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Zaven, written by Jed Cullen, starts us off with Tyler and his friends heading to their first day of school. The day starts relatively typical, but Jake, one of Tyler’s friends, is picked on by a new kid. Their friend, Eli, saves Jake from the massive new student. The day continues as usual, but Tyler gets into trouble and is told to go to detention that afternoon. Tyler skips detention to hang out with his friend at their treehouse. While they are there, an announcement is broadcasted over their radio, informing everyone that there is an outbreak of the virus that originated in Russia. This leads Tyler and his friends to fend for themselves and stick together as much as possible. Life with zombies has its challenges.

The plot is magnificent and leads to a spectacular ending. The plot twist really shocked me, and I loved it! Not what I expected at all. The characters were exceptionally well thought out as well. I could feel the emotions of the characters as they felt them. Tyler’s character surprised me a bit when he made a snap decision, but I think it fits his personality perfectly. Rufus was probably the most shocking character to read about out of all of them. You will need to read this book to see why I say that!

There were only a few things I didn’t like. First, I feel like they should have met more survivors. The action was a little slow to come by, but it was great once it happened. I also noticed a few British terminologies used in the book. That is ok, but I think if it is supposed to take place in the USA, it should contain US terminology.

Zaven is an exciting zombie thriller that will give readers an unexpected plotline. Keeping some traditional elements of zombie novels and adding new twists, Jed Cullen has created memorable characters that readers will want to root for and be anxious to see how the story ends. I would recommend it to a friend that loves books with zombies!  

Pages: 302 | ASIN : B0BG7R944H

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That SOB Deserved That!

Gary Hickman
Gary Hickman Author Interview

The Light Reapers follows an elite team on a mission to rescue a scientist while battling hordes of zombies. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I initially wrote the story during COVID and I was thinking about how the zombies were created. As I thought through different options, the media kept saying CORONA Virus and that stuck with me. For my first book, I wanted to write something that I was familiar with but also wanted to have fun with it. I have always loved zombies since I first saw Dawn of the Dead (the original). Zombies and the military seemed like a good combination. I mean, plenty of people had done it before successfully, so why not me? There are actually quite a few events in the book that were based on real life. The fighting, the tactics used, the interactions between some of the characters all had a significant influence on what I wrote. There are a few of the characters who are based on real people I served with. I obviously removed the enemies and put in the infected, changed the names and locations due to counterintelligence reasons, but most were still based on truth.

This seemed like a fun book to write. What scene in the story did you have the most fun writing?

Chapter 19, the scene with Randy. I didn’t like writing the situation so much, but the end result I had quite a bit of pleasure writing. Something in most books that aggrivates me is the vilan causes all this pain and suffering only to be shot dead to fall off a building. I wanted there to be some moments in the book where people said, “Yeah!”, that SOB deserved that!

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Brotherhood of the soldiers. Acceptance of the others whowere not originally part of the team. Retribution on those who chose to do evil, even though the apocalypse was on them. Just shows some people’s true character. I wanted to show that even though there lies no obligation to people, they stucktogetherand made a life as best they could.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on the sequel to The Light Reapers, this one is “The Light Reapers: Fight for a New Beginning”. The book is about 80% complete as far as writing. Then comes the editing. I could have done much better on the editing of the first book, so I am hiring a professional to edit the second book.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Light Reapers are a Special Operations Unit who had served numerous campaigns together. They were an expertly trained and elite group, but could they ever prepare for what was to happen next.
Under a shroud of darkness and maliciousness, a viral weapon was being produced by an alliance of terrorists bent on the destruction of their respective enemies. When double-crossed by an ISIS faction, the viral weapon is stolen and prematurely unleashed on the planet.
Now facing a worldwide epidemic, The Light Reapers are deployed to rescue a scientist who may be able to develop an antidote. If that wasn’t difficult enough, they also must track down the ISIS faction and eliminate them. All while battling hordes of the infected.

The Light Reapers

The Light Reapers: End of the World by [Gary Hickman]

Media about zombies always seem to fall between two categories. You have the slow-and-somber kind like Max Brooks’ World War Z and George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead, and then you have the guts-and-gore kind like the video game Dead Rising and Stuart Gordon’s Eaten Alive

Before opening this book, I didn’t know which category Gary Hickman’s The Light Reapers: End of the World falls under. I didn’t even know this was a zombie novel at all. But by the time I closed it I was glad it was the latter. From page one, blood and viscera start flying out of the page, and it hardly ever stops to give you a chance to catch your breath. 

It tells the story of the titular Light Reapers, a special operations unit with members that will annihilate anything that steps in their way. Everything goes south when they infiltrate a terrorist lab where a mysterious bioweapon is being created. Prior to the mission, they have little to no information about the lab or the weapon. The mission was supposed to be simple: “make it to the lab area, assess the situation, infiltrate the facility, secure the formula and any other intel, then exfil.” What they find is anything but. Now the virus is unleashed on the planet, driving the whole world into darkness and chaos. 

As crazy as the synopsis may sound, Hickman chose to ground the story in reality with references to real-world events. Still, that doesn’t make it any less imaginative and entertaining. The moments of extreme gore sometimes happen so suddenly with such detailed descriptions that they border on cartoonish. Still, like the obviously fake blood in early Romero films, that’s the beauty of it. The thought of the world’s population turning into a mindless undead horde is a tad depressing, so you got to have a ton of fun to balance it out. And by “fun,” I mean blowing-chunks-off-a-zombie’s-torso kind of fun. 

Now that you’re reading this review, it may be too late to say that the best way to experience The Light Reapers: End of the World is to go in blind. Walk in thinking you’re about to read a war novel, then come out with a new zombie book instead. But at the end of the day, it’s a bloody good time, and gorehounds will surely lap it up.

Pages: 303 | ASIN: B0945G5MMQ

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In A Destroyed World

Igor Generalov
Igor Generalov Author Interview

Russian HellwayZ follows a group of people on their way back to Moscow and face a post-apocalyptic country ravaged by zombies. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve never been interested in zombies before but then I watched TV series “The Walking Dead”. It was a game changer for me. I was struck by the fact that the dramatic destinies of people were so harmoniously inscribed into the zombie apocalypse and intricately intertwined with each other in a destroyed world. So I decided to tell my story.

Your characters were intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The images of the characters are collective, but every one of them has a prototype that I have met at some point in my life. Biographies, criminal cases, events that happened to the heroes before the Apocalypse, were all taken from the real life stories. And, of course, the social environment that once surrounded those characters, descriptions of cities, villages, people’s lives in different layers of society, their behavior – this is all for real.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Any end of civilization is a rapid fall of humanity into the Dark Ages. For some this is a collapse of everything: the loss of status, money, the opportunity to live in comfort. Some are simply ready for an extreme change, and for others “the social elevator” would turn on which would never had the chance to do so in the ordinary world. And the most interesting thing is that all these people were brought together to one point in space and time. The question is: what will win at the end? Will it be their primitive animal nature, or their ability to conceive a new civilization for humanity?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

You know, literary translation is very expensive, as is editing. I hope that “Russian HellwayZ” will start selling well and we can see the continuation as soon as next year 🙂

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

In Russia, a socially divided country where corrupt rulers and capitalists often prey upon ordinary citizens, eight men endure harsh conditions beyond the Arctic Circle to work in the uninhabited Far North. One day, the workers lose all contact with civilization, and their supply deliveries cease. Upon learning that humanity has been plagued by a virus that turns people into zombies, the men agree to return home to Moscow. Together, they must travel several thousand kilometers to reach the capital—confronting bloodthirsty zombies, brutalized survivors, and widespread chaos that will test their strength and compatibility as it exposes civil grievances within a displaced society. Will they make it to Moscow alive?

Russian HellwayZ

Russian HellwayZ by [Igor Generalov]

Russian HellwayZ by Igor Generalov follows the enthralling account of Misha Myakinin’s, aka Copper, trip to find his son Matvey while a zombie apocalypse is raging all around. On his voyage through post-apocalyptic Russia, he will find some allies as well as some foes, all while learning more and more about the unexpected epidemic that has destroyed the world.

Generalov writes in a very descriptive way, giving the book a thick atmosphere that provides a vivid view of the tragedy and destruction in the book. As a reader keen on details, I appreciated the amount of work put into the description of the characters and most importantly on their detailed backstories and connections. From Myakinin to all the people sharing their stories with the psychologist doctor Shrink, we get a deep insight into what they had been through ever since the apocalypse broke off. We get to explore the aftermath through various perspectives and each one provides us with a deeper understanding of the human toll of this apocalypse. Furthermore, the main character, Misha, feels relatable to the reader as he is not perfect but he is still very compelling.

This is a thrilling zombie apocalypse novel that made me think of the AMC show ‘The Walking Dead’, and there is an exciting connection revealed in the story. This is like ‘The Walking Dead’ but in Russia and carries that same level of human drama and intrigue as the show does. Fans of the show will enjoy this rousing fan fiction that tells an action filled story.

Russian HellwayZ is a suspenseful post-apocalyptic story with a dark ambiance and relatable characters that will appeal to readers looking for a gritty but fun story in a unique setting that feels exotic, at least to anyone outside of Russia. Fans of hard hitting zombie apocalypse fiction will have plenty to sink their teeth into.

Pages: 531 | ASIN: B095R9V2V4

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Sanctuary (The Dark Days Series Book 2)

Sanctuary (The Dark Days Series Book 2) by [Christopher Cole]

The world is succumbing to a zombie infestation, and society is crumbling. It’s every man for himself in Christopher Cole’s post-apocalyptic novel. Through chance meetings, a ragtag team of children and teenagers stick together to fight their way to the only known safe place in the world, Fort Gold Rush. But Sonny and his friends soon have to pick up their arms again as they must undertake training that will equip them with the skills needed to become protectors of their new haven. Out in the wild again, they soon discover that flesh-eating zombies aren’t the only enemies. They must also contend with human predators. In these dark days, it’s a battle on three fronts for these noble kids. They fight zombies, bandits, and the darkness that threatens to consume their hearts.

Author Christopher Cole’s Sanctuary is a unique combination of a dystopian city, in a post-apocalyptic world. It takes readers on a journey through man’s struggles to hang onto hope in the face of mounting adversity. There is hardly anything that is straightforward in this twisted world. Cole reminds us of this fact by posing the philosophical question – what is good and evil?

One of my favorite things about the book is what Cole does with the characters. I didn’t get to know some of the characters’ backstory until I was more than halfway through the book. But by that time, I had already connected with them. Instead of using backstories to evoke a quick connection, Cole invests heavily in the characters’ personalities – flaws and quirks.

The book pushes several emotional buttons. Exploring humanity through a dark lens that doesn’t hold back commentary on the darker problems with society. The dystopian city of Fort Gold Rush provides ample opportunity for readers to see contemporary societal issues magnified to entertaining effect. The author uses detailed imagery to build this gritty world. I must warn you, though, you’ll visualize shimmering sunrise and picturesque landscapes, but you’ll also imagine gory sights like knives thrusting into brains and bullets drilling into flesh. A stimulating combination for the right audience. And if you are a gun enthusiast, the battle scenes are littered with gun mentions you can geek over. Although, having to read through the multiple types of guns everyone carried was a little tiring.

Sanctuary continues the thrilling post-apocalyptic action that fans expect in Christopher Cole’s Dark Days series. With such an intriguing cast of characters, it is fascinating to see where they’ll end up, how they’ll get there, and what price is paid along the way.

Pages: 292 | ASIN: B08L84KY32

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Their Journey Through Survival

Christopher Cole
Christopher Cole Author Interview

Outbreak is a thrilling zombie apocalypse novel with great action, endearing characters and a strong plot. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

Good stories like The Last of Us, Telltale’s The Walking Dead along with AMC’s version, The Road, etc. Certain survival stories where the main characters developed and changed on their journey through survival and endurance. I was mainly inspired by Neal Shutterman’s book Everlost.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

That my characters would be three dimensional, that the story would be compelling in reflection to the impact on the characters, and it would have some kind of ending where readers can get closure. That I would write a character for readers to root for.

I think this novel delivers some very entertaining scenes. What was the funniest thing about writing this novel?

The funniest thing to me is originally it was gonna end sooner. The big climax near the end wasn’t originally gonna happen but after a friend read it before I submitted it, he told me it needed something more. Ironically, adding more was what delivered a big climactic ending.

What story are you currently writing and when will it be available?

I’m currently writing Book 3 of the Dark Days Series and I’m co-writing another book called Rising Up. I don’t know when they will be released.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website | AllAuthor | BookBub

Cities are bombed out ruins and wilderness is humanity’s new home. The undead roam the earth, and the new world order is about the struggle to survive. Sonny Daniels begins an emotional and physical journey of personal survival and protecting those he loves.

While survival is a constant struggle, Sonny’s most desperate fight is the struggle preserve some semblance of a compassionate soul. Sonny and his parents are caught in the zombie outbreak in upstate New York. After the passage of the first year, their base is attacked by bandits and their safety has again been compromised. Fearing for their loved ones, Sonny’s parents send him and his orphaned childhood friends, Ashley and Carrie, to Fort Denver Colorado on a military plane.

When Fort Denver is overrun with zombies, the three are alone in a zombie-infested wasteland without the army’s protection, forced to rely upon one another and a handful of equally desperate survivors they encounter along the journey. Sonny is determined to do whatever it takes to protect Ashley and Carrie while finding a safe place to call home, but survival can force you to make dark decisions.

Outbreak (The Dark Days Series Book 1)

Outbreak (The Dark Days Series Book 1) by [Christopher Cole]

Christopher Cole’s Outbreak (The Dark Days Series Book one) is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller with an endearing cast of characters, and enough action to keep you hanging off the edge of your seat.

The plot follows child-protagonist ‘Sonny’ and his two best friends, Carrie and Ashley. After being separated from their families, the three kids are soon plunged into catastrophe. Ill-prepared and barely 11 years old, the children must learn to look after themselves in a world where roaming hordes of ‘infected’ zombies are the new normal. The plot centers around young Sonny’s early passage into adulthood; how he must ‘grow up fast’ to protect those he loves the most, and the effect this has on his psyche.

Christopher Cole creates meaningful bonds between Sonny, Carrie, Ashley, and every other character the three children encounter along their journey. What’s more impressive is that Cole manages to do so in a short story that runs thick-and-fast with tense moments and brutal action. Sonny treasures his relationships and it’s these friendships that provide some of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the book, whilst also giving weight to the tough life-and-death decisions that Sonny must make. Cole also manages to create tension and action cinematically throughout this novel. Take Sonny’s face-to-face encounter with a zombie, his simple imagery, coupled with Sonny’s narrative commentary, provide a matter-of-fact description that leaves tension building up to the reader’s imagination.

Outbreak delivers value on its themes of martyrdom, personal growth, and loyalty. The consequence of Sonny’s decisions is something that is alluded to, but not built upon as much as I would have hoped. Overall, though, this is a really good, easy-to-read, post-apocalyptic thriller with great action, endearing characters and a strong plot.

Pages: 212 | ASIN: B08GBMF3LG

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