My friend CRAIG DILOUIE released a new book earlier this month. Craig and I go a long way back and I consider him one of the most interesting voices in genre fiction. You can read my thoughts on his earlier releases TOOTH AND NAIL and SUFFER THE CHILDREN in the archives of this site. What I love about his work is the way he’ll take an extraordinary premise and write about it in a detached yet personal way which pulls no punches. He takes world-changing events like the military response to a fast moving zombie infection or a virulent strain of vampirism which affects only children, and looks at them in a whole new light, often making them feel uncomfortably plausible. His latest release ONE OF US (out now from Orbit) is no exception. It takes the well-used set-up of mutant kids born with special powers, but instead of going down the tired and cliched X-Men superhero route, he instead tells a much darker and altogether more disturbing story of neglect, distrust and hatred.
THEY CALL IT THE PLAGUE – A generation of children born with extreme genetic mutations
THEY CALL IT A HOME – But it’s a place of neglect and forced labour
THEY CALL HIM A FREAK – But Dog is just a boy who wants to be treated as normal
THEY CALL THEM DANGEROUS – They might be right
The story of a lost generation, and a boy who just wants to be one of us.
I thoroughly enjoyed ONE OF US. Set in Georgia in an alternate 1984, it’s a fascinating read. As you’d expect, the grotesques aren’t the real monsters here, rather it’s DiLouie’s cast of prejudiced, cruel, moralistic non-mutants. For me, what sets this story apart is the masterstroke of having the deformed and mutated kids being born as the result of a new strain of sexually transmitted disease. Because this is a generational shift, it allows DiLouie to present us with a cast of ‘special’ kids who grow up together and who therefore both lose their innocence and mature/gain their powers at the same time. This effectively amplifies the problem facing the backward facing society from which the children have been ostracised, and you get the sense from the very beginning of the book that once these kids are fully in control of their destinies, things will never be the same again. Highly recommended.
But ONE OF US isn’t the only Craig DiLouie release I want to tell you about. I’m also very excited to announce that his entry in THE FRONT series – following SCREAMING EAGLES by Tim Long and my novel RED DEVILS – will be released on 31 August. I’ve had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of the book and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. BERLIN OR BUST is a cracking tale which takes us right into the rotting black heart of the undead Nazi war machine. You can pre-order it now.
The weather’s been unprecedented here in the UK recently, with temperatures in the high to mid-twenties every day now for a number of weeks. Apparently we have a couple more weeks of it to look forward to. I’m not complaining – apart from the fact it’s bloody lovely to have a decent summer for the first time in years, it’s also fun to see the effect that a heatwave has on book sales. Whenever the sun appears, STRAIGHT TO YOU has a sales spike.
I’m back from the wilderness temporarily to tell you about the latest Infected Books release. It’s a hugely enjoyable, balls-to-the-wall, gore-filled tale of dodgy dealings and reanimated corpses in the outer rim. As it says in the blurb: it’s Dawn of the Dead meets Battle Beyond the Stars: Romero meets Corman. XINNERS, by my good friend and co-conspirator Wayne Simmons, is a cracking read and it’s available right now from Amazon. It’s zombies in space, man! Need I say more?
A proportion of the profits from every copy of XINNERS sold will be donated to MIND, the mental health charity.
The German stranglehold on the town of Bastogne has been released, only for the living dead to rise up and take their place. A ragtag group of men fight their way out of the chaos and make a frantic escape from the rubble and ruin. One of them, British soldier Lieutenant Robert Wilkins, uncovers crucial information about the source of the zombie scourge. Along with a crack team, Wilkins is dispatched to where the outbreak began – the ominously silent concentration camp at Polonezköy, Poland – to try and find a way to halt the undead advance.
“Brilliant action scenes, a fantastic setting and atmosphere, and an exciting plot that ratchets up the tension…” —SciFi and Fantasy Reviewer
Keith’s in his early twenties. No girlfriend, no hobbies, no future. He spends his days working in an office and his evenings, weekends and just about all his free time looking after his alcoholic dad.
And then the zombie apocalypse changes everything.
Suddenly Keith’s free. For the first time in a long time, he’s got nothing to worry about (apart from several hundred thousand reanimated corpses heading his way).
But then he meets Anna, and everything changes again. Cocky, cool, confident… she’s everything Keith isn’t. Holed-up together in an isolated bungalow, besieged by the living dead, will they survive, or will they tear each other apart before the dead get anywhere near?
“With Isolation I was once again blown away by the recognisable settings and relatable yet engrossing characters. A gripping read. Treated to four more short stories within this book, all with different takes on zombie fiction, it’s a must have for zombie lovers, people who love gore and violence and people who love stories with exceptional characterisation. It’s one that’s not to be missed.” —BookBloke
An abhorrent epidemic is sweeping the globe, destroying everything it touches. Contact with even a single drop of contaminated blood or saliva is enough to spread the disease. Within hours even the healthiest people are transformed into hideous, germ-spewing creatures. They hunt out the uninfected in their tens of thousands, their sole purpose to continue spreading the infection.
On a recently-built housing development on the outskirts of a large city, one man will stop at nothing to protect his family from the coming storm. Stuart has been one step ahead of the game from the beginning. His garage is stocked high with supplies, the doors and windows of his home fortified, weapons held ready in case of attack.
With each passing minute, there are more and more infected surrounding the house. With each passing minute, Stuart and his family have less food and water available. Some time very soon, the balance of power will inevitably shift. But Stuart won’t give up on his family, no matter what the cost.
LAST OF THE LIVING is a collection of novellas and short stories focusing on those who’ve survived the unthinkable. Some thrive while others disintegrate; some fight while others capitulate. But no matter how each individual survivor reacts, one thing is certain: nothing will ever be the same again.
The most important event in human history takes place in the middle of nowhere. Perspectives are altered. Perceptions are changed. Nothing will ever be the same again. Is this a moment of deliverance for the human race, or the beginning of its end? Tom Winter thinks he knows, but if he’s right, then seven billion other people are wrong.
“Trust is a slow-burner and all the richer for it. It’s an outstanding novel, delivers in more ways than one, and is worthy of a place on the discerning fan’s bookshelf. 10/10” —Starburst Magazine