmart, where he was working when the zombie breakout occurred. He also rescues Tommy, the "slow" door greeter who has an infectious grin, incredible girth and strength, and an unfailingly good nature. Tommy joins Mike and family, and the rest of the story is about their retreat to their gated community and their attempt to establish a safe haven. Along the way, Mike encounters a female zombie who he senses is somehow especially evil, and he begins to suspect that they are dealing with more than just a simple zombie outbreak.
Elements of horror, paranormal, supernatural, and dark humor elevate this series beyond your typical zombie fare. These elements, along with Mike's quirky personality & fierce, protective love of his companions, make this series poignant and worth reading. Highly recommended.(less)
John Dies at the End is a laugh out loud funny book about two friends who somehow become supernatural super-fighters. Think Ghostbusters, or Shawn of...moreJohn Dies at the End is a laugh out loud funny book about two friends who somehow become supernatural super-fighters. Think Ghostbusters, or Shawn of the Dead...the humor is adolescent, but the story is original and fun and entertaining.(less)
The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner is based upon a fascinating premise - a substance is created with the accidental side effect that those exposed t...moreThe Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner is based upon a fascinating premise - a substance is created with the accidental side effect that those exposed to it are unable to retain short term memories. Thus, they live in the moment, until they break concentration and then they are "reset" to before their memory was erased. The protagonist of the story is involved in a theft and has a reset state that involves murder. [return][return]The author does a beautiful job of describing what it would be like to live in the moment, and to be constantly "reset." The protagonist continually has to re-establish what's happened and what he is doing and why. It is enthralling and kept me reading.[return][return]The rest of the story however, seemed predictable and the characters never really seemed real to me. I never sympathized with any of the characters enough to care what happened to them, which was a real shame because the plot had a lot of promise. [return][return]Not a bad book, an entertaining read but didn't live up to my expectations.(less)
A seemingly simple plot - a mass grave is uncovered, and the town Sheriff tracks down the killers - but this book is much more than a simple detective...moreA seemingly simple plot - a mass grave is uncovered, and the town Sheriff tracks down the killers - but this book is much more than a simple detective story. [return][return]It is a contemplation upon the definition of good and evil: is a good man who bends the rules that different from a bad man with a strict moral code? Is a good man bent upon revenge for the murder of his daughter justified in doing bad things to bad people? Who is responsible for a battle-scarred veteran's bad choices? In a James Lee Burke novel, there is no clear black and white...it is all gray, and this makes the characters real, believable, and interesting.[return][return]Amidst all these rich and varied characters, Burke spins a tangled web of a plot. It is impossible to know what will happen, where a character's actions will take him, and indeed who will survive and who will die. The question of who killed the women buried in the mass grave becomes secondary in the quest to understand why these multifaceted people behave as they do and whether the town sheriff will survive the events unfolding around him. [return][return]Wonderful, well-written story.(less)
The plot reads like a romance novel: Raven, the voluptuous maiden with silky hair, meets powerful, arrogant Mikhail. They fall in love, but can their...moreThe plot reads like a romance novel: Raven, the voluptuous maiden with silky hair, meets powerful, arrogant Mikhail. They fall in love, but can their love survive their differences? In an interesting departure from a traditional romance, Mikhail is a Carpathian, a race like vampires but good. [return][return]It is a very interesting new twist on the traditional vampire myth, and I found the parts of the story dealing with the Carpathians, their history and how they live fascinating. However, this book at heart is a romance, a steamy bodice-ripping romance. I found myself skimming all the steamy scenes to get to the action. [return][return]I would recommend this book for those who like romance, and are interested in something a bit different than the run of mill vampire stories that are so common these days.(less)
An Eagle Named Freedom is a true story about a man's remarkable relationship with an eagle; but more than that, it is a glorious story about life, the...moreAn Eagle Named Freedom is a true story about a man's remarkable relationship with an eagle; but more than that, it is a glorious story about life, the will to live, and living in a meaningful manner. [return][return]The narrator, Jeff, becomes interested in wildlife and eagles in particular, and begins working at a sanctuary for "wild ones" that have been injured. He is able to form relationships with some special wild animals - a mountain lion, bears, a squirrel, and raptors including Freedom, the eagle. Freedom is brought in to the refuge in a very weak state, and Jeff helps her regain her will to live. She in turn teaches him about fighting for life when he is diagnosed with cancer. [return][return]The story is beautifully written, bittersweet, touching, funny and thought provoking. It is captivating -- I read it in one long evening because I couldn't put the book down. It is a gorgeous story and I hope that it will stay with me, reminding me to be a better caretaker of this beautiful world & its wild ones.(less)
Collapse, Tales of the Zombie Chronicles, is an anthology of short stories highlighting individuals and their response to the collapse of the world as...moreCollapse, Tales of the Zombie Chronicles, is an anthology of short stories highlighting individuals and their response to the collapse of the world as we know it. Contender, the final story in the book, is my favorite (and I think the best) of all of Mark Clodi's Zombie Chronicles stories. It centers around a young boy, Hon, who somehow manages to survive the zombies, and despite great loss, begins to care about the tough Southern men who have taken him in. Gorgeous, evocative story, and I hope that the author will tell us more about Hon's life. [return][return]If you are not familiar with the Zombie Chronicles, the blurb for the series says...[return][return]"The (less)
Sookie Stackhouse is a barmaid with the ability to read minds. She thinks this is a disability until she meets Bill the vampire and learns how to shie...moreSookie Stackhouse is a barmaid with the ability to read minds. She thinks this is a disability until she meets Bill the vampire and learns how to shield herself. In the first 8 books of the series, she become aware of the supernatural world around her. [return][return]This is an entertaining series, with a bit of romance thrown in as Sookie gains confidence, realizes she is special, and attracts the attention of all sorts of "supes" - supernatural beings.[return][return]I enjoyed the Twilight series, but enjoyed this series more; it's a Twilight for adults, and a lot more fun.(less)
This book has several strong, believable characters, who are trying to solve several, believable mysteries. The story builds over time, making twists...moreThis book has several strong, believable characters, who are trying to solve several, believable mysteries. The story builds over time, making twists and turns along the way. All together was an excellent, well-written and engrossing read with fascinating characters and interesting plot. I have now ordered the two subsequent books written by Steig Larsson because I want to find out what else happens with the characters. [return][return]Well worth the time to read.(less)
A good detective story, with the detective in question being Harry Bosch. Harry is a stubborn, smart, old school police detective who solves crimes wi...moreA good detective story, with the detective in question being Harry Bosch. Harry is a stubborn, smart, old school police detective who solves crimes with good solid detective work. [return][return]This story (the 15th in the series) revolves around the kidnapping of Harry's daughter as he is solving the murder of the Chinese owner of a liquor store which Harry sometimes frequents. [return][return]An unpredictable, believable plot with lots of twists and turns made this book a pleasure to read.(less)
Several elements of the Aftertime series by Sophie Littlefield elevate the books far above standard dystopian/post-apocalyptic literature:[return][ret...moreSeveral elements of the Aftertime series by Sophie Littlefield elevate the books far above standard dystopian/post-apocalyptic literature:[return][return]1. Beautiful, gorgeous, lyrical prose[return]2. Interesting, complex, complicated three dimensional characters[return]3. Plausible, unique setting -- bio terrorism has ended the world as we know it and created "Beaters" (mindless zombie-like creatures)[return]4. Interesting plot.[return][return]In the short story survivors, recovering alcoholic Cass is in the Box with Smoke when a wild boy and his grandmother are found, and Cass battles to keep the boy safe. Despite its shortness, it is an interesting, beautifully written story. Highly recommended.(less)
The Enemy by Charlie Higson tells the heart-stopping story of a group of kids holed up in Waitrose (a supermarket) after a virus caused everyone over...moreThe Enemy by Charlie Higson tells the heart-stopping story of a group of kids holed up in Waitrose (a supermarket) after a virus caused everyone over 16 to change into crazed, hungry, single-minded adult creatures ("Mothers" and "Fathers") who only want one thing: to eat kids. There are small gangs of children hiding around London, growing increasingly desperate and short of food. The group in Waitrose are well-organized with a charismatic 14 or 15 year old leader, and when they get word of another settlement of kids living in the safety of Buckingham Palace, they decide to head out on a dangerous journey across London to join the other group.
Battling the Mothers and Fathers is bad enough, but they encounter even more than they bargained for, and the short trip becomes a march of death. The story doesn't pull any punches, with central characters dying, disappearing, or being wounded, which makes the story heart-breaking. But the strength and character of the kids as they rally around each other and fight to survive makes it worth the heart ache. Excellent, thought-provoking story which evokes "Lord of the Flies" along with "The Road". Highly recommended. (less)