Mark has always been a bit of a vagabond. Born in Washington, raised in California he joined the Coast Guard after high school. His first assignment after boot camp was as the driver for the admiral of PACAREA in San Francisco. After a short stay working at a LORAN station, he went for a cruise on a 378´ cutter in the Bering Sea, then onto aviation where he was a crewman of both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft in Texas. After four years in the Coast Guard, he worked security, first guarding MX nuclear missiles, then at a nuclear power plant in California. Eventually he went to college in Wisconsin, only to drop out after meeting his future wife. He went on to finish college at 36 and own a Miracle Ear franchise. He went into publishing for a short time before becoming an information systems specialist. He currently splits his time between West (by God) Virginia and Surfside Beach, SC.
on June 28, 2016 :
This is a short, action packed prequel to the novel Family Reunion. It follows several characters who are travelling across America to a family reunion just as a flu type virus brings on the zombie apocalypse.
Ryan is on a Puget Sound ferry when the outbreak begins and is trapped by zombies everywhere. I liked him instantly because he is terrified to the point of panic and physically wetting himself. He is also vomiting at the sight of mauled bodies which is also a believable reaction for an ordinary man. I liked that realism in the character. It was nice to see a male character so scared instead of being big and brave. He is close to the meeting point for the family and tries to keep in touch with brother Max. Max is at the airport to collect his stepdaughter Lisa but the military have quarantined the building, leaving Mike to find a way in as Lisa tries to find a way out.
I liked the switching POV of these three characters as we followed the different problems they had-Max dealing with jittery soldiers, Lisa dealing with pervert airport workers and zombies, and Ryan dealing with more zombies than he can handle. It keeps the action non stop and the tension high and I felt that for it being a short story, it kept you interested and you cared what happened to these three people.
My very slight niggle is that the characters don't want to use the word zombie to describe the infected. We seem to get lots of novels that call them all kinds of strange variations. In this book, zombies are called 'zekes'. I don't get it personally...I mean, 'zombies' was good enough for the likes of Romero! For me, if it is trying to eat your brains, it'a zombie! Seriously, that's just my preference and makes no difference to me in the story!
I am very interested in going on to read the first novel in the series which follows all of the family who are making the journey, hoping to find each other safe and sound. I think this series has great potential and I'm excited to read it!
(review of free book)