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Stage 3

(Stage 3 #1)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  311 ratings  ·  74 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 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  311 ratings  ·  74 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
P.S. Winn
Sep 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Although I am not really a zombie fan, Ken Stark writes a great tale. A virus has changed everything and makes for unlikely friends. Mason finds this out when he becomes something of a savior for a young blind girl. Take a futuristic step into a novel that will terrify you, entertain you, and make you think about what could happen in a crazy world of viruses.
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
Zombie Reader
Aug 24, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
In Stage 3, Ken Stark, presents an interesting and entertaining spin on the modern zombie scenario. Not entirely original, as its common these days to place the cause on some diabolical virus or escaped biological warfare strain, but it is well played here. The main character is a curmudgeonly man who mostly sleeps through the beginning of the outbreak. The antagonists are infected people who succumb to the virus in stages. The first is blindness, afterward they slowly decline into the the raven ...more
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!
A.C. Salter
May 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gruesomly wicked

Stage 3 is a gruesomly wicked zombie fest from start to terrifying end. Dramatic, fast paced, rib crunching but with a heart lifting thread of survival. For fans of the genre, this is a must.

Keep writing Ken Stark - well deserved 5 stars
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. ...more
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
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
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
Avid Novel Reader
Not Your Usual Zombies

I’ve read a lot of zombie apocalypse novels, so I consider myself to be difficult to please. When it comes to this genre, I’ve seen it all. However, Stage 3 contained many unique elements that kept me on my toes. The blockbuster opening scene had me holding my breath, and the unique zombie fighting duo at the heart of this tale had me fully invested in this thrilling zombie adventure.

The opening chapter flings the reader into the middle of a life-threatening crisis. This is
Vashti Quiroz-Vega
Jun 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
I’m a huge fan of the horror genre. I especially enjoy character driven zombie stories like this one.

The story begins with the main character, Hank Mason (aka Mace), on his flight home from what should have been a couple’s retreat, but instead, he was on his own. He had one too many scotches to get over being dumped and passed out. He woke up with a terrible headache and a sense that things were not right. The big guy in the seat next to him was sobbing, and many of the passengers were yelling
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
Petrina Binney
Dec 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rip-roaring, flesh-tearing, zombie apocalypse novel, Stage 3 finds misanthropic hero, Mason, on a flight bound for San Francisco. Having boozily slept his way through much of the journey, Mason wakes to find himself the only person on the plane still blessed with the gift of sight. Including the pilot and copilot.

As the rest of the passengers and crew wail, moan and rant their way through the descent, Mason must read the dials out loud for the pilot to be able to monitor a safe landing. But th
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
3 1/2 stars, rounded up of course. This is rollickin' good zombie times!

New-to-me-author Ken Stark lays out an impressive first in a series of zombie novels in Stage 3. From the intro airplane scene where our hero, Hank Mason, is drinking himself into forgetfulness after being unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend, to the shoulder-rolling zombie fight scenes, sneaking through city sewers, battling through the local ER, and a creepy encounter with a young psychopath-in-training, this book pret
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
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KEN STARK is the author of the multi-award winning, post-apocalyptic STAGE 3 Series, and the horror novels GAIA'S GAME and ARCADIA FALLS.

"If I can move a reader, I am honoured. If those words I string together resonate with the reader in some way, I am thrilled. But if one reader out of a thousand experiences an actual nightmare because of what I wrote, then I will know that I've done my job right

Other books in the series

Stage 3 (3 books)
  • Stage 3: Alpha: (Volume 2) - A Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Thriller
  • Stage 3: Bravo (Volume 3) - A Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Thriller

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