First Time Dead 2

Rated 4.33/5 based on 6 reviews
The legions of the undead continue to grow.
First Time Dead proudly presents a host of brand new names to the genre pantheon. Each writer contained herein might be the next “it” writer on the rise…the one to watch for. You never know where the next Romero, Kirkman, Brooks, Keene, or Wellington may emerge to scare and entertain the masses.

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Finney Cooper reviewed on on March 22, 2011

A great collection of zombie stories. No two were the same.

In This House I Dwell - I don't think I could have stuck it out as long as the main character. It's got a great love story twist to it.

Zombie Bites - I could see this in my mind. It would make a great movie. You might even be able to manage a sequel. Definitely a cliff hanger for an ending though.

Ooky - One of the most memorable. All I can say is Euw.

Once More Without Feelings - had a great 50s feel to it. I climbed right into the story and danced along with the song.

Snow Days - Great characters. A lot of bad guys are flat, but I've know people like Paul, and the description of him made me want to smack him myself.

Last Legacy - If I had a choice, that's where I'd want to be during the zombie apocalypse.

The Mission - Losing teeth is a definite attention grabber. Ugh. Great Climax.

Hungriest Zombie - I so hoped Ed would make it.

Rude Awakening - The title says it all. It doesn't have the typical "and then I woke up." Ending. Thank you!

Zombie By Night - I loved the diary entries. The interaction between the brother and the killer is quite believeable.

What the Cat Dragged In - This story has made me think twice before petting stray cats that wander into the yard.

Buy the book, rent the movie, eat the cereal. But whatever you do, don't drink the Kool-aid.
(reviewed 37 days after purchase)
Nikolai Svakhin reviewed on on March 13, 2011

Zombies: love them or hate them, they are here to stay!.. This is the reality of this book: a collection of short stories from different authors. They are all different, yet most of them offering a glimpse into a life of a group of survivors, and their efforts to deal with the dire state of things.

What I like about those stories is that they, like any quality work of fiction, illustrate the
strength of human spirit when faced with something unimaginable and horrific. The point
of those, in my opinion, is to scare us not just for pure thrill, but to teach us the strength and humanity's will to survive. And in the end, even when it's not explicitly stated, there's always hope.

So, if you are brave enough to dive into the various zombie apocalypse scenarios, this book will do a good job of pulling you in!
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
Michael Evans reviewed on on March 9, 2011

Have you ever found an author that you like? Somebody who has been publishing for awhile, somebody who has a back list but who is entirely new to you? You absolutely love this author and wish you had discovered them earlier because now you have so much to catch up on. Wouldn't it have been great if you had been able to get in on the ground floor, so to speak. Well, here's your chance. First Time Dead is a two volume zombie anthology published by May December Publications and edited by TW Brown. All of the stories contained between the covers have been written by first-time authors. Now before you go rolling your eyes, let me say this. . . I was impressed. And for me to say that about a collection of short stories. . . Well, if you've read my past reviews, you know how much I dread them because they are usually inconsistent.

I mentioned that First Time Dead is a two-volume anthology; however, please note that I am only going to be covering Volume 2 in this review, which gets off to a kick-ass start with "In This House I Dwell" by Ron Harris. The zombie apocalypse is already underway when the story opens, and Harris' tale of survival of a man and his wife veers from the norm because some of the zombies are evolving, regaining the ability to speak, think, and reason. But is there something darker at work here?

DA Chaney explores the possible origins of the outbreak with "Zombie Bites: The Old Dead", combining the decaying zombies we all know and love with a hint of the more traditional zombies of The Islands.

With "Ooky" Matthew R. Davis paints a classic portrait of adolescent one-upmanship as a young couple pass regaling each other with past sexual exploits. While the zombie action is low in this one, the story itself proves to be one you won't quickly forget.

Joe Blevins' "Once More Without Feelings" does not deal with the zombie apocalypse, which we have come to expect with zombie anthologies, but delves more into Voodoo idealogy. Blevins proves that when you got it, you got it, even when you're dead.

Donny Chavez shows us what a "day in the life" of a handful of survivors must be like in "Snow Days". Of all the stories, this is one that I feel could very easily be expanded upon. It has the same feel to it as The Walking Dead.

Alexandro Rios offers up a more analytical view of the outbreak in "Zombies in Puerto Rico: Island of the Dead," in which an ex-reporter witness and blogs about the breakout as it occurs.

"The Last Legacy" by Amanda Larson focuses on a mother and her two children who decide to stay in their remote island home, literally cut off from the outside world, and how the community pulls together to survive the outbreak.

Eric Pollarine's "The Mission" takes us underground, as the survivors of the zombie apocalypse take to the sewers and underground tunnels. This is one of the most desolate stories in this volume, as it shows the hopelessness of the "new world", that not matter what you do to survive, eventually you will be joining the ranks of the walking dead.

Jason Thacker takes a more comic approach to the zombie tale with "The Hungriest Zombie" as he tells his tale from the zombie's point of view. This is the first zombie story I've come across where, between the chuckles, I actually felt sorry for the zombie.

"Rude Awakening" by David Maynard is a heartbreaking tale of a father losing his family one by one to the outbreak. The ending of this tale is chilling and memorable.

In "Zombie by Night" Aaron Phillips takes a unique experimental approach to the zombie theme that has a vampiric feel to it as he tells of a man's search for his brother's murderer.

Gregory A. Carter is the only author to have the zombie affliction spread to the animal population in "What the Cat Dragged In". It's a story of love, loss, despair, and hopelessness as a young couple prepares to flee the city for what they hope will be a safer area.

While not all the stories in First Time Dead Volume 2 will be for everybody (and that can be said about every anthology), there's no denying the talent that exists between the covers of this collection. The stories are well crafted and well written, and if you are a fan of zombie fiction, I would highly recommend checking it out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
John Lemut reviewed on on March 8, 2011

I've been disappointed recently, and saddened, by a couple anthologies featuring zombie stories by numerous well-known authors. I found myself bored by the majority of them.

"First Time Dead 2" is a tight 220 pages with a dozen tales by first-time published authors and it has just about everything I could hope for in a book about the undead:

1: No vampires.
2: Lots of gory description.
3: (Almost) No voodoo zombies.
4: A good variety of situations and approaches.

I won't go over each story (Stuart Cooper's review did that very well); I'll just briefly mention a few of my favorites.

Voodoo zombies are weak, but "Once More without Feelings" by Joe Blevins was so well-written, it turned out to be one of my favorites in the collection despite a little bit of voodoo action.

"The Mission" by Eric Pollarine was way cool. I want more.

"The Hungriest Zombie" by Jason Thacker reminds us all of the horrors of gingivitis.

"Ooky" by Matthew R. Davis is quite possibly the perfect zombie short story: sexy, gross, funny, and memorable.

"The Last Legacy" by Amanda Larson struck me as more of a cautionary tale. Despite not actually having any zombie encounters, I found it very compelling.

This was the most consistently good anthology I've had the pleasure to read in a long time. Fans of the genre should find plenty to sink their teeth into, and there's something wonderfully reciprocal about the potential for first time zombie readers devouring these stories from first time authors.

And, you know, there's another "First Time Dead" volume: Volume 1. Check them both out... if you dare!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Chantal Boudreau reviewed on on Feb. 27, 2011

The problem with reviewing an anthology is that if it is well-assembled with a broad selection of styles and a variety of approaches, some of the stories will really grab you while some will only mildly entertain you. I gave the anthology a five star rating because from my perspective, all of the stories were well written and the full spectrum of the zombie horror sub-genre was addressed, but some of the stories did appeal to me more than others. I have no preference between the dumb shamblers and the smart fast zombies , but I do prefer a building of suspense, a focus on the human condition, and if it is appropriate to the particular story, an element of humour (I personally think zombies are hilarious). I know other lovers of the genre want instant action, in your face stories with lots of shock value and gore – not so much my cup of tea. However, this anthology has something for everyone.

Picking favourites is difficult for me, because several of the stories struck a chord with me, but there were a few that got me particularly excited.

Ooky by Matthew R. Davis – I loved this one for several reasons; it piqued my curiosity from the start and offered a quirky, sexy twist to the zombie story. It was funny enough to make me laugh out loud (that doesn’t happen often when I’m reading.)

Once More without Feelings by Joe Blevins – This one really captured that human condition element as well as the flavour of a different era. It also had a touch of humour.

The Hungriest Zombie by Jason Thacker – The way it read like a nature documentary was really clever, and once again, good dark humour.

There were a few others I have to commend for a good demonstration of sentiment and solid writing, including: Last Legacy by Amanda Larson, The Mission by Eric Pellerine, Zombie by Night by Aaron Phillips and Rude Awakening by David Maynard.

If you love zombies, you can’t go wrong by picking up this anthology.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)
Dane Grannon reviewed on on Feb. 15, 2011

This is an excellent collection of stories by first time published authors. The stories examine various aspects of what the zombie outbreak means to a variety of people while expanding and redefining the mythos of zombies.

In "In This House I Dwell" by Ron Harris, the coming of the undead are tied to an otherly world event. A very likable man struggles against a world of despair. In the climatic scene, he enters the eternal battle to save the woman he loves. The religious overtones in this story are very well done.

"Zombie Bites : The Old Dead" by D.A. Chaney examines the origins of the outbreak. The reader is placed at ground zero. This very well done story is constructed in a classic short story fashion. Nice pacing and no wasted scenes highlight this story. The gripping beginning is masterfully echoed in the end. The cause of the outbreak is something that I'd never seen before. This is my favorite of the book.

"Ooky" by Matthew E. Davis certainly lives up to the title. Two young survivors console and amuse each other by telling a particular exploit. This story is definitely rated a strong PG-13. The imagery will stick with me for a long time.

"Once More Without Feelings" by Joe Blevins is the most classical zombie story that I'd read to that point. It examines zombies from a very different perspective than the current trend of zombie plagues. This tale harkens back to the zombie tales of New Orleans. The fault here is that it starts rather slowly. It is still my second favorite.

"Snow Days" by Donny Chavez is an excellent snapshot of life during the height of the outbreak. This story doesn't provide much opportunity for character growth but as a snapshot, I found it more than satisfactory. Regina is a remarkable main character. I hope to see her in more stories.

"Zombies in Puerto Rico: Island of the Dead" by Alexandro Rios details the problems faced by the larger islands when confronted by the zombie outbreak. The slow loss of everything is highlighted in a newspaper story style. The main character is a journalist and the author effectively renders the story in that consistent manner. It reminds me of World War Z in presentation. I understand that the style is deliberately detached, but I prefer more emotional involvement with the characters.

"The Last Legacy" by Amanda Larson is another island story. In this story, the protagonist writes a journal describing the events and struggles of the people. There is a notable lack of zombies. This is an excellent idea that I feel would be better served in a longer format. Instead of telling me the story, show it to me. This intriguing story does the best job of world building in the collection.

I approached "The Mission" by Eric Pollarine with high expectations after having read his excellent story "A Man of Letters". I was not disappointed. This story showed why May December Publications went ahead and published "A Man of Letters". Excellent description, fast action, and a dead one examination of the effect of killing a zombie has on the psyche of an "everyman" make this well worth reading. The characters' psychological breakdown is mirrored in their physical condition. Great Job Eric.

I may be weird -- no strike that -- I am weird but I found "The Hungriest Zombie" by Jason Pracker to be an amusing and heart warming tale. The author managed to make me feel sympathy for a zombie. The "scary" scenes appear to be deliberately written to pull a laugh from the reader. I read this one twice.

"Rude Awakening" by David Maynard is the exact opposite in tone from its predecessor. The author does an excellent job showing us the destruction of a man. Sharp images and intense emotions make this story one that the reader will not forget. As a parent, this one hit me really hard.

"Zombie by Night" by Aaron Phillips expands the zombie mythos in ways that I'd never considered. Can a flesh-eating monster be a "good guy"? This story sets up a world where your new neighbor might be more than he seems. And, of course, revenge is a dish best served warm and bloody.

"What the Cat Dragged In" by Gregory A. Carter continues the theme of a family undergoing destruction. A young couple struggles to survive in a world where humans aren't the only zombies. My only lament was that the two main characters sounded too much alike. Even considering that, this is an excellent story. I felt the main character's loss as he embraced the end.

This is an outstanding collection that I am proud to have read. My hat's off to the writers.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
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