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Reston, VA United States | Member Since 2011

  • 3 reviews
  • 122 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2015

  • Dead Drunk: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse... One Beer at a Time

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Richard Johnson
    • Narrated By Neil Hellegers

    Charlie Campbell was your average, balding, thirty-year-old alcoholic with a dead-end job and a penchant for shambling through life one mistake after another. However, none of that mattered following the sudden arrival of a mysterious sickness that brought with it infected mobs of zombie-like creatures thirsting for the flesh of the living. Trapped in a Chicago apartment the morning after a raucous bachelor party, Charlie and his old fraternity buddies must battle for survival against the cannibalistic horde, a military invasion and their own rampant stupidity.

    Chuck says: "Very Nearly Perfect"
    "Very Nearly Perfect"
    What made the experience of listening to Dead Drunk: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse... One Beer at a Time the most enjoyable?

    The book is a stitch, and could well be subtitled "The American Shaun of the Dead". It is exactly what you think it is from reading the pitch: "The Hangover" with zombies. And that angle could easily lead a lesser writer to a complete train wreck. But Mr. Johnson pulls it off with élan. His characters are the everyman friends we've all had on and off throughout our lives, and their responses to the various scenarios that arise are - blessedly - the reactions I would expect from me and my friends, and not the stuff of heroes. At the same time, Mr. Johnson cuts his characters no slack, and "kills his darlings" with ghoulish delight.

    The humor is sometimes a little sophomore-ish, but that is quite in keeping with the characters, so it works. The "physical comedy", so to speak, is brilliantly detailed by the author; I rarely laugh out loud when reading, but I found myself sustaining lengthy belly-laughing fits more than twice. The scene with the zombie and the mullet is worthy of the Marx Brothers. The ability to convey effective slapstick comedy in prose is the mark of a solid writer.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dead Drunk: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse... One Beer at a Time?

    The first big fight with the zombies when one grabs Russ by the mullet. That whole fight scene is hysterical. The "comic high jinx" are pretty evenly distributed throughout the book.

    Have you listened to any of Neil Hellegers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but he's now on my list, along with Phil Gigante and Wayne June. Mr. Helleger's performance is flawless. He nails the voices for the various character stereotypes without sounding stereotypical. His reading is spirited and engaging, and his sound FX are priceless.

    If you could rename Dead Drunk: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse... One Beer at a Time, what would you call it?


    Any additional comments?

    I don't usually write reviews, because someone else has usually said what I wanted to say, only better. But there were no reviews yet on this a/b when I checked earlier today, and I very much want to encourage Mr. Johnson to Write! Write! Write! In my humble judgment, this book stands right up there with WWZ, Zombie Fallout, etc. It's definitely not "Adam Sandler vs the Zombies" - there's a real zombie story in there, and a very interesting twist on the origins of the plague.

    A solid, thoroughly entertaining first adventure into Zombiedom.

    (PS: When it comes time to make the movie, please remember me as one of the book's first fans on audible - I would love to be a zombie extra!)

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Scary Dead Things: The Tome of Bill, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Rick Gualtieri
    • Narrated By Christopher John Fetherolf
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Bill Ryder, the trash-talking undead geek from Bill the Vampire, is back and about to find himself in a whole new world of side-splitting insanity. One of the most powerful vampires on the planet has given Bill a death sentence. Meanwhile, an immortal princess wants him for an entirely different purpose, one which makes his first issue seem almost preferable. All the while, new and powerful forces have begun to emerge from the shadows around him. Are they friend or foe? Knowing his luck, do you even have to ask?

    Cliff says: "More of the same"
    "What the FRAK is going on, people???"

    I can't stand it! How completely isolated from LIFE do you have to be to NOT know how to pronounce "denizen" and "voila"? Den-ZEE-en and VEE-oh-la??? WTF? And it's not just this one narrator - I've come across this crap in at least *3* other audiobooks! Helloooo? It doesn't appear to be an issue with the text, cuz I've checked the Kindle vers. It CAN'T be the narrator himself - there HAS to be a producer, quality checker, someTHING, right? Holy CRAP, people!

    If nothing else, it's an absolute INSULT to the author(s).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Steven Campbell
    • Narrated By Liam Owen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Hank is a thug. He knows he's a thug. He has no problem with that realization. In his view the galaxy has given him a gift: a mutation that allows him to withstand great deals of physical trauma. He puts his abilities to the best use possible and that isn't by being a scientist. Besides, the space station Belvaille doesn't need scientists. It is not, generally, a thinking person's locale. It is the remotest habitation in the entire Colmarian Confederation. There is literally no reason to be there.

    Thomas Allen says: "A bunch of genres crammed into good fun"
    "A 'Stainless Steel Rat' for the 21st Century!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Hard Luck Hank to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the hard copy, but I think I'd prefer the audio. When I read, everyone tends to sound the same in my head - they all have my voice. When an audiobook is well done, I get the added benefit of the narrator's voice characterizations.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Hard Luck Hank?

    There's pretty much a gem on every "page", but I'll pick the first that comes to mind: the first encounter with the robots - the first time Hank uses his grandfather's pistol. Yeah, you see it coming from a mile away, right down to the melted robot foot, but it's like the Stooges - painfully predictable and yet *still* hilarious.

    Which character – as performed by Liam Owen – was your favorite?

    Hank, hands down. (I love Phil Gigante, but I'd still like to hear Liam do Slippery Jim.) I like the combination of cluelessness and confidence that Mr. Owen manages to embody. Snarky is easy, as is Tough Guy, but this is a subtler and - IMO - more difficult mix. He also has just the right touch with the female characters - not too little, not too much. Another difficult trick to pull off. Liam is now on my short list of narrators to look for, along with Phil Gigante, Wayne June, Mark D. Nelson, Sean Runnette and others of the elite.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes and no. This is true pulp Space Opera - and that's a BIG compliment in my lexicon, buckaroos. While the story moves right along and you want to stay with it simply because it *is* constantly on the move, you also get the feeling you can walk away from it for a minute or a month, and come right back to it like you'd never left. In that respect, again, it reminds me of the Stainless Steel Rat, the Chronicles of Amber (oh, stop whining - Amber was even written in episodes - it's as pulp as it comes!), and Jack Vance's glorious classic, Planet of Adventure.

    Any additional comments?

    I was very pleased to find the text to be "PG-13". I'm no prude, but I get a little tired of gratuitous profanity, another device that can be a crutch for weak writers. Mr. Campbell manages to seamlessly weave what ought to be linguistic anachronisms in a galaxy-spanning culture with pulp sci-fi expletives like "Who the Void are you?" Good dialog doesn't have to sound like The Great Gatsby - it just needs to flow, and Steven achieves this in spades. One of the reasons I gave the story a 4-star is because it *is* basically a pulp adventure. No one expected Star Wars to win an Oscar for best screenplay, but I bet more people can quote it than Gone with the Wind. Nor does Mr. Campbell overburden the text with made-up "space lingo", another gimmick that can - and all too often does - fall flat on its face. He has fun with personal names and species designations, but doesn't "frak" things up, if you get my drift...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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