Alex Fletcher is a marine who left active duty eight years ago and is now a pharmaceutical rep with a bit of paranoia about the latest impending pandemic flu assault. The year is 2013, and he has vivid memories of the pandemic of ’08 and the less noteworthy panic that occurred in ’12 after a swine flu outbreak. Since he works for a pharma company that provides one of the leading flu treatments, it is essentially his job to pay attention to all the reports on how bad this new outbreak is likely to be. That plus the fact that he spends much of his time with doctors who deal with infectious diseases on a regular basis, he is hunkering down for what amounts to the viral equivalent of World War III.
Alex is paranoid, and under regular circumstances might be considered somewhat of a flake. He suffers from post traumatic stress after his time in Iraq, and his house is set up with all the fixin’s to prepare him for a long hold out against the flu with food, water, his own power supplies, and plenty of guns and ammo. His plan is simple: isolate himself and his family from everyone else and they will make it through the flu outbreak just fine, even as the world crumbles around them. Yep, Alex would be probably a bit wacky if it wasn’t for the fact that he is absolutely right about what is about to go down.
And despite Alex’s unheeded warnings to his neighbors to isolate themselves, stock up on food and water, things do go bad rather quickly for them, with food not getting delivered to grocery stores, hospitals getting filled up with flu patients, sickness running rampant and a danger of the power grid going out since less and less people are monitoring and maintaining it. Essentially, Alex has predicted a crash of catastrophic proportions, and that is exactly what happens. And with it, the natives get restless and turn their ire toward the most prepared member of their community. Alex has good intentions, but refuses to be sucked into communal expectations that he play ball and share all his food and every last flu treatment he held on to before quitting his pharmaceutical job. On top of that, scavengers have moved into Alex’s upscale suburban neighborhood in a desperate attempt to find food and shelter as riots and overall madness have driven them out of the bigger cities, and they are even more dangerous than the neighbors.
The Jakarta Pandemic is a well laid out story of one man’s quest to keep his family safe during a devastating assault on their existence. I read a lot of apocalyptic fiction, and while this doesn’t quite tip over into the realm of apocalyptic, it gives us a hefty dose of how the apocalypse could realistically occur in our world. It does share some similarities with some of the other stories I read in that genre in that it shows how desperate people can become, and how hard the choices are when your family is at stake and so is your survival. Alex reminds me of one of those guys on message boards who talks about how they’re prepared for the end of the world, whether it be by natural disaster, plague, or even zombies.
The action sequences are compelling in this book, though I wish there was more of them, and more drawn out tension between the main character and the people who confront him. A lot of the tale is spent with the build up to the pandemic and the slow, boring days Alex and his family spend cloistered inside their home. We are given only one perspective-Alex’s, and only find out what is happening to the outside world through his observations of the news on TV and via the internet. It does help provide a sort of closed off perspective, because we as readers know nothing more than Alex does from minute to minute about what is happening in the wider world or even outside his house as they get buried deeper and deeper into the Maine winter. Still, I did feel that parts of the story dragged and did wish for more of a psychological thriller showcasing more people like Todd, Alex’s on edge neighbor, and the man Alex dubs “Manson”. I felt like the scenes where Alex was dealing with them crackled with energy and craved more of that in this story.
The bottom line is that this was a well thought out, entertaining story, though I was left wanting more interaction between Alex and his key rivals. It is my understanding that this story was recently re-edited, so the typographical issues prior reviewers on Amazon brought up didn’t deflect from the story too much for me. The only real issue I had was when the author slips into present tense on occasion, which was a distraction when the rest of the time he sticks with the traditional past tense. Otherwise, the story kept my interest and was an enjoyable read about an intriguing subject that had a bitter and frightening dose of realism to it.
You can get The Jakarta Pandemic here: http://www.amazon.com/Jakarta-Pandemic-Steven-Konkoly/dp/1456309501/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309311567&sr=1-1
Monique-Cherie Snyman has been so kind as to review my first two books and then interview me. Well, she actually came back for more, which rates her as really cool in my book. Er, well, not the book this post is referring to, because it would be mean to put her into The Dark Trilogy, since there is a lot of carnage there. Let’s just say she is pretty damn cool, and leave it at that. And you can check out her review of the trilogy on her website, here: http://www.killeraphrodite.com/2011/06/book-review-dark-trilogy-patrick-dorazio/. Thanks again, Monique, for being as supportive as you have been. I can’t wait to share more books with you, once I get off my duff and get another one done!
Zombie Slam recently reviewed Comes The Dark, but decided to review the second and third books of the trilogy together, which was sort of cool. So check out their double dose review of Into The Dark and Beyond The Dark here: http://zombieslam.com/2011/06/the-dark-trilogy-ends/! Many thanks to Jessica Martin for checking out the trilogy and posting reviews so quickly. It is a pretty killer website, so keep an eye on these guys.
Monique-Cherie Snyman has taken the time to review both of the first two books of my trilogy, and her review of Beyond The Dark should be appearing quite soon. I’m really excited to see what she thinks of it as well as the Dark Stories that appear in the ebook format of the trilogy. The interview was a lot of fun, and appears on her website, Killer Aphrodite (don’t you just love that name?). So check it out here: http://networkedblogs.com/jC0eT. I’ll post here when her review of Beyond The Dark shows up there as well. And of course, I want to thank Monique for taking the time to interview me. It was my pleasure!
If you want to get a hilarious, entertaining review of Beyond The Dark that is not quite like the typical written review, then head on over to Night of the Living Podcast and download episode 231. At about the 38 minute mark, the review of Beyond The Dark starts, and from that point forward, things get crazy. My thanks to the folks at the podcast for checking all three of the books out and giving them the once over (and me too, with comments about my Italian heritage…but fuggedaboutit!). Special thanks to Amy for forging ahead with the review as the guys on the podcast do everything they can to derail the discussion. Again, they are hilarious over there. So check the review out and check them out in general on their website at: http://www.notlp.com/. WARNING: The podcast has adult content in it, so it isn’t necessarily work friendly and you might be careful if you have little kids around before you start listening. Okay, disclaimer over. Enjoy!
It has been a while since I posted a review of Comes The Dark, but not that long ago I was approached by Jessica Martin, one of the people who runs Zombieslam, looking to review the trilogy. I was happy to obliged, and she now has all three books in her hands. It is sort of nice to revisit the first book in the trilogy, and getting a brand new perspective from someone just now checking it out. So here is the review. I am looking forward to seeing what she thinks of the other two books when she has the opportunity to read them as well. http://zombieslam.com/2011/06/comes-the-dark-by-patrick-dorazio/
Ursula K. Raphael has reviewed all three of the books in my trilogy for Zombiephiles. When I asked her to check out the kindle version of The Dark Trilogy because of the addition of the fourth book of short stories (aka Dark Stories) she was more than happy to do so, and now she has taken the time to give a review of that book as well over on Zombiephiles. But she didn’t stop there. She also asked me a few questions about the trilogy and my writing experiences in general and posted it over on the site as well. It was fun answering her questions and I can’t thank her enough for taking the time to read not only the trilogy but a book of extra stories about that universe I created for these characters. So give it a looksee here: http://www.zombiephiles.com/zombies-ate-my-brains/beyond-the-dark-end-of-the-dark-trilogy-by-dorazio-interview and once again, think about checking out The Dark Trilogy for the kindle, or if you have a different e-reader, head on over to smashwords to check it out. Of course, all three paperbacks are available as well for you folks that don’t like e-readers, so check those out as well!
The best way I can describe this portfolio of short tales is to say that it is an eclectic blend of genres, themes, and ideas. Don’t expect to be granted a full explanation of some of the stories. You will be required to come up with your idea of any meaning that can be interpreted from some of them, while others are written in a more traditional manner than makes the purpose of the author more clear. Being challenged is a good thing here, with stories that maybe don’t go down a straight path.
There are definitely some horror tales in this one, including the first story that this collection takes its name from, Savage Fire, as well as An Island Never Cries, but there is also some bizarro tossed in for good measure, an old fashion detective tale, a western, a modern variant on the story of Medusa, a gut wrenching tale of suicide, a twist on the tale of The Little Mermaid that I found to be an amusing deviation from the norm, and even a couple of more or less traditional werewolf tales that were entertaining as well.
This anthology is probably best described as a compilation of the author’s work, with no running theme that ties the stories together, except for the author’s natural ability to craft a interesting tale. Not every story resonated with me, as is typically the case of such a diverse compendium. I felt that a few stories could have been fleshed out a bit more and turned into something more intriguing, but overall, this anthology shows some impressive range. This is an easy read and brought a smile to my face in more than one instance…sometimes one of pleasure, sometimes a smile that cropped up because I appreciated the author’s devious nature.
A good anthology, and a worthwhile read.
Savage Fire can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Savage-Fire-ebook/dp/B0053IX52O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308418967&sr=8-1
I must be missing a step here or there. I hadn’t seen the review of Beyond The Dark from Sonar 4 Landing Dock when it was first posted, so I am bringing attention to it now. My apologies for being a slow poke, but it is another one that really gave the most kudos to the third book in the trilogy. I know it sounds like a broken record, but please feel free to check it out for yourself…and if you need more encouragement to do so, here ya go: http://sonar4landingdockreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/beyond-dark-by-patrick-dorazio-review.html
Buy Zombie, which has been so kind as to review the first two books of The Dark Trilogy, has reviewed Beyond The Dark and the verdict was quite positive. The reviewer, who has some criticisms of my first two books (criticisms that I took well in stride, and appreciated his candor about his view of the books), really appears to be blown away by the third installment of the trilogy. Pretty much everyone who has read this book has declared it the best of the three, and as I have mentioned, I would toss my vote in with the rest. So without further ado, check out the review here: http://www.buyzombie.com/2011/06/13/reviews-of-zombie-related-things/beyond-the-dark-review/
Sheri Gambino has put together an assortment of tales that spring from her dark and vivid imagination for Twisted Tales of Terror. This anthology has several zombie apocalypse tales, but the author mixes things up with an assortment of other stories to stir the pot. Included in this book are a few twisty, surprise entries that were unexpected, including one about a mad scientist, a vampire waging a war against evil, a truly killer clown, and the author’s own slant on “Kiss of the Spider Woman”. She includes a dash of voodoo and a couple of tales of menace from space along with her zombie stories, most of which are traditional survival tales, but with an assortment of demonic invaders thrown in for good measure.
The author creates some solid characters along with a few throw away ones that come with the typical short story. I grew attached to a few of the characters that I felt like could have been delved into deeper, with grander tales crafted around them. They drew me in and kept me intrigued. As for the “throw away” characters, I don’t mean that in a negative way-but when you are dealing with the apocalypse, you tend to need a lot of grist for the mill, and Sheri carves up the bodies here quite nicely.
Overall, this was a brisk, easy read that entertained me and was done far more quickly than expected. The editing is sharp and I could see making a commitment to a full sized novel by this author with one, or several of her more intriguing characters that she has to offer.
Twisted Tales of Terror can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Tales-of-Terror-ebook/dp/B004YQVOXS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308014835&sr=8-1
The Traveling Tyrant tells the tale of what amounts to corporate espionage disguised as dark science fiction comedy. Or is it a science fiction tale disguised as a corporate thriller? Not quite sure, since it handles the influence of more than one genre with relative ease. The basic overview of this tale is that a representative of Galactic Hotels has presented to the board of directors the discovery of a pristine, paradise world relatively untouched by human hands, named, conveniently enough, Paradisa. It will make the perfect vacation hot spot for the ultra-wealthy, except for one minor, niggling detail: a group of religious zealots claimed the world as their own years before. So, to cleanse the place of these annoying pests, the Traveling Tyrant is called in to do what he and his fleet of mercenaries do best, which is to make niggling details disappear. The only problem is that there is trouble afoot, with more than one member of the Tyrant’s command staff attempting to work their way into the Tyrant’s position of power through a variety of twisted machinations. So with religious zealots below and the danger of mutiny in the fleet above, you can rest assured that everyone involved is in for a bumpy ride and a mission that more than likely isn’t going to go all that smoothly.
This is definitely a dark comedy at its heartless best. Death and deception go hand and hand here, with virtually every character having more than one agenda, though their desires and goals for advancement and power seem to be quite clear, even if their routes to achieving those goals are often cloudy. This story could easily pave the way for a series of books about the Tyrant and his fleet, plus a client base that has a tendency to be fairly amoral in their desire for conquest and dominance. The writing is solid and the wit sharp, with plenty of deception to entertain and amuse those of us who like a little hemlock with our wine every now and then. While the Tyrant is not a likable fellow, with his lecherous ways and Napoleonic complex, he is only one member of a cast of equally twisted characters, each with their own twisted perspectives and peccadilloes that enhance the story and keep you guessing as to what might happen next and who might deceive who. For some, the darkness of this tale might be a bit much, given that it is fairly relentless, with no apologies offered for the vicious, almost offhand casual way lives are destroyed, but that is also a part of the story’s devious allure. For those who can handle such diabolical tactics in the stories they read, this one should be quite an entertaining addition to their collection.
The Traveling Tyrant can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Traveling-Tyrant-Richard-Marsden/dp/1456401254/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307932753&sr=1-1
The Unwashed Dead tells the tale of a zombie uprising on an English Estate. I have to note that as an American, my interpretation of the term “estate” is something along the lines of a village, or at least a close facsimile. Several residents complain of severe migraines one night, and not long after, they transform into flesh eaters, tearing apart everyone around them. As their neighbors are devoured and others are left trying to grasp what’s happening, the army, or some mysterious government agency, moves in to clean up the mess they apparently created, which translates into making sure no one is left around to tell the tale. The story moves at a rapid pace, with plenty of guts and gore carrying the story forward as many of the characters are slaughtered until only a handful remain.
The Unwashed Dead was a quick, simple zombie read. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table as far as the undead are concerned-they are traditional Romero shamblers, but for me, there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps the breakneck pace made it hard for me to grow attached or intrigued by any of the characters, but it was clear that the author plans on a sequel due to the sudden and abrupt ending to the book.
The story was a fun bloodbath with plenty of zombie action and gore. It could have perhaps done with another editing run by the author. There are a few instances of misplaced identity, in particular early on in the story-by which I mean that I thought one character was doing or saying something because of pronoun usage, but it was actually another character and I had to reread a few passages here and there. There were some other typos, though my philosophy on that is that I can tolerate them as long as I get the gist of what the author is saying, which I did, but it deserves to be mentioned here as a fair and honest critique. Despite those quibbles, I did enjoy this story for what it was-a fast paced, gory tale of a traditional zombie uprising. It will be interesting to see where the author takes the story with his sequel.
The Unwashed Dead can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Unwashed-Dead-Zombie-Armageddon-ebook/dp/B004U34WXE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1307414173&sr=1-1
I am pretty excited about this one. I wrote a time travel story a while back entitled “Intervention”, which Wayne Goodchild was gracious enough to accept into his time travel anthology. But this isn’t just stories about time travel, but stories about when time travel goes wonky and things get screwed up, both now and then, or is that then and now? I’m not quite sure, but it was certainly fun thinking up the consequences behind manipulating the time streams. I was pretty proud of my little story and was thrilled to find out that it would appear in the book, and first in the table of contents no less. The cover has just been revealed and the book should probably be released later this summer. It is a bit of a departure from my traditional horror story M.O., I know, but I was excited to stretch myself a bit with a twisty little tale of the present and future colliding.
Without further ado, here is the wrap around cover!
More details to follow. I hope plenty of you will be interested in checking this one out.