In the Time of the Dead
Genre: Horror/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Severed Press
Date of Publication: April 11, 2014
Number of pages: 310
Word Count: 113,000
Cover Artist: David Monette
A handful of survivors claw out a life amid the ruins of the world, all the while fighting the zombie hordes.
In Northern New York State, three uncommon allies lead one of these bands in this epic struggle as they learn both the strengths and weaknesses of their enemies… and of themselves.
Pushed to their limits and holed up on a remote lake island, life has taken on a new normality. That is until winter arrives and all hell will freeze over. For it is then that the open waters of the lake, the only barrier against the unrelenting dead, will freeze. And the monsters will come. By the thousands…
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/AXmHYK5TrSc
The sudden blare of the digital clock shocked Virgil awake like a stinging slap. Eyes wild with fear, his right hand shot under his pillow and emerged gripping a loaded 9MM pistol. Sitting, gasping, the giant of a man cast about, searching for the ghosts that haunted his sleeping mind. But the weapon withheld its promise of violence when all that he could detect were motes of dust drifting in lazy swirls through the morning light of his bedroom. The gun slipped from his hand.
“Nothing, nothing… nothing. Nothing’s there. Nothing,” he whispered to himself as his chin sank to his chest and his long brown hair slopped down to hide the blunt contours of his face. With his eyes squeezed shut he vigorously rubbed his temples and, like a man freshly pulled from the sea, deeply inhaled the stale air of his trailer.
At length he pulled his heavily muscled frame upright and shut off the clock alarm. He threw on a pair of shorts and a folded T-shirt from the chair where he had set them aside the night before and wandered from his room and down a narrow hallway to the living room. Stifling a yawn, he maneuvered through an impressive collection of weightlifting equipment until he arrived in the kitchen, where he listlessly consumed a bowl of cold cereal while gazing at the pathetic patch of grass that comprised the front yard outside his home.
And he tried not to think.
It didn’t work. Never did. His thoughts kept drifting back to the dark corners where the foul things lay... things he’d done, things he’d seen, things he… had….
He flipped the now empty plastic bowl into the sink with a snort of frustration and turned on his television for the noise, something to drive away the images, the memories.
Didn’t work. Never did. So he did the one thing that always seemed to work. Walking over to his gym equipment, he hefted a forty-five pound weight and slammed it onto an Olympic weight bar that was perched on the uprights of a flat bench. Exhaustion would do the trick. Always did.
Two hours later, sweating in the heat of his home, Virgil stepped into the bright morning and squinted at the glare of a day that was promising only heat. Slipping on his dark sunglasses, he surveyed the scene around his house. It was a depressing sight for the most part. His dilapidated trailer was one among many such residences that were crammed on a strip of land that no one else would choose to inhabit other than those desperate enough for a home that was cheap. Situated as it was down a steep hill at the end of a dead-end street and with the river only two feet from flooding the entire area, which it regularly did, it was a wonder that the city hadn’t yet closed the place down.
Noticing nothing out of place, no one watching, no one waiting for him to offer them a target when he turned his back, he locked both doors to his home and crunched across the gravel yard to his dust-coated Range Rover, which was already running, having been remotely started several minutes before. After one more surreptitious check of his surroundings, he unlocked the door to the vehicle and slipped into the air-conditioned interior. The cool air washed over him, drying the sweat from his skin. He closed his eyes, breathed deep. In this cocoon of processed air, of quietly murmuring vibration, he opened his eyes to see a fly making its ponderous way across the field of glass that was his windshield. It was of the large, hairy, slow variety… near the end of its life, but still crawling along like a ball at the end of its push. He sat transfixed, puzzled by its relentless march, its progression toward… something only it knew… or nothing at all.
By David Monette
Movies and zombies. The two in my mind have gone hand in hand since I was a teenager. My friends and I would watch them, dissect them, turn them every which way as we debated their merits and explored the feasibility of the agency the filmmakers used to begin the zombie apocalypse. And now, after I’ve written my first zombie novel, “The Zombie Axiom,” the question of which movies are my favorites comes up with a startling regularity. So to satisfy the curious, I’ve decided to provide a list of my top ten, ranked from my least favorite to my most favorite. And for good measure, since I am not a serious movie reviewer, I’ve thrown in some memorable moments that I recall when I saw some of them.
They are… drum roll please…
10- Planet Terror
I first watched this movie with my wife on our Friday “movie night.” We walked to the movie rental store downtown, picked up the flick and gave it a view. From what I recall, she was reluctant to rent it, and not impressed when it was done. I, on the other hand, enjoyed its headlong dive into the genre. Directed by Robert Rodriquez, it is by far one of the least serious, action packed, engagingly over the top zombie movie on the list. But it was so over the top, it was fun.
9- Dead Snow
Dead Snow. The night I watched this with my buddy, Kevin, my dog threw up all over the living room rug. Unfortunately, that’s the thing I first think of when this film comes to mind. That, however, has nothing to do with how much I liked the movie! It was pretty decent from what I recall. There were some tongue in cheek references to other horror flicks, plenty of blood, a chainsaw, and Nazi zombies! How could that not make for an enjoyable night (aside from cleaning up dog vomit, that is)?
8- Day of the Dead
Just watched this again last month! I think the last time I had seen it was when I was a teenager in college. Ah… college… Ahem. Anyway, this movie is so good. Captain Rhodes, that nutty whack-job, is my favorite. In each scene he was in, I found myself waiting for his reaction to whatever was going on. But the whole movie was cool; an underground bunker, running around in caves full of zombies, gunning them down- what more could you want from a zombie flick from the 80’s?
Okay, for the next four movie choices it gets to be rather difficult for me to put them into a numbered list because I like all of them fairly equally. Take Zombieland, is it better than Shaun of the Dead? That’s a tough call. I mean, Zombieland has got Bill-frickin-Murray in it! I remember watching this movie at night, lights off in the living room, and being totally sucked into the idea of Woody Harrelson craving Twinkies. Awesome.
6- World War Z
So, I know I’m gonna catch it for having World War Z all the way at number six. I can’t help it though, I just like the others so much more. I went to see this flick with my wife and a few friends (one of only two of these films that I saw in the theater! Weird but true) and a good time was had by all! Especially afterward, you know; when the quaffing of various strong beverages occurs along with a spirited discussion of the movie- which is actually one of my favorite things to do. I should go see more movies in the theater. Seriously, though, this was a decent film. The first fifteen minutes is epic!
5- Shaun of the Dead
Right up front- this is one of my favorite spoof films of all time. Maybe that’s because I don’t watch many, or maybe it’s because I enjoy zombie films and bars and think that putting the two together is classic. I don’t know. Either way, this movie is a ton of laughs and is very entertaining. The “Kill Phil” conversation is one of the most hilarious discussions in a zombie film ever. If you can’t recall it, watch it again, you’ll see what I mean.
4- 28 Days Later
Once I got past the idea that the zombies in this film were not actually dead, but just sick people, I had a great time! I think knowing that they were sick people was actually better than trying to figure out the logistics of how a virus could be capable of animating dead flesh and make it walk around. Seriously, that is what I do, I think about things like that even when I’m watching a movie. It is annoying to my wife. That being said, I loved the commitment to the cause of the apocalypse. One drop, just one drop of blood or saliva, and wham! You’re one of the horde with only 28 days to “live” before starvation kills you off. If you’re going to do a virus-caused zombie apocalypse, that is the way to go!
3- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
We’re at the top three! As you may have guessed, George Romero films make up the majority of these- that means two of the three, in case you are as bad at math as I am. This one is a classic, of course. It is the sequel to Night of the Living Dead, and I’m pretty sure I watched it with my friend, Kevin, (yes, the same guy who watched Dead Snow with me and laughed as I cleaned up dog vomit) when we were in high school. I think we were at his house. No, I know we were at his house. The movie is R rated, and since my parents didn’t let me watch R rated movies until I was seventeen, I would head to Kevin’s house and we would watch R rated movies all day without telling them. The typical rebellious teenager. As I recall, I was totally sucked into this film. I’ll never forget the purge of the mall by the survivors, the rampaging biker scenes, and the “shopping” zombies. All great stuff.
2- Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Remember when I wrote that I’d catch flack for putting World War Z at number six? I will probably catch just as much for putting the remake of Dawn of the Dead before the original. I don’t care, fire the canons! This is my list, right? My reasoning behind this is purely mood. I think they are both excellent zombie films, the difference is that the remake turned me on to the idea of fast-moving zombies. I know, I know, 28 Days Later did it first, but as I wrote earlier, those critters seemed more like sick people and not true undead. Dawn of the Dead (2004) turned that on its head. It creeped me out! And I wasn’t the only one. I went to see this in the theater with a few friends and I distinctly remember the guy in front of me squealing and saying, “Get out! Get outta there!”
1- Night of the Living Dead
Here we are! Number one! There is no possible way that this zombie film couldn’t be number one. It’s the first zombie movie I saw and it made a lasting impression- black and white images scrolling along, telling their story of stumbling undead terrorizing survivors in a remote farmhouse, the room I was sitting in made drowsy by afternoon sunlight, an armchair that smelled of cigars, and years and years ahead of me to watch zombie movies. When the movie was done, I was hooked.
And that’s it! Thanks for sticking it out till the end. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I had writing it.
David Monette functions as an author and illustrator from his home in Northern New York State. His highly detailed fantasy and science fiction artwork has appeared on many books, magazines, board games, and collectible cards. While receiving his MFA in illustration, his instructors reviewed his written work and strongly suggested that he combine his writing ability with his talent as an illustrator to chart his own path. Hence, “The Zombie Axiom” was born, a compelling, terrifying story sprinkled with amazing black and white illustrations from start to finish.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7334521.David_Monette
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/David-Monette/e/B00FMX73DM
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyLnc5iH4YIC_L2TioEjt1w