This book continues the ever-expanding Walking Dead universe, and it makes for a decent and quick listen. It’s got a little bit of drama, a little bit of love, a whole lot of action, and plenty of zombie gore.
I didn’t personally find the book as compelling or satisfying as Rise of the Governor. Some of the storylines just seemed re-hashed from previous Walking Dead material. But I still enjoyed the book face-value as a quick and dirty read.
I’ve heard quite a lot of complaints about Fred Berman’s narration style, particularly from some Walking Dead fan podcasts. I’ve enjoyed his narration in both books and don’t really see the complaints. He adds drama when appropriate and is a rather good voice actor for this type of materials. True, he overdoes it at times, but for a book of this style, with so much gratuity, swearing, and death, I can’t complain.
I’ll give any zombie book a listen, and for the past few years it seems that this one makes every Audible ‘Five Dollar Bottom-of-the-Bucket Sale’ that comes around. It’s worth a listen for that low price, but I doubt I’d be satisfied with the purchase had I paid full member price – and I have serious hesitations about continuing this series. (Sidenote: The fact that seven books have been released in two-and-a-half years is pretty telling about the quality of the writing and the richness of the plot. Don’t expect anything too deep here, folks; this is some hastily-written fodder.)
The plot is straightforward and predictable. We follow a main character from the onset of a ‘zombie apocalypse’ for a few weeks. Within the plot are all the clichés that have come to represent contemporary zombie literature; we witness the transformation of a suburban subdivision into ‘Defense Bunker Alpha’ for a colorful cast of survivors; we follow expeditions to plunder the local Wal Mart and state armory; we observe struggles of power within family and community in the name of ‘survival.’
Along the way there is plenty of zombie gore and death.
Tufo lacks pacing and substance throughout much of the book. What he does achieve is the creation of a conventional and believable post apocalyptic world. It’s a bit funny, sort of tense, not so clever, moderately creative, and overall pretty enjoyable to escape into.
I have one nitpick with this book, and that is that I repeatedly cringed at many of Tufo’s hamfisted and stereotypical plot devices. I can generally ignore such things for the sake of the overall story arc, but Tufo manages to bog his narrative down with so many unrealistic distractions: the villains in the story are all ‘bad guys’ just for the sake of being ‘bad guys’ and they lack any real motivation; the humor is crude in a ‘lols we all smell like poop’ way, and probably worst of all, the supporting characters are all utter stereotypes without any development or reasoning—we have a Russian henchman whose sole purpose in life is to speak in a thick accent and inject icy intimidation as needed, a pair of weepily woeful lesbian feminazis, and the most facepalmy—a mentally-retarded teenage sidekick with an obsession for Yoohoos and Kit Kat bars.
Runnette just doesn’t convince as a narrator. His monotone ‘old timey’ voice and calm, plodding narration style is charming for more political and scientific fare (I loved him reading ‘The Roots of Obama’s Rage’ and ‘What Einstein Didn't Know’), but he isn’t able to communicate the appropriate levels of suspense, emotion, and sheer horror that a zombie book needs.
In short, this book stands on its own well enough if you have low expectations and don’t take it too seriously. The plot is predictable and straightforward, and because of the way that the author employed standard zombie conventions and emotions, it is easy to get into the minds of the characters and enjoy—at least surficially—the world that Tufo has created and the story that he tells. But for the sheer amount of ‘Zomb-Lit’ available nowadays on Audible, I would suggest looking elsewhere within the Horror Pantheon. Zombie Fallout isn’t a classic—it leans more toward ‘Zomb-trash.”
Audible’s member freebies are always hit-or-miss. This one works.
What really makes this listen appealing is the unique and experimental way it was created—short, personal stories are spoken firsthand by real people, not translated and rewritten by a professional author.
The stories themselves are in turn heartwarming, funny, sad, and charming. Always impactful.
If you didn’t get this as a members freebie for Thanksgiving 2012 and are interested in NPR’s StoryCorps program, this piece does not disappoint.
I completely ‘inhaled’ this listen in just a few days. Of course, I am a huge Bruce nut and therefore am probably a bit biased when it comes to how interesting I find this subject matter. For the average listener or those with no previous Springsteen knowledge, I’m afraid the material will come off less cohesively and less interesting. This book was written for the fan who knows Springsteen's entire catalog by heart.
The book recounts a pretty comprehensive history of Springsteen, from his childhood years through to 2012 and the release of Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” album. Certain Springsteen eras are given more treatment than others, particularly the pre-Columbia decade and the Born in the USA years. Other periods are written about more briefly but still include many fascinating factoids and insights into Springsteen’s songwriting process, personal life, and professional accomplishments. It was fascinating for me to hear about the personal frame of mind and professional context that Springsteen was in when he wrote many of his songs—the hits as well as the rarities. The author’s unprecedented access to Springsteen, the E Street Band, and Bruce’s hometown friends, acquaintances, and relatives goes a long way in peeling back the layers of Springsteen to create a biography of a real person with real emotional problems, dreams, and goals--not just the rock superstar known worldwide as a songwriting genius.
Cannavale does a great job narrating. As the author himself testifies at the end of the listen, Cannavale—a New Jersey native and friend of Springsteen—researched thoroughly every character to come up with an appropriate narrating voice. He especially shines on members of the E Street Band, Steve van Zandt, Clarence Clemons, and the Boss himself.
Obviously, fellow Bruce nuts like myself will find this listen fantastic. At this length however, casual fans might be turned off by the commitment required and might consider searching out less daunting works, such as Dave Marsh’s pair of past Springsteen bios.
This short listen follows the tried-and-true mechanics of a contemporary detective story: introduce a crime, follow the lead character through a progressive series of investigative sequences and twists, and conclude with an action-packed climax.
In the vein of Kinsey Milhone and other popular detective series, this story adds nicely to the DD Warren line of books. It’s great for fans of the genre, but due to its short length and easily digestible writing style, I would particularly recommend this to listeners unfamiliar with detective stories who wish to give the genre a try without committing to a longer listen.
You don’t need any previous familiarity with this series to jump straight into the plotline. Characters are introduced without assuming the audience is already familiar with them from previous works. The story serves as an intriguing and exciting standalone work as well as an addition to the overall DD Warren series.
The narrator also performs a fine job, speaking with a strong, assertive, and clear voice that lends well to the main character’s attitudes and actions. Minor characters are narrated in unique voices that avoid over-acting.
Overall, this book is enjoyable and will make you want to listen to other longer novels by this author. If you are unfamiliar with Detective D.D. Warren, then The Seventh Month will whet your appetite for this series.
This is a great little work by Thoreau, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in his catalog, be they a fan of his more popular books (Walden, Civil Disobedience, etc.) or new to the author’s unique and influential prose. The lecture is full of quotable and transcendental nuggets, and Thoreau manages to pull together many diverse topics into a very concise and flowing text; he moves seamlessly from observations about 19th century New England life to transcendental analysis of ancient Rome’s attitudes of nature to commentary on the human anatomy. A brief, insightful listen!
The lecture is full of quotable and transcendental nuggets, and Thoreau manages to pull together many diverse topics into a very concise and flowing text; he moves seamlessly from observations about 19th century New England life to transcendental analysis of ancient Rome’s attitudes of nature to commentary on the human anatomy. A brief, insightful listen!
Content aside, my biggest complaint is with the awful and amateurish quality of the narration. The sound file was never professionally recorded or edited; it is full of constant static, noise interruptions, and clicking sounds every time the narrator pauses or restarts his tape deck. The sound is not balanced, and it is obvious that the narrator did not use professional grade microphones or soundproofing; every time he moves close to or further away from the microphone, the noise level jumps.
Worst of all, the narrator is just plain bad at reading. He speaks with a thick accent and struggles over simple words and sentence structure; what was, I’m sure, originally a flowing and smoothly-given lecture by Thoreau has been turned into a choppy, befuddled listen.
How this ever got approved to sell on this website, I will never know. Now please excuse me while I find some public domain titles to record through my iphone and license to audible.
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