Writer of Horror Fiction

Review of Peter Clines’ “Ex-Purgatory”

Ex-Purgatory is the fourth book in Peter Clines’ Ex series.  For those who haven’t read at least the first and second books in the series, Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots, I would strongly suggest you read those books first.  In some ways, this book will still make sense even if you haven’t because the author does an excellent job of introducing and developing his characters.  So even if you don’t know them already they will stick with you.  With that said the payoff with this tale will not resonate as well without the background provided in the first two books.  I would note that I actually have not read Ex-Communication, the third book in the series, but am rectifying that now.

We are introduced to George Bailey, who in the past books was the lead superhero keeping humanity safe at ‘The Mount’ in Los Angeles after the zombocalypse had begun.  The Mount is Paramount studios, and George, along with several other superheroes including Stealth, Captain Freedom, and zzZap have created a safe haven for those still alive in the city by building walls around many of the buildings to keep the Ex-Humans (aka zombies) outside.

That, however, is not how this story begins.  A reader familiar with this series may believe that this is somehow a prequel, re-introducing us to George in his normal life before he realized he had his superpowers.  It becomes clear very soon that this is not the case.  He is a maintenance man on the UCLA campus grinding his way through life one day at a time-trying to keep his car from stalling out on the way to work and to make enough money to keep a roof over his head.  But it becomes clear rather quickly that things are not as they seem-to George and to the reader.  There are little peeks behind the hazy curtain that the world seems to thrown around him that George has to puzzle over-the world shifts and people around him appear as if they are moving corpses-ones that attack and crave flesh.  The world looks decimated-like a nuclear bomb has been dropped on L.A.  But not long after these images appear they fade, replaced by typical people doing ordinary things and with everything around George going back to normal.  But it isn’t only the visions that are causing him confusion-it’s the dreams he has every night of him as a superhero fighting off hordes of the undead while people behind a giant wall cheer him on.  If that wasn’t enough, George keeps getting confronted by a young girl in a wheelchair named Madelyn.  She insists he has superpowers and that neither of them belong in this place.  Her memories, unlike his, are still intact.  Where they are, she doesn’t know, except that they appear to be trapped in some alternate universe that they need to break out of before they are lost forever.

Ex-Purgatory takes a slight detour from the storytelling route readers of this series are used to.  There are no flashbacks providing the reader with a backstory of the main characters.  By now the reader, if they have followed along with the trilogy, understand who the superheroes are and where they came from, which makes this tale that much more interesting as we are reintroduced to them one by one with George’s efforts to unravel the mystery that his life has become-some of whom have dreamt of him while others have no clue who he is, though he is certain he knows them from somewhere.  This adds new flavor to characters we already know, especially Stealth, adding new details to their existence that will be appreciated by fans of this series.

The Ex-series continues to entertain.  While this perhaps isn’t the best book in the saga, it is a fun read definitely worth checking out.

Ex-Purgatory will be available January 14th here:  http://www.amazon.com/Ex-Purgatory-Novel-Ex-Heroes-Peter-Clines-ebook/dp/B00E2RZHI2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386557100&sr=8-1&keywords=ex-purgatory

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