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Melanie

NC, US
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 17
  • helpful votes
  • 6
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  • The Scattered and the Dead, Book 1

  • A Post-Apocalyptic Series
  • By: Tim McBain, L.T. Vargus
  • Narrated by: Tim McBain, L.T. Vargus
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 170
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 157
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 157

With 99.7% of the Earth's population dead and gone, the few who remain struggle to survive in an empty world. The scattered. The leftovers. Meet Mitch, a father infected with the zombie virus. He knows he has 24 hours until he turns. Maybe a little more if he's lucky. He's been a half-assed father. Checked out. Distracted. Can he find a path to redemption in his final hours? Can he make sure his kids are taken care of before time runs out?

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Felt like something was missing

  • By DeeDee on 03-28-17

You're going to stay up late listening to this

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-08-19

I'm so impressed with this book. I've read almost all of Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus' books now, and they're consistently so good. If you have a kindle unlimited membership then you know that there are a few big name books like the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games, but for the most part you're stuck with a crapshoot to find something that won't suck. This book makes the subscription worth paying for, it is so good. Not to mention the audiobooks are INCLUDED?!!??!! I actually will go out on a limb and say that this book is comparable to The Stand by Stephen King in terms of just how damn good it is. It's apocalyptic like The Stand, and it has a lot of characters over time and space like The Stand, and it scared the s*** out of me like The Stand. I'm a hardcore Stephen King fan and I don't say this lightly. This book is amazing. The writing is so good that you never ever stop to analyze it, except occasionally to marvel at how well written it actually is. It's so well written that you lose yourself almost immediately in the story and the characters, and you forget that you're listening to a pretty substantial book. It's scary. I had physical symptoms of anxiety pretty much throughout the book. I got so into it that I stayed up late reading, took breaks throughout the day every chance I could to read some more, and forgot all about Facebook and the other daily time-wasters while I was reading it. I am convinced that these writers are going to be on par with The King in terms of the high level of quality they bring to the horror genre, and also in how prolific they already are. They've written close to ten (how many now? 30??) books already at least, and they're producing high quality books at a rapid pace. Keep your eyes on these two, you're going to see a lot more where this came from in the near future. I liked this book so much I'm reading it again, and listening to the fantastic audio versions! I can't wait for the next book in this series.

If you're burned out on the zombie genre, this book will cure what ails you. Yes there are zombies, but they're sort of a backdrop to create a world for the characters to live in. This book definitely qualifies as a "less is more" lesson. The zombies are a constant reality, but the book isn't really about zombies. And somehow, having them constantly lurking around the edge of your awareness makes it even more stressful when other things are happening, because you always have this sense of how quickly they could lurch back into view. These authors don't rely on flashy chase scenes or gross-out gags to keep your attention because they don't have to. They draw you in and cast a spell on you, ad before you know it it's 3 am and you're having a minor panic attack and you're also thinking deep thoughts about what exactly you're doing with your life, and about your own mortality.

  • Dead End Girl

  • Violet Darger, Book 1
  • By: L.T. Vargus, Tim McBain
  • Narrated by: Kate Marcin
  • Length: 16 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 679
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 590
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 593

A serial killer stalks women in rural Ohio. He is deranged but brilliant, known only by the grotesque nickname the media has given him - The Doll Parts Killer. The name is apt. He dismembers his victims and leaves them in garbage bags in public places. A residential neighborhood. Next to a roller rink. Behind a Burger King. The investigation is a disaster. No physical evidence. Unreliable witnesses. To make matters worse, the FBI has lost contact with the star profiler working the case.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exciting Thriller

  • By Tami Buhl Dallos Wells on 06-16-17

You think your job is stressful?

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-08-19

I was reading another book when I started this book. I didn't mean to read it right away, I just wanted to see what it was like. Four hours later I was in bed and should have been asleep for three of those hours and I couldn't sleep. So maybe don't start this book at bedtime...lol. It's a page turner, I didn't notice how long this book is until I finished it.

This book reminds me of some of my favorite books in the crime thriller genre - Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, The Collector by John Fowles, the Mr. Mercedes trilogy by Stephen King, and of course Silence of the Lambs. It's not a glimpse...it's a good long look inside the mind of a killer. It's fast paced, it's scary, and it's satisfying.

I love Violet Darger. She has the most stressful job imaginable. Not just because she has to catch a killer, but also because she's a woman working almost exclusively with men, and she has to prove herself every day. I love how she's an expert profiler, but she's also a human being with anxieties who says the wrong things sometimes and wrestles with self doubt. And I identify with her because aren't all women natural born detectives? We can analyze a situation to death and we can usually sniff out people's motives, but we always get caught trusting the wrong person because we feel for them, or saying the wrong thing in the heat of the moment because we are personally invested in the situation.

Don't we all have a grim fascination with the horror of what people are actually capable of? Remember when you first heard about somebody like Ed Kempter or Ted Bundy? Women live with the very real possibility of being stalked, assaulted, or murdered by someone they know every day. And we know that. But even knowing that we sometimes still trust the wrong person. We have all thought about what we think we would do in a situation like that. But you just never know until it happens to you, do you?

What's inside the mind of a killer? We all feel powerless sometimes. We all want to feel a sense of control. Some of us would go much further to assert that control than others, though. Some of us would kill for it.

Everybody is talking about a series and I have to say I had the exact same thought, like what happens to Violet Darger next? I can't wait to find out. Dead End Girl would make a great movie or TV series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Killing Season

  • Violet Darger FBI Thriller Book 2
  • By: Tim McBain, L.T. Vargus
  • Narrated by: Kate Marcin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160

Two days. Fourteen dead. The next victim could be you. The first bullet punches through the windshield of an SUV. A head shot. The driver's death is instantaneous. And it's only the beginning. A sniper along I-20 kills eight and causes a 36 car pileup. Brutal. Efficient. The next morning, the same individual stalks through a grocery store parking lot with a handgun. He takes out six innocent shoppers along with the store's front window before fleeing without a trace. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book.

  • By Donna C on 12-14-18

blood is thicker than water

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-08-19

I was actually in Atlanta when I was reading this book, which was a little...stressful. I remember the D.C. snipers. The thing about a sniper is that you don't know if they're targeting you, so it makes you really paranoid. They could be anywhere. You're just driving down the road, and BOOM that's it, lights out. You pretty much have to hole up in a cabin in the woods to feel even a little bit safer. And still, you never know. Even with family. It's not safe anywhere.

Brotherly love isn't usually gentle, is it? Sometimes a brother's love hurts. Sometimes it's not love, but what else can you call the bond that makes you come back for more, even when you know what's going to happen is going to hurt? It could be the guilt that makes you bend to his will. Or it could be a broken bone, or a broken home. Either way you can't fight the blood in your veins any more than you can fight your own nature.

Violet Darger gets up close and personal with family in Killing Season, and while she has to accept that she can't control everything, she does manage to open up to the people close to her. She could use more of that. She might be an outsider, but even outsiders need friends. And vacations.

But fortunately for us, it doesn't look like she's going to get much time off. She is always getting caught in the crossfire. It takes a strong woman to stop a psychopath. I hope she's strong enough.

Speaking of getting closer to people, I feel like I'm getting to know Violet Darger and Victor Loshak like family. I'm getting pretty attached to them. So I'm glad to hear there's another book in the pipes already!

This is a great series, and the active fan base means the authors are basically being harassed into writing more books for us because we demand them! I love that about good writers. You can break their legs and lock them in a room in your cabin and force them to write for you. It's probably my favorite part about being their biggest fan.

So yeah, if you're an avid reader and you really like being freaked out and love thrillers, or horror, or just really good writing with characters you will never forget, you should check these authors out. They're deeply disturbed individuals who also happen to be chained to a desk in my guest bedroom. I mean, who also happen to be really entertaining people who write scary, fast-paced, deeply disturbing fiction. So if you're into that, check this and all their books out. I'll make sure they work around the clock to deliver what we all want, which is more of books like this! Can I get an amen? I have never seen anybody eat pizza like these two. And I've had to set up automatic delivery of Cool Ranch Doritos and Skittles. But it's all worth it, when I get another Violet Darger book. We all have to make sacrifices for our art.

Violet is about to find out that sometimes getting close to family can be explosive. Sometimes it blows up in your face.

You know, another thing about brothers is that you would give anything for them, if it meant you could save them. Or you would kill for them. Or you would kill yourself to get away for them. Or you would kill them. I guess it depends on what kind of brother you have.

  • The Last Victim

  • A Violet Darger Novella
  • By: L. T. Vargus, Tim McBain
  • Narrated by: Kate Marcin
  • Length: 1 hr and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

New crimes lead FBI profiler Victor Loshak to revisit former scenes and witnesses in the Las Vegas area. The evidence suggests the return of a notorious and brutal serial killer from years ago - the one who got away. Loshak conceals his work from his partner, Violet Darger, and tries desperately to stay one step ahead of both her and the murderer. Leonard Stump is back. Maybe. And things are about to get so much worse. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Survivor's Guilt

  • By Melanie on 02-08-19

Survivor's Guilt

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-08-19

This teaser is a great setup for the next Violet Darger novel. It’s just enough to whet your appetite. It provides a background for who the infamous serial killer Leonard Stump is and introduces you to Claire Garcia, my new favorite woman next to Violet Darger. I can’t wait for the next book! I can tell already that I’m going to burn through it in a few days based on this prequel.

  • The Scattered and the Dead Series: The First Four Books

  • Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
  • By: Tim McBain, L.T. Vargus
  • Narrated by: Christopher Boucher
  • Length: 37 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 265
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 248
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 246

With 99.7 percent of the Earth's population dead and gone, the few who remain struggle to survive in an empty world. The scattered. The leftovers. These are their stories. This collection contains the first four volumes of the Scattered and the Dead series, audiobooks 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Tense, thrilling apocalyptic series

  • By Melanie on 02-08-19

Tense, thrilling apocalyptic series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-08-19

This is a great post-apocalyptic zombie survival series! I usually stick to authors that I know because I hate bad writing, so it took some convincing for me to try these new authors I had never heard of. I'm so glad I gave them a chance! I love their books and it's really cool how prolific they are, because I regularly have a new book to read. This series is deeply disturbing, complex, scary, exciting - everything you want in a story about the end of the world. I love the characters, and I love seeing them develop over time. This series has kept me up late on many nights already and I'm looking forward to more sleepless nights with them. I've started listening to the audio books now after already reading the books, and I love the narrators and the experience of getting the story in this format! And I'm getting more out of the story that I missed on my first reading. Great series!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Image in a Cracked Mirror

  • A Violet Darger Novella
  • By: L.T. Vargus, Tim McBain
  • Narrated by: Kate Marcin
  • Length: 1 hr and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 41

A family has been massacred in their home, a display of violence both brutal and bizarre. The details prove curious - not only are the bodies savaged way beyond anything found at a normal murder scene, every mirror in the house has been shattered. The spectacle shocks a peaceful island community, and when local police turn to the FBI for assistance, Agent Violet Darger finds herself working another harrowing crime scene. She stares, once more, into the abyss, and mankind's warped reflection stares back.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What does the image in a cracked mirror signify?

  • By Melanie on 01-21-18

What does the image in a cracked mirror signify?

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-21-18

This novella is a great segway to the next book in the series, fleshing out Darger and Loshak's relationship and hinting at something lurking under the surface to come...

I've re-read and listened to this several times, looking for hints that gave away the killer. I didn't spot him the first time. Hindsight is 20/20 though, so maybe I'll be better at spotting the next one.

This is a brutal little book. Not for the squeamish. You've been warned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful