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Stage 3

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  48 reviews
A Post Apocalyptic Thriller

Blindness was just the beginning. 
It was only when the virus progressed to Stage 2 that the true horror emerged. Ordinary people were being turned into mindless predators, and it didn't take Mason long to figure out their prey of choice. 
He thought he'd had nothing left to lose, but now he is all that stands between a young girl and a gruesome fa
Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Published March 13th 2016 by Severed Press
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Average rating 4.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  99 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Carol Phipps
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stage 3 by Ken Stark is a horror novel about a zombie apocalypse caused by a virus of unknown origin. I am not a zombie fan, but having seen many glowing ads and reviews for this novel, I was curious and just had to check it out. I have no regrets. The writing is stellar, the plot fast - paced and compelling, and the characters engaging.

Mason Tenby awakens on a plane from an alcohol induced slumber to discover a world he could never have imagined. It seems everyone on the plane, including the p
Robert Turvil
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an edge of the seat read from its dramatic opening, through its cityscape of horrors, and on to its compelling ending. Our hero, Mason, is on the rebound and this amplifies his natural disinterest in other people. We meet him as a reluctant hero on an aircraft with blind pilots, but heroics are not his thing and he spends the next week in self-indulgent isolation. Even at this early stage, we know that something is far from right, yet Mason has to emerge before it begins to register. Whe ...more
G. Lawrence
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book.
From start to finish, an action-packed, yet at times deeply moving, tale of survival in a world torn apart by chaos. Mase and Mack make a brilliant team, and I shall be looking for the rest of the books in this series! Great descriptive writing, great characters, more battle scenes than 300, and swift, captivating twists and turns make this an edgy, engaging read.
Jacky Dahlhaus
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great zombie apocalypse story

I was recommended this book by reviewer Leonard Tillerman, and am glad I headed his advice. Ken Stark's story is bloody, suspenseful, and endearing at the same time.
During a zombie apocalypse, big man Mason picks up blind, 10-yo Mackenzie, and suddenly finds himself in the rol of a father. Mr. Stark is very good at wording the thoughts of the big man with the little heart. You feel for him and wonder if the two are going to survive the horrors that are thrown at t
C.M. Turner
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Stage 3" was recommended to me by a friend, and while it isn't my typical genre, I found myself pleasantly enthralled from the very beginning. In the middle of a zombie post apocalypse, imagine my surprise when coming across characters as normal and believable as people you might meet in your own social circle. I immediately related to the hero of the story, Mason, who had become sadly disillusioned by a recent breakup and whose growing disgust for humans was on the rise. Amid the chaos of a ne ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stage 3 Wow!!

I was more than amazed! This book is gripping from beginning to end. I did not know what to expect. Stage 3 kept me on the edge of my seat just the way I like it.
Erin Jensen
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying, this is the first zombie apocalyptic thriller that I've ever read. It wasn't the gruesome book cover that grabbed me after seeing it multiple times on Twitter. It was the tag line—"An apocalyptic horror story with a heart of gold"—that compelled me to read the description, then buy and read Mr. Stark's book, and I'm very glad that I branched out from my usual genres.

Stage 3 drew me in right from the start. Mason, the story's salty and unlikely hero, won me over instantly
Lex Allen
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In "Stage 3" by Ken Stark, a zombie virus has hit the world with a bang and main character, Mason, a misanthrope who survives the initial pandemic by locking himself in his apartment following a horrific airplane incident finds himself surrounded. Emerging from his hideaway, unaware of the disease that has turned ninety percent of the population into zombies, Mason immediately encounters a few of the infected. He quickly adapts, destroys them and begins his search for other survivors. He encount ...more
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mason is on his way home from a vacation he should have spent with his girlfriend. Instead of being a married man he's now single again. He slept through most of the flight and when he wakes up he notices that the other passengers and the flight attendants have gone blind. Even the pilots have lost their eyesight and as soon as the stewards know that Mason can still see he's ushered into the cockpit. Luckily planes nowadays can pretty much fly and land themselves. Mason has no clue that the flas ...more
Kevin Potter
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
First, the narrator was good. Not great, but a solid 4 stars.

Some of his dialogue inflections didn't quite match the descriptions (particularly in the case of Mckenzie), and I would have liked to have heard some tempo changes for mood (faster narration during tense or scary parts). But overall he did well.

Now, there are a few issues with the writing, but Ken still told a great story here.

There are some clunky phrases, some not-so-believable dialogue, some misused/incorrect words, excessive repet
Kevin Hatt
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’d never read a zombie-based book before, and had no idea of what to expect. When Mason (Mace) wakes up on board an aircraft, he’s rather shocked to learn that everyone on board has been temporarily blinded by a storm, and has to activate the automatic landing system.

On returning home, having been jilted by his girlfriend, he decides to hide away from the world for a week, and not go outside. When he does finally venture outside, however, he discovers a world that has seemingly gone mad, with b
Lee Sewter
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book.
I loved the connection between Mason and Mack.
The story from the start to the end kept me hooked.
I loved the concept of the Zombies, they felt believable. The difference between the stages was a great idea and added spice to the fight scenes.
I’m already looking forward to the next book.
A.L. Norton
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book had been catching my eye for some time on twitter. I finally found the time to read it, and it was bad ass! It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time and I could not put it down! Looking forward to reading more of his books! Hell of an author!
Christopher Davis
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story and my first from Ken Stark. I won't give the story away, but will tell you that I will be searching out more from this author.
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I was looking to read a vampire romance book but bought this instead. I downloaded the sample and was hooked! You follow Mace, he wakes up in a world turned upside down by a virus and for whatever reason he is unaffected. In a very bleak hopeless situation, Mace finds hope and reason to live. Ken Stark takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions through this book, I am looking forward to reading Stage 3 Alpha!

If you like zombie books and films or like the walking dead, then you
The Scribblings
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Having just broken up with his girlfriend, Mason is all too willing to shut himself away and ignore the world for a week. But when he does try to resume his life, the world he awakens to is one where every move is fraught with danger. And death isn’t necessarily the end.

The virus responsible for the danger is never fully explained but it doesn’t need to be. It’s origins aren’t really important compared to it’s effects. The main characters sketch them out briefly and in simple terms. The first si
MJ LaBeff
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was my first apocalyptic, zombie horror read and it was an amazing good time. I liked the story’s opening and interesting way Stark introduced the main character, Mason. A lot of people have a fear of flying so it was a brilliant move on the author’s part to use this impending plane crash as the catalyst to the horror about to unleash itself on humanity. This scene also highlights Mason’s courage and cynicism and reveals a bit about his back story. Everything as Mason knows it turns horrifi ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Let me preface by saying that I haven't read zombie/apocalyptic works. Not that I recall and/or for a long time, in any case. I wasn't sure what to expect. -- Bravo to Stark for starting the book with a gripping series of events that propelled one forward at a fast pace and thoroughly introduced you to the main character, Mason. -- It kept the peril coming in a well-paced way with interest piqued but not exhausted. No cheats. Well-described action. And of course: the brilliant surprise "partner" ...more
Morgan Tanner
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Zombie novels, eh? This genre of horror is certainly limited in its scope. We all know how the rules work with the undead, so going into a story like this one you kind of know how it’s going to play out.

And that is absolutely fine. No one reads zombie books or watches zombie movies to be amazed and surprised; we just want gore and terror soaked across the pages or screen.

Stage 3 certainly delivers on the gore front. Throughout this book are numerous zombie deaths, described in viscera-splattered
D. M. Newlun
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ken Stark found a unique way to introduce us to the protagonist and the plot of the book, and I found myself applauding him for it. He teases and taunts us with snippets of the world we’re about to be immersed into and then takes it away by secluding our protagonist. All the while, you know what will be awaiting you.

Stage 3 feels new and different from others like it. Yes, we have a virus that turns folks into monsters, but that’s where the similarities end. The protagonist isn’t the normal clic
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kerry Reis
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-version
For Mason, it already was a depressing time, flying back to San Francisco from a solo vacation immediately following a sudden breakup with his girlfriend, but red flags began to arise when he woke up during the flight to discover stress and pandemonium as everybody else on the flight, including the crew members had suddenly gone blind. Luckily, since Mason could see, he was able to help the crew land the plane, saving the day. Then, a few days later, when Mason finally left his apartment to head ...more
Andrea Merchak
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A roller coaster of unstoppable horror!

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time. Fortunately, I finally did it. Ken Stark is a brilliant author. In this book, it’s like being in a roller coaster from the start to the end.
Stark’s talent to write characters is undeniable. I loved both the main characters. In the beginning of the story, Mace is a man who has nothing left to lose, but the new bizarre world put him in a situation no one could ever imagine or prevent. Then, he pairs with Ma
Ashley Nicole
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Top Notch Zombie Book

As a lover of zombies, I've read a lot of zombie things. Even though some things are done all the time, I'm not sure I'll ever get tired of it.

However, this author brought some new ideas to the table as well as used the best over used zombie cliches.

First off, descriptions were on point. Just enough gore. And the tension scenes definitely had me page turning.

I loved the idea of the zombies being in stages and actually acting like zombies before they reach stage 3 of your no
Mike DeLucia
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing


A friend of mine urged me to check out any of Ken Stark’s books, and while I’ve never read a zombie story before, I decided to stretch out of my regular genre and try something new. What began with gore and violence evolved into a beautiful story between protagonist Hank Mason and a young blind girl, Mackenzie. The violence eventually blurred in the background of this caring and a loving relationship within a savage world. Interesting characters and keen story telling are the two f
Iseult Murphy
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Starts with a bang, ends with a whimper

The opening to this book is very exciting, but it quickly turns into a very predictable zombies in the city tale. The main character, Mason, teems up with a 10 year old girl and within minutes they are cooing, hushing and talking sweetly to each other. I know people can become trauma bonded to each other, but being told a child is sweet doesn’t make me believe the child is sweet. I would have liked to seen Mason and Mac’s relationship develop over the day t
Miranda Nading
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome read!

I got a kick out of Mace's misanthropic attitude right from the start and the book takes off with a bang as he gets through a plane ride from Hell. It's when he meets Mack that I really fell in love with the book and his character. There were some editing issues, but nothing that took away from the story or stopped me from wanting to read every free minute I had. I think this is going into the read again stack. Great job!
Maly Copeland
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book

Purchased on a whim and so glad i did. This was a great book that i finished I one sitting! Couldn't put it down because it just kept dragging me In deeper and deeper into its web. The characters were well thought out, would have liked to known what he did before the apocalypse job wise... but otherwise the book was great. The narrator did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life and making them real. A great book to add to your zombie collection.
Derrick Marrow
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book for a genre I don't read often was a very good read, excellently written. A story of survival and self redemption after giving up based in a world given to a zombie apocalypse. The main character Mason is flawed and human and relatable. Then along comes Mackenzie. There are you usual zombie trappings but the author makes them his own. The beginning of the book is starkly different twist. Then the fun begins.
Ian Campbell
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WARNING: WEAR DIAPER WHILE READING! This book is scary as hell. It is also a very well written novel that although is part of the zombie/horror genera, is still unique to the author’s individual vision. I recommend this book to horror and zombie story lovers, as well as those readers who just like reading good books.
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I don't only write horror, but I mostly do. Why? Because humans are hard-wired to feel fear, so nothing affects us quite as much as a good scare. Besides, whether it's a community facing a zombie invasion or one man alone struggling with his inner demons, there's no better way to illuminate the very best and worst of mankind's nature than against a dark background.
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