Taking a step back from reviews of Beyond The Dark, here is a review of Into the Dark from Monster Librarian, which indicated that this book takes things a step beyond the first in character development. I hope they will be reviewing Beyond The Dark as well, and look forward to see what they think of that one. Check out the review here: http://monsterlibrarian.com/zombies.htm#Into_The_Dark_by_Patrick_DOrazio
The review keep rolling in, and so far, it seems that everyone has agreed that Beyond The Dark is the best book of the trilogy. Dollar Bin Horror has taken their swipe at it, and they seem to enjoy the rapid pace of the action taking place in the final chapter of the saga. That seems to be a consensus: there is no real stopping point to take a breather, and that was how I intended it. I let the audience perhaps catch their breath a bit at times in Into The Dark, but this last piece of the puzzle moves at a clip that keeps things popping the whole time. So check out the review, and my thanks to Rhonny Reaper and the rest of the folks over at Dollar Bin for having read my trilogy and writing reviews of all three books. They’re great people over there with a terrific website, so don’t only take a look at this review, but everything else they have to offer: http://dollarbinhorror.blogspot.com/2011/05/dollar-bin-horror-spotlight-beyond-dark.html
It is always worth checking out an anthology done for charity, even if it perhaps isn’t something up your alley. Fortunately for me, I dig horror and so it wasn’t so difficult for me to pick this up on the kindle not long after it was published a few months back. I’ve been to Rhonny’s website, Dollar Bin Horror, and had heard tell of this anthology over on Facebook as well. So I thought I would see what assortment of stories she had put together for this one.
What we have are fifteen stories written primarily by newer authors, though a few tales have been penned by more established writers.
Here is a brief overview of the stories and the authors:
indiviDUALITY by Dan Dillard tells the tale of a jaded serial killer who is gains insight on life and death from a potential victim
Tuesdays Suck by Jesse Gable dips into the worlds of the narrator, who apparently always has the worst, and most twisted, adventures on Tuesdays
A Mother’s Love by Rhonda E. Kachur tells of a mother’s heartbreak and quest for revenge
The Devils of Logan Square by Scott and Sean Kenemore is about a man has a transplant and receives a new heart with a dark past
ZOMBIE WORLD by Calvin A.L. Miller II shows the world zombies in their natural habitat-locked up in a park that people are charged admittance to so they can check them out safely behind walls…sort of
The Conqueror Worm by JZ Murdock tells of the misadventures of Jimmy and James, two boys who like exploring and dig up something very strange in the side yard
The Station by David Naughton-Shires takes us on train ride to destiny
Radiant by R.D. Penning gives us old-fashion creature feature scares with some deep dwelling lizard who rises up from the depths to find a new food source during a flood
Vigor After Death by Lyle Perez-Tinics provides his slant on zombie patient zero
The 1207 to Stoningham by Erik Polk is about another train ride to destiny, but this one is going in a different direction entirely
How Much Do I Love Thee by Cinsearae S. tells a tale of love, loneliness, and how far someone would go to get one while ridding the world of the other
Christmas Wishes by Chris Saunders is a surprisingly touching tale of zombies at Christmas, and the wishes we all have for happiness
The Ugly Side of Pretty by Petra Ylva Steele is a parable of true beauty, anger, and unfettered jealousy
Stranded in the Storm by Sean Thompson is a good old werewolf tale in its rawest form
Beasts of the Shadows by Holly K. Wood takes the zombie apocalypse one step further along the evolutionary trail
Overall, this is a solid anthology with a diverse group of stories for a variety of horror tastes. As is the case with almost every anthology of this sort, some of the stories didn’t resonate quite as much for me as some of the others, and it was easy to see that a few of the efforts were the first published tales of some of the authors. I’m not sure that is criticism as much as it is pointing out that it will be interesting to see how those authors mature and come forward with even better work as time goes on. There was, without a doubt, a lot of enthusiasm and some really creative ideas mixed in with this bunch, and it was certainly fun to read. If I have to pick out one story that resonated with me the most, it would have to be Christmas Wishes by Chris Saunders. I have read my share of touching zombie stories, but almost without exception, it isn’t the zombies that lend themselves to the emotional tenor of those tales. Chris was able to make me care about a little zombie girl and her brothers, which is pretty tough to pull off.
Definitely an entertaining anthology, and worth checking out if you like your horror in bite-sized pieces.
You can find Rhonny Reaper’s Creature Features here: http://www.amazon.com/Rhonny-Reapers-Creature-Features-Anthology/dp/1936809060/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1306765299&sr=1-1
Okay, so now I guess it’s official. More than just a couple of reviewers have stated that Beyond The Dark is the best of the trilogy (which I happen to agree with), so I guess I wasn’t just imagining things when I first started thinking that shortly after finishing that book up. The latest reviewer to offer up that opinion is Heather Faville over at Doubleshot Reviews. She states that Beyond The Dark grabs you by the ears and does not let go, among other things. Quite a compliment. She also is kind enough to offer up links to the other two reviews she did of the trilogy. So check out the full review here: http://doubleshotreviews.com/2011/05/29/beyond-the-dark-by-patrick-dorazio/.
Another review has been posted for Beyond The Dark, this one over at Living Dead Media. Their reviews for Comes The Dark and Into The Dark were very positive over there, so it was quite flattering to read that this was their favorite book of the three. I feel that way myself, so I’m pretty thrilled that I’m not the only one who thinks so. You can check out the review here: http://www.livingdeadmedia.com/zombie-books-and-fiction/250-beyonddark.html.
I would like to thank Living Dead Media for taking a chance on a newby author and their willingness to not only read my first book, but all three of my books. Having the opportunity to get the word out to the folks who check out their website for zombie related stuff is priceless.
So if you have been waiting to check out Beyond the Dark, read the review and then pick up the book! That is, of course, if you’ve already read the first two books in the trilogy. 😉
Down the Road: The Fall of Austin is not a continuation of the saga that Bowie Ibarra started with the first two novels in this series, but a story that runs parallel to it. More specifically, there are connections to the first book and the main character in that storyline, George, the teacher who is flees Austin as the zombie apocalypse gets rolling in Texas. The author takes things from a different angle, giving us a point of view from characters that were passers-by in the first story, but play a significant role here. This is somewhat of an ensemble piece, with an assortment of characters slowly migrating together toward the end of the story, but for the most part coming to grips with the apocalypse as individuals or in small groups in the rest of the tale. There are two fire teams from the army (who are at each other’s throats) that are assigned to clear out the capital building of viral threats, a police officer with a partner who seems to be a sadist, a teacher that George, the main character in the first book, had a tryst with before he fled Austin, a prison guard and the gang banger prisoner he frees as the world around them begins to fall apart.
This story, much like the other two in this trilogy, stands alone. You don’t need to know what came before to read this tale, though it doesn’t hurt to have read those books, in particular the first one. The spectacle of gore and zombie violence is pretty steady throughout this story, but it doesn’t overpower the story lines of the individual characters and groups that inhabit this world. Each character is well defined with clear motivations and developed personalities. I might not have agreed with everything that happened or how everyone reacted, but it made sense in relationship to the plot and who these people were. For the record, I wasn’t a big fan of the second book of this series, primarily because of the broad brush strokes the author used to paint the military and government in a negative light. I was pleased to see a more evenhanded approach in this book-there were evil men, but also good ones, who donned uniforms in this tale. Overall, the story was entertaining and filled with ripe imagery, though I did feel that every now and then the author would choose to dip into the similes and metaphors a bit more heavily than necessary, but it didn’t detract from what was, in essence, a quality zombie apocalypse tale that had the advantage of being in a local that the author knows and loves, which allowed him to paint a highly detailed picture of a world being swallowed up by destruction.
Down The Road: The Fall of Austin can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Down-Road-Austin-Bowie-Ibarra/dp/1934861235/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1305947355&sr=1-1
A year ago (or there abouts), I agreed to be a part of a project that would bring together around twenty different authors in a collaboration effort to write a zombie book. Each of us would take on the responsibility of writing a chapter of the book, until we got to the half-way point, and then we would mix it up and write another chapter each to finish the book. It would be a chance for each of us to build upon what anyone who had written chapters before us, and try to keep things cohesive while messing things up, killing off beloved characters, and putting those who survive into some really crazy situations.
We are now halfway through the project. In an effort to raise the funding so that once this magnum opus is complete, it can be published, the coordinator of this project, Matt Nord, came up with the idea of creating an anthology of short stories written by the various authors involved in the project. He would also put the first five chapters of the collaboration in this anthology, in an effort to wet the future audience’s taste buds for this project. So what we have is something that Matt has called Collabothology. Despite this odd word, it is a great little project, and here is the description of it:
Collabthology. Is it a real word? Yes. Will you find it in the dictionary? Probably not, unless you get one that I’ve found a scribbled the word “Collabthology” into.
But that’s besides the point. What you hold in your hands is an anthology chock-full of fan-freaking-tastic horror stories (note that while most are zombie stories, not all are) from a ton of names you probably know as well as some new writers you may not know. Either way, you are in for a treat!
This anthology is also my attempt to introduce the public to the world of the Collaboration of the Dead. At the end of this anthology are the first 5 chapters from the Collaboration of the Dead, a novel featuring over 20 of the best and brightest writers in the horror/zombie genre. Each writer adds a bit of themselves to the story and makes it their own.
Collabthology features stories by Patrick D’Orazio, Gerald Rice, Mike Mitchell, Rebecca Besser, John McCuaig, Brandon Cracraft, Jeremy Bush, Ken Goldman, Lorraine Horrell, Marius Dicomites, Jamal K. Luckett, Douglas Hackle, Cassie Shaver, C.H. Potter, T.W. Brown, Tony Schaab, Suzanne Robb, Mihai Boc, Ben Langhinrichs, Michael S. Gardner and Matt Nord, poetry by Carey Burns, Karime Limon and Matt Nord and sample chapters from Collaboration of the Dead from Matt Nord, T.W.Brown, GNBraun, Zombie Zak and Stephanie Kincaid.
So, for those of you who don’t know what Collaboration of the Dead is, this will be your first taste of what we are about! Bon appetit!
And so, I am proud to be a part of this project, both the collaboration itself and this anthology. If you are looking for an opportunity to check out some interesting and varied horror stories, and want to see a bit of the collaborative effort some of my fellow authors have put to paper at the beginning of the book that will hopefully come to fruition in the next year or so, swing by Amazon and pick up your copy of Collabthology. Just click on the image below, and it will get you there.
Shelter from the Dead tells the tale of three survivors after the advent of the zombie apocalypse. The story starts out by introducing us to Alex, a young man whose uncle, the last of the people he knew or cared for left alive, is being executed by a biker named Graves, who just so happens to be the leader of a gang called the Marauders. Most of the world is split up into groups of different survivors, many of which are gangs that take what they can to survive, and kill who they need to so they can continue to remain in power. Graves decides to leave Alex behind, tied up with the zombies moving in, taunting him as he rides off, believing that he’ll be devoured long before he can do anything about the death of his uncle. The other two survivors that are the main characters in this story are Sarah and Joelle, two women who are in Graves’ gang. Their story starts out with them on a mission to gather supplies from someone hiding out in a building that refuses to give up or share. Their mission goes south and they are hounded by both the living and the undead as Joelle breaks her ankle and they are captured by a different gang. In their quest to find their way back to the only safe haven they know, they run into Alex, who keeps his quest for revenge secret, knowing that these two will hopefully lead him back to his prey, Graves. The three of them form a relationship and team up to find Graves and the rest of the Marauders, who are on the move, heading north for the winter.
Overall, this is fast paced, gory post-apocalyptic thriller and a tale of revenge that gets sidetracked as new loyalties are developed and relationships formed between survivors who are not quite sure who to trust and who to rely upon. The story was an easy and fast read for me. The three main characters were interesting, though I couldn’t quite pin down Joelle. Sarah and Alex are both driven, tough, and focused. Alex wants revenge no matter what, even as he forms a romantic attachment to Sarah. Sarah is willing to do whatever it takes to survive, and is, in many ways, ruthless about it, no matter who she has to kill. Joelle, while appearing to be docile throughout a great deal of the story, gives off contradictory signals as to where her loyalties lie. Even with the acceptance that the men who make up the gang she aligns herself with are murderous rapists and butchers, being with them is still home to her, and her daughter is with them, though in some instances, she seems to forget about the little girl’s existence. As the book goes on, things become clearer and I gained a better understanding of what she was all about, though I still felt as if she were a bit confusing and unsure about things, all the way until the end of the tale. It made for an interesting character, though I think she was a bit schizophrenic at times.
I enjoyed this story. While it breaks no new ground on the zombie front, I am far from being someone who needs or expects that. I prefer something character driven, and this focused on the three characters through the entire tale but also focused on action that did not let up. A zombie fan looking for gore and action should be pretty satisfied with this one. At the same time, as I typically do in a review, I like to point out where I felt were the rough spots in the story for me. Rape is a major theme in this book, and plays a part from beginning to end. I accept that rape would play a part in the new and ugly landscape of the world in such an environment, but perhaps not to the extent that the author proposes. He shows how commonplace the brutality of men can be, but I felt that perhaps it was excessive in the story. Then again, I have no doubts that a world like that could and would turn many men into animals. Besides this I had only some minor geographical quibbles that I won’t go into detail on, except to say that being someone who has traveled in the northeastern U.S., I noticed some discrepancies that didn’t really distract from the story itself, but were noticeable. Don’t take these criticisms as any sort of deal breaker here. This is an entertaining, gore-drenched zombie tale that any fan of traditional, slow moving undead should enjoy. The author likes to spread the blood and the viscera around, and like with almost every worthwhile tale of the apocalypse, the real monsters are never the ones that are already dead, but the ones that are still alive.
You can find Shelter From The Dead here: http://www.amazon.com/Shelter-Dead-Keith-Adam-Luethke/dp/145379042X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305520620&sr=1-1
Before I started on Heinous, I assumed it was going to be something like Mr. Moon’s Nightmares, which was a series of short stories and novellas with some intertwined themes to it. Instead, this was a single tale-a tale about Gavin, a somewhat normal teenager that occasionally has dark visions of torture and other disturbing things run through his mind. Still, he seems relatively innocent, and carefree, living his life in a college town hanging out with his best friend and not worrying about much of anything. The story starts out with a hellish dream with visions of people wrapped in barbed wire as they laugh uncontrollably, their agony beyond all reason as they are tortured and odd creations trickle through the visions Gavin is having. We step back into the past after the dream, to the days of Gavin’s youth, before he meets up with, and is subjected to, the creature he later dubs Heinous, though it has had many names since its birth at the dawn of time. Heinous is chaos incarnate, a symbiote with a desire to cause pain and death while it tortures those who it chooses to do its bidding endlessly.
This is a story that pulls no punches and doesn’t apologize for the grim realities it unveils. Gavin resists the creature at first, watching as it uses him to do unspeakable things to those he loves, but then, in time, he embraces the dark cravings of the beast and releases what seems to have been buried inside him from the outset-a lust for the same evil that Heinous spawns. I have said it before in a prior review of Mr. Moon’s work-the man knows how to spin a tale. He is a story teller of the macabre and this story tears and claws at you, much as Heinous tears and claws at Gavin, shattering him both inside his head and throughout his body. I will warn you that Moon doesn’t soften the blow at any point, and kept me wondering what grand new vicious treat was waiting around the corner with every page I turned. It is interesting, because as I read this book, it almost felt as if Heinous was the incarnation of Gavin’s darker self, something he created in his own mind as a justification for his evil actions. At the same time, Heinous seems to have gravitated to the one person with the capacity to embrace his level of wretched depravity. Gavin is that person, and goes along for the ride, able to handle the visions that torture him as he does perpetrates as much evil as Heinous can offer up to the world.
As is the case with most good stories, a lot of what the interpretation of what is truth is left up to the reader to decide for themselves. All I know is the truth that came from this book was filled with a grim darkness that will stick with me for some time to come.
Heinous can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Heinous-Jonathan-Moon/dp/1461096227/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305258398&sr=1-1
Well, the first review of Beyond The Dark is in on Amazon, and it is from none other than Ursula K. Raphael, who as many of you may know, is one of the most well known reviewers and fans of zombie lit out there. So it is quite flattering that she entitled her review “Spectacular End To The Trilogy!” You can read the rest of her review here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3JGJWZA04IAY5/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm and follow the link to check out the book if you haven’t done so already.
Just a brief while after it hit smashwords, my trilogy is now on the kindle! I am pretty thrilled about this one because it is FINALLY on the kindle, without the errors that the faced the original release of Comes The Dark that led to my publisher and I agreeing not to do any more kindle releases until the entire trilogy was ready to go. And now, it is ready to go!
Here is the description:
Patrick D’Orazio’s Dark Zombie Trilogy (Comes The Dark, Into The Dark, and Beyond The Dark), was originally released on the Kindle in an unedited form under the first book’s title, Comes The Dark. It is being re-released with the entire trilogy as it was meant to be read: edited and expanded, with additional chapters not appearing in the original Kindle version, along with the Dark Stories that have appeared in the author’s blog that provide a full fourth book of additional stories about many of the secondary characters appearing in the trilogy, including Megan, George, Jason, Michael, and Ben. The Dark Trilogy, Revised, Expanded, and with Additional Stories is over 250,000 words of an intense saga of the zombie apocalypse.
The end came with a whimper, not a bang. The mysterious virus came out of nowhere and engulfed the world in a matter of days. Everyone who was infected seemed to die…and rise again. Governments collapsed, armies disappeared, and entire civilizations turned to dust as the human race tore itself to pieces. Jeff Blaine had a good life: a beautiful wife, adorable children, and a nice house in the suburbs. He liked his job, loved his family, and spent his lazy suburban Sundays out on the deck, barbecuing with the neighbors. Things were perfect until everything fell apart. And no matter how hard Jeff tried, he could not spare his family from the horrors scratching at the door. Now, with his family gone, his life in ruins, the only thing left is raw anger and pain. As the world continues to sink into darkness, Jeff does as well. So he ventures out into the desolation with no better plan than to destroy as many of the monsters that stole his life away before they destroy him as well. But soon Jeff will discover other survivors unwilling to give up. They will force him to decide whether or not to give in to the venom that gnaws at his soul. Should he continue to fight to survive, or succumb to the things in the darkness?
Just click on the picture below and it will send you on over to Amazon so you can pick up a copy:
Asylum Lake is the debut novel of author R.A. Evans, and tells the tale of Brady, an ex-reporter heading home to Michigan from Chicago after suffering through a personal tragedy. His parent’s old Lake House that he is returning to holds some dark memories for him, especially since both his parents have passed away since he was last there, but nothing prepares him for the strange and eerie occurrences that happen upon his arrival. There is an old abandoned mental institution on the opposite side of the lake that holds even darker memories for many people in the town he lives in, including the many patients who met their tragic end there years before.
Asylum Lake not only tells Brady’s tale, but another that takes place nearly forty years earlier along with yet another that dips even further into the past, all of them intertwined and revealed in bits and pieces as they tell of the hauntings and murders that have been a part of the town surrounding the lake’s fabric for years. This is not only a ghost story, but also a story that contains gruesome and dark elements of possession and revenge. The characters are easy to get comfortable with, and the plot is amply twisty, revealing things piecemeal so you can’t get too far ahead of yourself by presuming you know what is happening, especially as it goes backwards in time and then jumps back to the present repeatedly. It was a fun read, though my main complaint with it probably is that it felt like it should have been longer, and the ‘reveals’ could have been stretched out even more pages than they were. Don’t get me wrong. The author set the stage, created a wonderfully creepy setting, and gave it and those who inhabited it a righteously tragic saga. I just felt like the stage could have been used even more. The asylum itself wasn’t explored and the details about it not revealed enough for my tastes, though I realize the author will be coming out with a follow up book that explains more of the mysteries involved with the asylum and the people who met their tragic end there. In a way, my criticism is a compliment, because the author did a good job with what he’d created, and left me curious to find out more. So I think that means he will have a customer when the next book is released.
Asylum Lake can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Asylum-Lake-ebook/dp/B004DUN1TK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304555104&sr=8-1
I am happy to announce that the single download of my entire trilogy, plus all the Dark Stories that I wrote which are associated with the trilogy, is now available for download from Smashwords.
Here is the full description:
Together in one massive tome, Patrick D’Orazio’s Dark Zombie Trilogy: Comes The Dark, Into The Dark, and Beyond The Dark are all contained in this release, along with a fourth book full of additional stories about many of the secondary characters that appear in the trilogy, including Megan, George, Jason, Michael, and Ben. The Dark Trilogy, Revised, Expanded, and with Additional Stories is well over 250,000 words of an intense saga of the zombie apocalypse.
The end came with a whimper, not a bang. The mysterious virus came out of nowhere and engulfed the world in a matter of days. Everyone who was infected seemed to die…and rise again. Governments collapsed, armies disappeared, and entire civilizations turned to dust as the human race tore itself to pieces. Jeff Blaine had a good life: a beautiful wife, adorable children, and a nice house in the suburbs. He liked his job, loved his family, and spent his lazy summer Sundays out on the deck, barbecuing with the neighbors. Things were perfect until everything fell apart. And no matter how hard Jeff tried, he could not spare his family from the horrors scratching at the door. Now, with his family gone, his life in ruins, the only thing left is raw anger and pain. As the world continues to sink into darkness, Jeff does as well. So he ventures out into the desolation with no better plan than to destroy as many of the monsters that stole his life away before they destroy him as well. But soon Jeff will discover other survivors unwilling to give up. They will force him to decide whether or not to give in to the venom that gnaws at his soul. Should he continue to fight to survive, or succumb to the things in the darkness?
So for those of you who haven’t checked my trilogy as of yet for your e-book reader or just want the story all in one place, this is a great value. I think it would be about the equivalent of 800-850 pages in length in one paperback, and for $4.99, that is a great deal.
Just click on the cover below to be sent on over to the smashwords link!
Another anthology one of my short stories will be in has a cover and the Table of Contents to show off, so I wanted to share them here with you.
The Anthology is entitled: Zombidays, Festivities of The Flesheaters. Each story is shaped around a different holiday, done up Zombie style. My story is entitled “What a Fool Believes” and is about, you guessed it, April Fool’s Day.
More details to come when this bad boy is ready for release. For now, check out the cover and the TOC, which includes holidays celebrated around the world!
Table of Contents
Richard Marsden – “Revolucion de los Muertos” – Day of the Dead
Stephanie Kincaid – “Zombie’s First Christmas” – Christmas
B. M. Kezar – “Inhuman Resources” – Thanksgiving & Black Friday
Tonia Brown – “Caveat Emptor” – Father’s Day
Nic Brown – “A Grave St. Patrick’s Day” – St Patrick’s Day
Deborah Walker – “Burn Bright and Bide” – Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night
Bryan Hall – “Reduce, Reuse, Reanimate” – Earth Day
Patrick D ‘ Orazio – “What a Fool Believes” – April Fools’ Day
Lee Pletzers – “He iwi tahi tatso” – Waitangi Day
Carey Burns – “Time To Eat” – 4th of July/Independence Day
Derek J. Goodman – “If a Tree Falls in a Forest” – Arbor Day
Stacey Longo – “Zombie Mama” – Mother’s Day
Keith Gouveia – “Dead Souls” – Valentine’s Day
Rob Rosen – “Kill Phil” – Groundhog Day
Christin Haws – “Land of the Voting Dead” – Election Day
Morris L. Crisp – “Bush Country” – Inauguratiion Day
Michael C. Lea – “Best Day Ever” – New Year’s Day
William Wood – “Lest We Forget” – Veterans Day