Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Bunnies

The food dish is empty, there are no treats lying around, and just where the hell were you all night?  We are not pleased.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review of The Night Eternal


Title:  The Night Eternal
Author:  Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Publisher:  Harper Collins

Date: 2011

Pages: 371


It’s been two years since the vampiric virus has been released in The Strain, and the entire world now lies on the brink of annihilation.  There is only one night as nuclear winter blankets the land, the sun filtering through the poisoned atmosphere for two hours each day – the perfect environment for the propagation of vampires.  There has been mass extermination of humans, the best and the brightest, the wealthiest and influential, orchestrated by the Master who selects survivors based on compliance.  Those humans who remain are entirely subjugated, interred in camps, and separated by status; those who breed more human, and those who are bled for the sustenance of the Master’s vast army.

Anyone who regularly follows my blog knows that I prefer my vampires as pure manifestations of evil.  When I started writing back in late 2003, there were few contemporary novels on the market in which vampires were portrayed as true monsters.  This dearth of the depraved undead was one of the reasons I chose to write my trilogy in the first place.  So in 2009, when I saw Guillermo del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain in my local bookstore, I was psyched.  Del Toro’s Blade II is one of my favorite vampire movies because of their dark portrayal and the mythos he created.  I felt sure I was going to get my money’s worth of bad-ass blood suckers, carnage, and mayhem.  Del Toro and Hogan did not disappoint. 

[NOTE: If you haven’t read the first two books in the trilogy – The Strain and The Fall – then go do so now and stop reading this review as it will give away some plots details.]

The Night Eternal begins two years after the domination of the vampires over mankind.  Nuclear winter limits the sunlight to just a few hours a day, leaving the earth a dark and morbid shell of its former self and giving the undead complete dominance.  Those humans who survived the downfall serve as nothing more than slaves or blood cattle to their new lords.  Having achieved near complete dominance, the Master now seeks to solidify his control, first by gaining possession of the Lumen, the book that holds the secrets of the Ancient vampires, and second by taking as his new host Zack Goodweather, the son of his greatest enemy, who over the past two years of captivity has distanced himself from his father and fallen under the Master’s influence.

Only a handful of humans stand between the Master and complete vampire domination, but their personal failings threaten the resistance.  Eph Goodweather has become the last hope for humanity following the death of Dr. Setrakian, but his love for Zack is such that he is willing to betray mankind and trade the Lumen to get back his son.  Eph’s obsession cost him his relationship with his colleague and lover, Dr. Nora Martinez, who accuses him on putting the resistance in jeopardy in order to save Zack, even though she endangers the group while dragging around her senile mother.  Caught between Eph and Nora is Vassily Fet, who slowly assumes Goodweather’s mantle as head of the resistance and lover to Nora, and Gus, the Mexican gangbanger who will become the resistance’s major ally against the vampires, but who harbors a dark secret that could mean their defeat.

The Night Eternal is an excellent ending to del Toro’s and Hogan’s trilogy.  The drama and tension are what one would expect from writers of this caliber, and the action is fast-paced and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, culminating in an explosive ending.  Just as important as the plot are the characters.  The authors have developed them over the course of the books until you feel their fears, anguish at their betrayal, and want to scream at their stupidity, yet all the while keep them true to themselves. 

The Night Eternal, along with the rest of the trilogy, rank among the best vampire novels on the market today.  I give this book four and a half out of five vampire fangs.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Check Out My Bio on Read 2 Review

Please check out the brief biography done on me at Read 2 Review.  It includes links to all my current novels and short stories.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review of My Zombie Short Story "Dead Water"

Please check out Living Dead Media's review of my short story "Dead Water."  LDM said:  "This short novel really has an unrelenting pace and is one of the fastest reads in the zombie genre.  The tension and horror increases with each word.  'Dead Water' is a fine tale to read and I'd like to read more from this author.  I give this story high marks for being an absorbing, scary, but all too short adventure."  

To read the entire review, please check it out here

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Apologies for Not Posting the Sunday Bunnies

I have a very good reason for not posting the Sunday Bunnies last week.  I was on vacation in Florida visiting very special people and getting some much needed relaxation.  I brought the laptop to do some blogging and research, but for some reason my laptop wouldn't connect to my host's wireless service.  I took that as a sign that I was meant to do nothing, so I spent my weekend playing with the family dog and driving everyone insane going through my vast repertoire of cartoon character voices for the nine year old (she was a huge fan of my Montgomery Burns imitation). 

But I'm back in northern Virginia now, the rabbits are home, and tomorrow the grind begins again.  I'll begin posting again soon. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review of Dead of Night

 Title:  Dead of Night
Author:  Jonathan Maberry

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin

Date: 2011

Pages: 357


A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave.  But all drugs have unforeseen side effects.  Before he can be buried, the killer wakes up.  Hungry.  Infected.  Contagious.  This is the way the world ends.  Not with a bang… but with a bite. 

I’ve been a fan of Jonathon Maberry ever since reading Patient Zero, his breakout zombie novel.  A lot of novels that make it to the bestsellers list often don’t deserve the accolades they receive.  This was not the case with Patient Zero.  Maberry did a masterful job in melding the zombie, suspense, and biomedical thriller genres.  It was one of the most entertaining zombie novels I’ve read. 

Now I can add Dead of Night to that list.

Desdemonda (Dez) Fox and JT Hammond, two officers with the Stebbins County, Pennsylvania police force, respond to a possible break-in at Hartnup’s Transition Estate (i.e. funeral home).  Arriving at the scene, they find the place a bloody shambles and discover the ravaged corpses of Dr. Hartnup and Olga, the Russian cleaning lady.  As they wait for back-up, Olga comes back to life and viciously attacks Dez, forcing Dez to take down the cleaning lady with three shots to the head from her Magnum.  When back-up finally does arrive, the two officers are unable to explain why such excessive force was necessary against a civilian or how they lost the body of Dr. Hartnup (who had also come back to life during Olga’s attack and shuffled off into the countryside).  The chief sends them away to write a report that makes sense while he and the rest of the Stebbins County police force begin searching the woods for the missing doctor.  For Dez and JT, it is a fortunate turn of events because they avoid becoming human fodder for the zombie outbreak.

However, with most of their comrades now amongst the horde of living dead, Dez and JT must single-handedly stop the apocalypse from engulfing their town before federal authorities sterilize the county to contain the spread of the infection. 

Where Dead of Night truly stands out among other zombie apocalypse novels is in the subplot detailing how the outbreak started.  [Spoiler alert]  Billy Trout, a local reporter for Regional Satellite News (and Dez’ former lover), gets wind that Homer Gibbons, a notoriously vicious serial killer who was just executed that morning by lethal injection, had a distant relative in Stebbins County.  Sensing a sensationalist story that might make him an overnight success, Billy contacts Henry Volcker, the prison physician who oversaw the execution.  Volcker relates how he wanted Gibbons to truly suffer for his crimes, so along with the lethal injection he included a formula that would revive Gibbons several hours after his death as a sentient zombie, allowing him to be fully aware of his surroundings as he slowly rotted away inside his coffin.  Gibbons was supposed to be buried immediately after his execution since he supposedly had no next of kin, which meant no one other than Volcker and Gibbons would ever have been the wiser.  However, Gibbob;s Aunt Selma came forward at the last minute to claim Gibbon’s body and give it a proper funeral, which meant the corpse was unexpectedly sent to Hartnup’s Transition Estate.  It was while on the mortician’s table that Gibbons came back to life and became patient zero of the zombie outbreak.  [End spoiler alert]   

Dead of Night reminded me of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead on meth.  The novel takes place in the course of one night, which keeps the action fast-paced.  Once the first zombie rises from the dead, the intensity does not let up until the final page of the novel.  My only criticism with the story is that the final confrontation with the living dead is somewhat anti-climatic as compared to the proceeding three hundred pages, with Maberry instead going for an emotional punch to the gut.  However, it’s a minor criticism and in no way detracts from the overall quality of the story.

As with Patient Zero, Maberry provides us with multi-dimensional characters that draw in the reader and gives them an emotional stake in their fates.  From Dez, whose crumbling life forces her to confront her own personal demons and the bad choices she has made throughout her life as she battles the zombie outbreak, to Billy who puts aside his selfish motivations to try and save his town.  From Gibbons, who revels in his new-found ability to generate carnage, to Dr, Volcker who must deal the realization that his misguided attempt to achieve justice created a villain more heinous than ever and inadvertently ruined more lives than Gibbons ever could have on his own. 

Dead of Night is a fantastic zombie novel and a must-read for anyone who loves the genre.  I give this book four and a half out of five rotting zombie heads.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Bunnies

Please don't let daddy find out it was me who chewed the buttons off of the remote.