The zombie genre, ahhh! It has quite literally exploded! And while its been going strong among its original fans, the genre has had the biggest pick-me-up from the success of The Walking Dead. The popularity of the show has introduced many new readers to the fan base and of course social media like Facebook and book junkie sites like Goodreads also increased readership. Now, in the past I have seen the trends of zombies and vamps wax and wane. This time though, it feels like they are here to stay. The genre keeps growing and expanding and I don’t see Mr. Zombie as quite ready to jump the veritable shark just yet. With that being said, I have three authors I am going to be babbling about today, one who I have worshipped since the beginning…Shawn Chesser , and two that I’ve just been introduced to, Jack Wallen and Chris Philbrook. The three came on to the scene around the same time and all three have put out several books. I have some catching up to do!
Undoubtedly my favorite and he has just released an 8th installment of the “Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse” series that began with “Trudge”. Let me just remind anyone who doesn’t know, this guy wrote the first book in the series on his iPhone while watching his kid play soccer. Think about that! Blows my mind really. So, the series follows Cade, a former Delta force operator, who spends his time trying to keep his family safe from the zombie threat but also continues to unofficially serve his country. The shadow of what is left of the military and government is fighting not just the Z’s but also madmen that would take advantage of the situation for their own gain. That’s where this series differs from a lot of the others, there is the human survival tale but also we get the big picture and the unfortunate side effect of a world in turmoil and the ugly, greedy side of the human condition.
This latest edition, “Ghosts”, picks up where “Warpath” left off, and I am just not going to spoil it for you… read it, or start with “Trudge” and let me know what you think. The evolution of Shawn’s writing is most evident in this one. The emotional tie to the characters has never been stronger and instead of feeling burnt out after eight books, I actually sensed a renewal and a new excitement to the series. One of the most unexpected things is a new player in the game and I was extremely excited by her unexpected addition, I cannot wait to see what this adds to the story in the next installment. Also take note of the new covers, awesome to look at, they bring to life our favorite characters in the books.
Next I read Adrian’s Undead Diary by Chris Philbrook, at the prompting of a trusted friend. I actually wasn’t even looking for another book to read and my To Be Read pile is quite intimidating actually. However, I was convinced that I was seriously missing out by not having read this yet, I almost felt…guilty and ashamed for not having read it. Like, how dare I call myself and indie-loving zombie fan and have never delved into the world of Adrian Ring? I could feel the shaking heads and exasperated sighs, and it got to me. So I picked it up, at first only to assuage my own guilt, but after about five pages, I was in literary love. Hooked, completely!! Also…this guy had a pretty awesome story in the anthology that my story is in! yayyy!!
The book is told through Adrian’s diary, and FYI? Adrian is a dude. Ok…so that is why I held off so long, I thought ‘he’ was a ‘she’, and my own personal opinion is that I just seem to enjoy the perspective of the man versus the woman in the zompoc. Go ahead…call me chauvinistic or whatever, but mostly, the way chicks are written into the zompoc tend to irritate me, and I don’t relate to them. We can agree to disagree here if you would like. MOVING ON…Adrian is, mostly,…a regular dude who just wants to stay alive, but isn’t entirely convinced he deserves to be. He tries his best to help others and you just find yourself wanting to hang out with this guy, pat him on the back or something. I laughed out loud more than once and I also found myself wiping away a tear at times, yeah, its that good. Any author that can get me so emotionally invested in his or her story that it evokes outward emotion, get my highest accolades. This one is getting shelved next to Chesser. I am reading the rest of these asap!
Another author that was recommended to by a trusted colleague, (plus he is also in the anthology with me, I know, how many times can I mention it? its my blog so probably all I want!!! all links will magically appear at the bottom of this post!) and again I wonder how I missed out on this guy the last couple of years. Jack has quite a few books, a frikkin awesome blog, plus a mind-fucky radio show that you should definitely take the time to listen to. Makes me think of Rod Serling and Orson Wells does zompoc, which really…is AWESOME!
So …the book that I read is called I Zombie I. Starts out with a literal bang, and you are right there in the apocalypse with Jacob, the main character and a very realistic, and interesting guy. He has self-deprecating humor that breaks up the monotony of the dead world he is now living in. Jacob undergoes so um…changes as he goes along trying to be the good guy and as the story progresses I found myself growing more attached to Jacob and more in love with Jacks ability to weave words like a master. This is still zompoc yet it reads like something much more mature and poetic and the contrast is quite addicting. I won’t spoil the book for you, it simply MUST be on your TO BE READ pile…preferably at the top.
LINKS LINKS LINKS!!!
Shawn Chesser! http://www.shawnchesser.com/
Chris Philbrook! http://thechrisphilbrook.com/
The home of Adrian’s Undead Diary http://adriansundeaddiary.com/
Jack Wallen! http://monkeypantz.net/
his radio show! http://zombieradio.org/tag/jack-wallen/
PSST!! I know where these guys hang out!! https://www.facebook.com/groups/AllThingsZombie/