Amongst bibliophiles there is nothing more awesome than finding a new author that floats your boat and sharing it with your book-junkie friends. I have two recent additions to my ‘shout it from the highest mountain’ list and dammit, I am excited to share them with you!! Cue the glitter!!
Let me start by reiterating that I was never a fan of short stories before. I’ve admitted that. I am so glad that my mind was opened to this world of shorts because I have found it’s a great way to discover new authors. A short story is an even better way to see if you like the writing style of an author than a blurb from a full length novel. Of course it’s not entirely fool-proof, and not every short-story writer has a full length novel to read but I have had great luck so far and the two most recent authors I have read was a direct result of enjoying their shorts.
His story in The Gathering Horde is “Carver”. It actually made me cry. It told the story of the deepest, saddest part of an apocalyptic situation, losing a loved one and the mental toll it would take on you. Can you keep on going? Would you even want to? I’m mentally giving myself a shake because this story sucked me in and wrung my soul out.
So looking for more stuff from Jeff, I stumbled on a webpage called Tales of the Zombie War, where a writer may be so inclined to post chunks of a story in progress or a short. Jeff had many entries of a story called Dredging Up Memories. I noticed that the comments were all glowing, people were eating it up. So I gave it a go. And all of the sudden, half the day was gone, just like that. When I ran out of entries I kind of freaked out a little; that could NOT be all of them. So I did what any crazy, author-stalking, fan-girl does…I begged. I messaged him and pleaded. GIVE ME MORE!!! He didn’t want to. He wasn’t ready, but you know….I can be persuasive, I may have mentioned something about persistence and staring through windows at all hours, unless he handed it over. He finally did, and the remaining chapters blew my socks off. There are zombies, but the tale of Hank searching through a world that had become basically shadow of its former self was intoxicating. Tom Hanks “Cast Away” with zombies. Seriously…with the same soul-searching and heart-break, there’s even a Wilson-type character. Jeff has a way of delving into your deepest fears and desires and setting them in motion in an action-packed story.
So, next I hopped on Jeff’s blog page and I was seriously impressed. The amount of content on there is amazing. He is truly a prolific writer, and while not every story is on his blog, he confesses to have written over a thousand short stories that cover a wide range of genres. He currently has three ebooks available on Amazon, plus he releases a short each month in a series he calls The Brown Bag, (all links will be available at the bottom of the page). When I asked him what piece he is most proud of, he told me Cory’s Way. This is a story about a kid whose Dad leaves and in starting over with his mom in a new place, finds himself the target of bullies. He is saved from an attack by a homeless man living under an overpass, who becomes his friend. A promise sets Cory and his only two friends on a journey, will they make it? Well….guess what I’m reading now? But I won’t tell, you’ll have to read it yourself.
My twin sister actually got me to read Michael Robertson sooner than I might have since she called me up with an “OH MY GOD you have to read this!!” This was after she read Crash, Michael’s first ebook release. I personally, had only read Pandora, Michael’s piece in The Gathering Horde. It was one that truly stood out because it was so different from the rest. A tale that takes place over the span of just a few minutes yet so much is revealed within its time. A story of karma in action. It’s almost impossible for me to say anything more without giving away the story. So back to my sister…she gushed for twenty minutes about how absolutely realistic and frightening the book was and she is, quite frankly, not easy to please. So I knew I would have to squeeze this one into my ridiculous TBR pile.
Once I started, I really could not put it down and then I jumped right to book two. It’s truly the stuff of nightmare because it’s so completely possible. There is no suspension of disbelief that is so necessary with zombies, this one eases you in and you see just how likely these horrors are to come to fruition should we find the inevitable societal collapse upon us. I saw a handful of reviews that seemed to point out the violence in the book. All I could think was that if these people don’t realize that this type of thing is very possible then they don’t truly understand how ugly humans can get. We are savage, and take away our structure; things are going to get ugly. Its part of the appeal of this book, to me; the ‘no-holds-barred’ way he writes, it brings the nightmarish reality of the situation right to your lap. Afterword I spent way too long, discussing with anyone who would listen, what they thought would happen in the event of a financial collapse. I find that not many people realize the tendency to violence inherent in our nature, until you point out various riots, really any riot that ended in violence, as most do. All that anger and violence and the world as they knew it hadn’t even taken the proverbial crap yet. Think about it, you will see what I mean. A book that makes you think or want to talk about its subject matter days later is rare. Book three is on its way and I cannot wait! But while I am waiting, I noticed that Michael has numerous short stories that span several genres. Be sure to check out all the links at the bottom!
A.J. Brown’s links
amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/A.J.-Brown/e/B006UN58R6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
his blog: https://typeajnegative.wordpress.com/
the Brown Bag stories: https://typeajnegative.wordpress.com/the-brown-bag-stories/
the link to Tales of the Zombie War: http://www.talesofworldwarz.com/
Michael Robertson’s links
his webpage: http://www.michaelrobertson.co.uk/crash.html
and of course the link to the magic that made this all happen: http://www.amazon.com/All-Things-Zombie-Gathering-Horde-book/dp/B00PD6M7ZW\
and these dudes hang out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AllThingsZombie/