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.
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.
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.
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!)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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