"I never thought a golem could make me cry, but hearing the big clay guy's sad story brought a tear to my normally bloodshot eyes."
~ from Kevin Anderson's Unnatural Acts
Ex-Isle: A Novel by Peter ClinesSince the zombie apocalypse in 2009, a group of survivors, including several superheroes led by St. George, have been holed up in a former movie studio in Los Angeles. St. George's team goes into action when needed to defend the remaining humans against undead attackers and living people with nefarious motives. In Ex-Isle, the 5th in the Ex-Heroes series, St. George and his cohort are excited to learn of a zombie-free colony of survivors out in the Pacific. But does the colony have dangers other than zombies? If you haven't read author Peter Clines' fast-paced adventures featuring empathetic characters, you might want to start with the 1st, Ex-Heroes, but each novel can stand alone.
Good Girls by Glen HirshbergIn award-winning author Glen Hirshberg's Good Girls, "Southern gothic meets unsuspecting New England collegiate" (Booklist). Having fled the south after a vampire turned her daughter, Jess lives in a fire-damaged house in New Hampshire with her grandson and injured husband. Rebecca, a college student who babysits for Jess, finds emotional refuge in her household. But the vampire is pursuing Jess...and there's also an evil being in the attic. Hirshberg lightens the gut-wrenching violence in this compelling tale with offbeat humor and intriguing musical allusions. While this book can be read on its own, you may also enjoy its predecessor, Motherless Child.
The Oxford Inheritance by Ann A. McDonaldWhen American college student Cassandra Blackwell embarks on a year abroad at Oxford University, she has something else in mind besides her studies: finding out what happened there years earlier to her mother. Doubt about who's telling the truth magnifies Cassie's concern about occult activities in her college and leads to a climactic confrontation. Combining mystery and horror, The Oxford Inheritance provides a creepy and absorbing visit to the past set off by details of contemporary technology, including an electronic card access lock at the top of an eerie staircase. For another combination of mystery and horror set in a hallowed English school, try Justin Evans' The White Devil.
The Damned by Tarn RichardsonIt's an alternate version of 1914, and the violence of World War I is stirring up werewolves in Arras, France, escalating the horrors of war with supernatural violence. Meanwhile, a string of murders, whose victims are all Catholic clergy, prompts the Inquisition to send a Polish priest named Poldek Tacit to investigate. In addition, British Lt. Henry Frost struggles to cope with the venality and idiocy of war itself. Combining history and supernatural terror into a complex, "allegorical and erudite" (Kirkus Reviews) novel, The Damned is the 1st volume of a planned trilogy.
Unnatural Acts: Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. by Kevin J. AndersonIn Unnatural Acts, author Kevin Anderson's offbeat approach to zombie lore, undead private detective Dan Shamble and his human partner Robin Dyer have to cope with a range of unnatural and supernatural beings, as well as human Senator Rupert Balfour, who's attempting to criminalize undead activities. Also in Dan's caseload, enslaved golems are seeking freedom from the manufacturer they work for, and somebody murders a gremlin pawnbroker. If you like your horror with a side of humor, you'll want to try this 2nd entry in the Shamble & Die Investigations series, which begins with Death Warmed Over.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve HockensmithThis prequel to Seth Grahame-Smith's bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies reveals how Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters came to be such skilled zombie slayers. The story begins several years before Mr. Bingley moves to Netherfield, when undead "unmentionables" begin popping up in the quiet Hertfordshire town of Meryton. Mr. Bennet, the girls' curmudgeonly father -- a retired special operative who thought his zombie-hunting days were over -- converts their greenhouse into a dojo and trains his daughters in combat. If you're a fan of literary monster mash-ups, especially those based on Jane Austen's novels, author Steve Hockensmith's Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a must-read.
Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel by Jonathan MaberryA medical experiment unexpectedly turns a condemned prisoner, Homer Gibbon, into a zombie in Jonathan Maberry's gripping Dead of Night. After the prisoner wakes up, he goes on a violent rampage -- and his bites turn his victims into yet more zombies. Police officers JT Hammond and Dez Fox work with reporter Billy Trout to investigate the origin of this plague, which soon becomes a full-fledged zombie apocalypse. Supplying both humor and terror, this tale will enthrall fans of classic zombie literature and films, especially George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Maberry's sequel, Fall of Night, continues the adventures of Dez, Billy, and JT.
Boneshaker by Cherie PriestDuring the American Civil War, scientist Leviticus Blue invented "Dr. Blue's Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine," a massive steam-powered mining machine. Unfortunately, it malfunctioned, tearing open a vein of toxic gas that killed the inventor and turned many of Seattle's inhabitants into zombies called "rotters." Sixteen years later, Blue's teenage son Zeke heads for the ruined, walled-off city to learn more about his father, hoping to clear his name. Harboring her own dark secrets, Zeke's widowed mother, Briar, sets out to rescue her son. Set in an alternate 1880 Seattle, Boneshaker offers an absorbing blend of steampunk, mystery, coming-of-age, and horror.
To Sail a Darkling Sea by John RingoIn this sequel to Under a Graveyard Sky, author John Ringo continues his creative approach to recounting the zombie apocalypse. Featuring engaging, believable characters and banter-filled dialog, To Sail a Darkling Sea finds Australian Steve Smith, his family, and other survivors on a flotilla-city off the coast of the U.S. As they work to rid the boats they encounter of zombies, they plan to extend clearing operations to towns on land and develop a vaccine at a Guantanamo research facility. The 4-volume Black Tide Rising series continues in Islands of Rage and Hope and concludes in Strands of Sorrow. An additional story anthology by various authors, Black Tide Rising, is due out this month.
Rise Again: Below Zero by Ben TrippTwo years after the events related in author Ben Tripp's Rise Again, the zombies have evolved into several types. In addition to the classic shambling cannibals, there are cunning hunters and predatory thinkers. Sheriff Danielle "Danny" Adelman and her small group of survivors hear rumors of a safe haven called Happy Town somewhere in the east, but the closer they get to it, the more suspicious Danny becomes. The well-drawn characters in Below Zero increase the emotional power of Danny's moral dilemmas in this "taut and intelligent" (Publishers Weekly) novel.
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