Recommended reading – The Panama Laugh

It’s been a while since I recommended any books (hell, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to read any!) so here’s an interesting one for you…

Over the summer I blurbed Thomas Roche’s THE PANAMA LAUGH. It’s safe to say I hadn’t read anything like Roche’s book before. It defies categorisation, so it’s probably best to leave it to the author to describe. He calls it a “a gonzo pulp action zombie thriller”, and here’s the synopsis:

Ex-mercenary, pirate, and gun-runner Dante Bogart knows he’s screwed the pooch after he hands one of his shady employers a biological weapon that made the dead rise from their graves, laugh like hyenas, and feast upon the living. Dante tried to blow the whistle via a tell-all video that went viral – but that was before the black ops boys deep-sixed him at a secret interrogation site on the Panama-Colombia border. When Dante wakes up in the jungle with the five intervening years missing from his memory, he knows he’s got to do something about the laughing sickness that has caused a world-wide slaughter. The resulting journey leads him across the nightmare that was the Panama Canal, around Cape Horn in a hijacked nuclear warship, to San Francisco’s mission district, where a crew of survivalist hackers have holed up in the pseudo-Moorish-castle turned porn-studio known as The Armory. This mixed band of anti-social rejects has taken Dante’s whistle blowing video as an underground gospel, leading the fight against the laughing corpses and the corporate stooges who’ve tried to profit from the slaughter. Can Dante find redemption and save civilization?

Fast-paced, smart and never predictable, The Panama Laugh is well worth checking out. And perhaps even more intriguing is the great ‘semi-hoaxed group storytelling campaign’ which Roche and his publishers, Night Shade Books, have just announced:

“Night Shade Books and Thomas Roche are launching a social media disinformation campaign under the title “The Dante Bogart Project,” in the hopes of creating a large mythology of shared, semi-hoaxed group storytelling.

“The author’s intent is not to convince anyone that zombies are real, but to satirize the ways in which the democratic nature of the web (and particularly of social media) can make it disturbingly vulnerable both to corporate and governmental “spin” and to the promulgation of fringe beliefs that may be utterly at odds with the facts. The real story, however outrageous, may get lost in the white noise.”

Awesome.

Cross Pollination

As many of you know, I’m a keen advocate of viral marketing. I’m really proud of the fact that in the years I published my books myself through Infected Books, I spent less than £500 in total on publicity. I think I owe pretty much everything to the power of viral marketing.

So, as you can probably imagine, when I was asked by Jeremy Robinson (author of Pulse and Instinct amongst others) to take part in a new viral marketing experiment with a number of other authors, I was pretty keen!

Jeremy has put together a catalogue (which you can download here) which brings together new releases from, amongst others, myself, Scott Sigler, Jonathan Maberry and J A Konrath. The idea is that we each distribute it to our respective readers who, hopefully, will a). be introduced to new books they might not otherwise have come across and b). help spread the catalogue online via Twitter, Facebook etc. etc.

So, if I could ask for your help for a moment, please download a copy of the catalogue, pick a few good books for your summer reading, then pass it on to as many online (or offline) friends, book review blogs, social networking sites etc. as you’re happy to.

Huge thanks in advance from myself and all the other authors involved!