Writer of Horror Fiction

Posts tagged “Superheroes

Review of Peter Clines’ “Ex-Communication”

Ex-Communication is the third book in Peter Clines’ Ex-saga of zombies battling with the survivors and the superheroes who protect them in Los Angeles in the years after the zombocalypse. The heroes, along with a new group of super soldier allies, have returned to The Mount (Paramount Studios) after contending with their most recent menace out in the desert.  They have built high walls that surround a larger chunk of the city to give the thousands of survivors living with them more space to spread out and to feel safe.   

Their latest superhuman nemesis is a being that calls itself Legion.  It is a former LA gang member who has gained the ability to control countless hordes of the undead and likes tormenting those who live in the Mount by sending an endless brigade of the undead at them.  Legion can speak through the undead and make them handle weapons, climb, and do all sorts of things the sluggish ghouls couldn’t do on their own.  In addition to Legion, there are a couple of other new challenges for St. George, Stealth, and the rest of the supers to contend with.  Zzzap, the superhero who can transform himself into pure energy, has been seeing ghosts…well, specifically one ghost who happens to be a former superhero that wants to return to the land of the living and needs help…including the body of someone who is recently deceased.  They are also dealing with a young girl who has come to Los Angeles who shares similarities to the ex’s (zombies) in that she is dead and moving around, but is unlike all the others in that she can think, speak, and is an otherwise normal teenage girl. 

Things only get more complicated from there when an angry, vengeful demon enters the picture, intent on consuming the souls of the remaining humans still alive in the Los Angeles area, including the superheroes at the mount.   

The Ex series continues to provide an interesting twist on the zombie genre with its mix of complex superheroes and challenging villains.  The main heroes are well fleshed out and the author continues to use flashbacks to great success to provide a slow reveal as new good and evil elements are introduced to the storyline.  While for the most part the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad, there is plenty of gray area to keep the reader guessing on what to expect.

Ex-Communication can be found here:   http://www.amazon.com/Ex-Communication-A-Novel-Peter-Clines/dp/0385346824/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1386871552&sr=8-1


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


Permuted Press Kindle E-Book Sale!

Well it is Friday the 13th and while many folks consider that bad luck, I think it is a great day…and the start of a great weekend.  Especially for fans of great apocalyptic fiction.  Permuted Press, my publisher, has decided that this would be a great weekend to promote the heck out of virtually every one of the books they offer on Kindle by having a sale that runs through Sunday.  So go on over to Amazon to check things out.  Just click on the picture below and you’ll be sent to the list of books for sale, including all three books in my trilogy: Comes The DarkInto The Dark, and Beyond The Dark.  Plenty of other fantastic books can be found on sale, including plenty of ones that I’ve reviewed here.  So here is your chance to pick them up for either 99 cents or $2.99 when they’re regularly around $7.99.  So check it out, and as they say over at Permuted, Enjoy the Apocalypse!

Friday the 13th Book Sale

 

 

 

 

 


Review of Michael Ivan Lowell’s “The Suns of Liberty: Revolution”

The Suns of Liberty: Revolution is a superhero fable that takes place in an alternate time stream where the Great Recession has turned into a new Great Depression.  As a result, power has been handed over to the most potent remaining corporations to run the country.  Dubbed the “Freedom Council” they control things while the government remains in control in name only.

Rising up in the aftermath of this transition in power is a superhero dubbed “The Revolution” who is an armored warrior willing to fight to stop the tyranny of this new form of despotic government.  Others rise as well; copy-cats who want to be heroes who fight crime and give the people hope.  Some have legitimate talents, like Paul Ward, who has crafted an armored flight suit and can fire darts that knock his enemies out, while others are less impressive.  Some, like Lithium, are state sanctioned and fight crimes that are set-ups made for the TV audience-they support the new government and while they have real superpowers, they are more-or-less at war with The Revolution and those who would oppose this new form of government.

The main character of this tale, for all intents and purposes, is Paul, who has been dubbed the “Spider Wasp” after a confrontation with a gang of bank robbers.  He is seeking revenge for the death of his son at the hands of thugs, which also caused his wife to commit suicide.  He is a doctor and a former Harvard Professor who is fascinated with The Revolution and the mythology surrounding the rebellious hero.  This tale follows Paul’s experiences with The Revolution and the group of underground heroes that work with him fomenting a new American Revolution.

Michael Ivan Lowell has written an intriguing tale of new superheroes for a world where corporate power has gotten out of control-with a shimmer of our reality mirrored on its pages.  Taking place mainly in Boston, the reflections of the original Revolutionary War are easily recognized within the story.  The author has crafted a set of heroes that mostly utilize technology rather than having any innate superpowers, except in one particular case.  In some ways, this story reminds me Watchmen with its alternate history (though this takes place in the near future rather than in the near past).  Superheroes that aren’t quite immaculate in how they operate and how they function-while they may wish to do well, they are far from perfect.

The story is fun and the creation of a set of heroes is creative-while there are similarities to other superheroes the reader already know and recognize, they do have their own unique flavor and take on things, especially in a world where the United States has essentially turned into a dictatorship.  It is easy to see where this saga could carry forward with several additional volumes by the author.  It will be interesting to see what new characters (both good and evil) he can craft to carry the story forward beyond this tome.

As I always attempt to do, I try to point out any issues or concerns I had with a book, and with The Suns of Liberty: Revolution it came down to the fact that the author spends much of the book telling the reader things rather than showing them.  The history of many of the characters is revealed not through interactions with them, but by a synopsis of their past and their personality type.  This is a bit distracting-I tend to prefer characters being revealed by inches and often not knowing everything about them right away.  I realize that with a book that has this many complex characters it would be difficult to really dig deep without the book being twice as long, but as mysterious a character as The Revolution is, the rest of the cast was much more of an open book.  Again, it is clear with a book such as this, it is often hard to let the characters do a slow reveal-especially those destined to become superheroes or villains-unless it is an origin story.  Instead, we are introduced to what amounts to The Justice League or Avengers in full swing here, so it’s not surprising that a few liberties with the story telling style were taken to get the reader up to speed.

The Suns of Liberty: Revolution provides a solid new world filled with darkness and a new hope for the downtrodden, and was a fun read.  It will be interesting to see where the author takes this tale in future volumes.

The Suns of Liberty: Revolution can be found here:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C0HB7DK/ref=cm_cr_thx_view


“No More Heroes” is now available on Amazon!

I announced about a week ago that No More Heroes, an anthology filled with all new superheroes and villains, was available over at Creatspace.  I’m thrilled that it is now on Amazon as well.  While it appears only in paperback at this time, I’m sure that it will be available in e-book format very soon as well.  This project was a labor of love, as my past posts have explained.  A fully developed and detailed world of new good guys and bad guys with all new super powers and abilities to cause mayhem and destruction.  Definitely worth checking out for those who are looking for something new and different.  You can read my tale of bad guys and good guys: “Slow Goth and St. North” there, along with a great lineup of other stories about plenty of other baddies and do gooders.

Check it out by clicking on the image of below.


“No More Heroes” is finally out at Createspace!

This one has been years in the making.  I held on to the hope that this one would come out, sooner or later, even though the original publisher let it languish for quite a time, then promised to release it, but let the contracts lapse.  Then one of the editors, Wayne Goodchild, did his absolute best to find this book a new home.  But it was a rather unique concept, one which bound all the authors together under the same umbrella, but also meant that a new publisher had to buy into the concept of a whole new realm of superheroes and villains being created.  Yep, this alternate universe has an entirely new set of good guys and bad guys, and a very intriguing concept behind it.  A cataclysmic event causes most of the superheroes on the planet to get evaporated, allowing the villains to take over…but a new group of superheroes have revealed themselves, ready to provide the resistance the world needs to save itself.

Fortunately, Matt Nord, who had a personal investment in this project, wanted this book to be released as badly as Wayne did, and thus, like a Phoenix, it has risen from the ashes.  Now all we can ask is that you check it out…on createspace, and when it becomes available on Amazon and elsewhere.

The editors crafted a back story that was tremendous and should be included within the book.  Dozens and dozens of evil villains and superheroes, ready for their stories to be told.  My tale provides the origin of a angst ridden teen known as “Slow Goth” and his superhero mentor, “St. North”.  Naturally, the story is called “Slow Goth and St. North”.  I was pretty thrilled when my tale was accepted into the book, and fought along  with Wayne and Matt to see this project to completion.  The original vision was to not only see this project to its conclusion, but to hold out hope that it would be successful enough that we could craft more tales in future volumes…giving this world a real complexity, with as many of the bad guys and good guys used and involved in an ongoing saga.  It remains to be seen whether or not that will happen, but for now, I hope you have the chance to check out No More Heroes!  Just click on the cover to get sent over to Createspace.

On November 20th, 2009, a catastrophic event dubbed The Cataclysm wiped the world’s greatest heroes and villains off the face of the planet and created a death toll stretching into the millions.

Though most of the world survived, it is now in the grip of the super villains who avoided The Cataclysm. It may not have been quite the victory they expected, but it is the outcome they wanted: all the heroes are dead and the world is theirs…

Or so they believe…


My interview on Blog Talk Radio

My interview with Sonar 4 tonight, for those who didn’t get the chance to check it out live.

Lori Titus and Tonia Brown did a great job and it was a lot of fun talking about Comes The Dark, some of my short stories, and the absolutely horrendous book I wrote back in high school that remains locked away forever.

Check it out!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sonar4magtalkshow