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.