The infection has begun, ravaging the American Southwest and leaving chaos in its wake. In this new world, there will be no last meal, no dying wish. The only reward left is to survive another day...
This bundle contains the first four books in the Contamination post-apocalyptic zombie series:
©2012 - 2013 T.W. Piperbrook (P)2014 T.W. Piperbrook
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
Book zero starts and the reader is looking into the life of Dan, a police officer, who wants nothing more than to get home to his family. Little does he know that he and the rest of the town are in for a really big ordeal.
The audio for book one was amazing. The narrator was perfect and paced his words with enough pauses so my mind could wrap around the imagery. As I listened to Dan discovering his wife, just sitting in a chair, neither talking or averting her eyes, I knew something serious was going to happen, I just didn’t know when. Fortunately for Dan, he had his spidey skills working and knew something was amiss. Unfortunately for Dan he did not know his wife was about to go all crazy up in their dining room. She did have the presence of mind to lock their daughter into her bedroom before she went all crazy zombie (not zombie though, just crazy). The narration was seriously spot on for this. There was enough intensity but enough curiosity in Troy Duran’s voice that it was like watching a movie. You know something is going to happen by all the dang clues but you don’t know how or when!
What’s weird is I really do not know what these people are. We do find out that it’s an experiment on the town and how it is happening but not why. Book one ends on a massive cliff hanger, but not before lots of people get their guts ripped out. I only know that the people behind this “experiment” must be sadistic bastards because this was intense!
Book two starts with some new characters. Same great narration and audio. Story lacks a bit of something that book one had. Maybe the intensity and the introduction is now over so it’s missing something. Still fantastic. I’m curious if the characters from book one are going to show up somewhere later in the series. I’m really hoping readers aren’t introduced to characters that mean nothing to the overall story, but this is horror so it would not surprise me. Overall this one didn’t have enough oomph but still solid for a beginning to the story.
Definitely do not read book three, Crossroads, without the others. You need the beginning character set ups to understand what is going on. Not much set up is in this because the characters are already explained in the previous books, in detail. The overall pacing has picked up, and there were already parts where it was crazy! There are some slower portions where the characters catch their breath before they have yet another issue to deal with!
Overall the stories are amazing. I’m very glad I got to listen to the first few one after another. Made for a great read.
If you don’t like “zombies” that run, this may not be for you. I pictured this like that Crazies movie. Again, narration and audio was spot on!
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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Todd W. Brown
It is always a difficult prospect when you read the works of your peers. You "know" them and they "know" you through various circles and crossed paths. So, when I picked up T.W. Piperbrook's Contamination Box Set, I did so knowing that I might have to hurt some feelings. Thankfully, that is not the case.
I found this series to be entertaining. Perfect? No. But very little is in the world of zombie fiction. What works for one may not do so for another. My rule is that I have to be honest, despite what might result because of it. (The Indie scene can be a nasty place for those not in the know.)
Here is what REALLY worked for me. For one, this was not standard zombie fare. This had a story as to why, and it was definite and (mostly) plausible. It has some elements of a conspiracy theorist's wet dream. Evil government plot, delusions of grandeur. All that good stuff to make you mistrust the government. The story did not rely heavily on gore, but rather on real(-ish) people who, for the most part (more on that in a sec) act normal and have real feelings and emotions. They were not all "Hey, it's the apocalypse, so we can just switch over to where killing people even if they are bad is an okay thing."
On the down side, the "evil" government types were a mix of ruthless killers with a plan and the Keystone Kops. They fell victim to being a bit cliche and reminded me a little too much of "Rhodes" from the Romero "Day of the Dead". I would have been more impressed if the bad guys won in this one. It reminded me of when I saw "Predator" in the theaters. If Arnold would have died in the end instead of surviving the atomic blast, it would have been an all-time classic instead of just another 80s action flick.
Overall, this story has some great elements and is worth the time to pick up and sink into for a while. The narration sometimes gets a bit much when Mr. Duran is trying to "shout" or sound excited. However, when he is simply telling the story, his voice is velvety smooth.
Note that this review is for the first 4 books (0-3) in the series as I listened to them as one big long story. I will try to avoid spoilers.
The contamination started in the American Southwest, and Book 0 (St. Matthews) opens in a small town (St. Matthews) in Arizona. Dan Lowery is a police officer in this small town and as the contamination spreads, the violence escalates. Pretty soon he feels he must get to his wife and daughter, see them safe, before he can do anything further to help the townspeople. However, there is an organized force working against any would-be rescuers.
Book 1 (The Onset) takes place in New Mexico, some of it in a nearly abandoned village (White Mist) and the rest in places such as Albuquerque. Sam Cooke continues on as the last remaining resident of White Mist when the contamination strikes. Meanwhile, two college kids just finished moving a couple to Albuquerque when they come upon a messy car wreck and the surviving woman, Delta.
In Book 2 (Crossroads), the two bands from the first two books come together at an old junk yard. These folks start to piece together what they know and guess about what they don’t. They also have to make choices about what to do next.
Book 3 (Wasteland) finds that our band has suffered yet more losses. One young man feels the need to see if his family, who live in the Pacific Northwest, are still alive. Meanwhile, Sam and Delta feel they need to track down the rumored source of the contamination in Salt Lake City, UT.
Sam & Delta were my favorite characters in the series (so far). Sam lost his family to a fire and Delta lost her father to prison. Their relationship starts off complex and moves into something close to platonic camaraderie. Also, Delta is the only adult female we get to spend quality time with in the series (there are 2 or 3 other ladies referred to but they die too soon to get to know, and then there is one female kid). Despite her being the token female for the story, she holds her own well, having plenty to offer the reader in character depth. I am hoping that the author chooses to add more ladies to the story as it moves forward as he can clearly write them. I do have to mention that occasionally, our characters were slow to learn, like trusting strangers a little to easily even weeks after the initial outbreak. While these were the weak points in the plot, I was able to forgive them as the stupidity of the characters moved the plot forward.
The plotline had hints of other same-genre books, such as Stephen King’s The Stand. Couple this with the Southwest setting, and I felt right at home from the beginning. It is an easy story to jump into and enjoy. While certain elements were a little predictable, there were other twists (such as the initial relationship between Delta and Sam) that I didn’t see coming at all. It was a good mix. The AZ/NM setting was enough for folks to get an idea of the expanse of the country; however, I felt it lacked the ethnic diversity we have.
Now let me talk about the bad guys. Oh! The baddies! I loved hating on these guys and they were pretty fascinating too. Each was into this organized, purposeful contamination for their own reasons, and several felt they were indeed heroes. I loved the amount of detail that went in to some of them – their reasons, their backstories. It definitely made the plot a bit more grey, gave the reader pause when deciding which team to get behind.
Narration: Troy Duran did a good job with this book. Each of his male characters had a distinct voice and he had a variety of contaminated undead (nearly dead?) voices also (and I would count this a talent). While the ladies were slimly represented, he did a good job with them also. I felt his strongest voices went to the maniacal bad guys when they waxed eloquent about world domination.
Ignorance is the enemy of peace.
I was a little apprehensive after reading the initial reviews. However, the story was captivating and I didn't stop until I'd finished it. The narrator's southern drawl actually made the setting more believable.
This is one on my favorite series as the author tracks you through the last days of the south western America. This isn't your typical zombie apocalypse and the characters add depth to the story.
Yes, it was a good book and since I listen to audiobooks at work and I'm sure there are parts where I missed something.
The narrator did an amazing job with the story. I really liked how this was an original story and I wouldn't have imagined the way the infected become sick. I've already recommended it to friends and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
Being that this is my first venture into audiobooks this is definitely a 5 star rating. It is seamless and flows just like reading the book. I tend to get absorbed in the world and characters.
My most memorable moment while listening to the audiobook was my loss of time. I have learned that I can not listen to this at work while trying to work because I am unable to work.
I can not narrow down one character because they are all so good. Tony Duran does an excellent job at portraying each character and the situations they are in.
Contamination: The Turn to Chaos
T.W. Piperbrook is absolutely brilliant. His take on this genre is a one of a kind and with each book the characters get deeper and more robust. I look forward to more from him and the continuation of Contamination.
Oh yes!.. I have read the book, and I have now listened to the boxed set.. This is a very good book.. why would I not want to listen to it again ?
Ohh.. tough question! Why have 1 favorite.. when there are several characters that are favorites.. but, IF I had to choose one, I think it would be Quinn...
His voice was crisp and clear, and easy on the ears. When needed ..he gave the right difference of his reading for .. ' what's next ' scene, or when something good was going to happen, or even at a sad moment in the book.
It would need to be Dan .. take him out to dinner, ( though he may be skeptical to want to eat .. considering.. ) and ask him all about his feelings, his thoughts about his surviving and knowing who to trust, in a time of chaotic confusion from those who has caused this Contamination.
I am new to Audible books, and I have really enjoyed my copy of this audible-book from Mr. Piperbrook. He is a fantastic author! But he, as well as other authors, that has started publishing audible books, could now say, that they are a blessing to those people that may have reading problems, such as poor sight, or even do not know how to read that well.. to be able to listen to a book, can make such a wonderful difference for them now.
So thank you Mr. Piperbrook, and all the other authors.. as well as Amazon's Audible for making this happen.
Lots action! I really enjoyed Troy Duran performance, he made the characters alive. Also, this is the first, fairly long, audio book that took me a little over 2 days to get through--since the story is interesting and well paced, it kept moving forward.
I've been on a Zombie apocalypse binge this year. Let me know if you've read any really good ones not on my list.
I have to preface this review by noting that I got all three Contamination books for 99 cents in an Audible special. With that in mind, it was well worth the price. On the up side the monsters in the story are novel, the main characters are interesting and the story follows an entertaining if predictable path. Piperbrook is good at depth and back story for his protagonists, unfortunately he tends to add this at odd moments, like right in the middle of action sequences we are taken back to review someones history. There are also several leaps of cognition by the characters that are hard to accept & frustrating since it likely would have made the story better to give them a chance to figure things out on their own. The first sequence, which is overall well done, is tarnished when the main character decides that there is an invasion of monsters based on a single encounter with what would more logically be initially identified as a deranged man in his store. Lots of examples of the "why would they do that?" variety. The main villian has some depth but ends up being more like a Dr Evil charicature. The henchmen end up being more like SciFi movie charicatures (ie although supposedly well trained militia men they can't hit any targets and get themselves killed by idiotic tactics).
That said, its not a bad listen in the zombie apocalypse vein if you are stuck in the car for a while. Troy Duran as narrator is also a plus.
Glad I bought this one, enjoyed the story, narration was very good.
Going to get the next books in the series.
Interesting take on the whole zombie thing with a man made virus being released turning most of the population in the infected areas in to fast, vicious, somewhat intelligent undead.
"OK if you allow for liberties"
If you like the end of the world genre this is an ok fix. But you must allow for certain liberties from the author. No cars has radios that can play anything by music, and generally government and media is totally absent, and cities decay decades in days, for instance. So do not overthink, and it is enjoyable.
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