This is cleverly narrated by a survivor holed up in an office block running out of water and food. It is done with diary style with dates and the order runs very well.
He often eludes to the fact that he is unique in having immunity and as his story played out I was impressed with how the author, JDD, managed to allow information and knowledge to seep out slowly.
It is straight to the point, very matter of fact but with an underlying element of sadness in his trains of thought, he claims he is not a hero when clearly he has only acted as most of us would in times of horror eg hiding, running etc.
Then there is the burden of carrying the "cure" in your blood and the guilt of having others die to save you, I thought these thoughts were dealt with very well and it was really great to see the character developing before my eyes.
In one of the first few chapters he recounts a drive to the local bar and I had to laugh at the irony of his driving; it was like a bad joke about women drivers!
As the world descends into chaos he is very honest in his realisation that he did not believe it at the time, that he remained a scaredy cat.
Eventually he is forced into a life or death situation which leaves him with a little reminder of the struggle; teeth marks, and we all know what that means in a zompoc!
There was a sense of realism when internally discussing the zompoc which was good and compelling. I loved the bonding with Boomer, the dog. I also felt like this gave a different element to the story line with our manin character having a dog not a human for a companion.
In addition some of the other major aspects of this “version” of the zompoc are far, far different from any other books I have read. The zombies are different, their evolution is different etc.
The army speak explanations were really good as they allowed me into this work and therefore did not bore me. Whilst army he admits to being a supply man and not gunned up to the eyeballs which also makes a great change.
It could have been cleaner with the odd missing letter/word and incorrect tense; however this did not distract too much as the story was riveting.
However, a couple of things did irritate me that I have to mention, in hope the author will address these in subsequent books:
When locked in the bedroom for two weeks how did the woman go to the toilet? The explanation for how she got water was quite detailed but the other end is never mentioned! But JDD is not alone in this, most authors of apocalyptic situations never address these issues, weeing, pooping, periods etc…..
The lack of medical knowledge (and therefore research) annoyed me re the wound care and expecting a body to regenerate/replace blood loss overnight. But I suppose this is an occupational hazard for me.
Is Christian bigoted or brutally honest in describing people, I’m not sure.
This story starts with a bang, has a really strong middle, with no slow points and the ending leaves you with just enough of a cliff-hanger to want more, I certainly am looking forward to the next volume in this series.
JD Demers is a brand new author, he was very gracious in providing me with a bit more information about himself, so read on for all the gossip!
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I served in the US Army for five years as Military Intelligence, and then contracted to the DoD for another seven. After years of traveling, I decided to settle down in Florida. I’m married with two children and two lovable and annoying dogs.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy shooting mostly. It allows me to unwind.
What’s your favourite food?
Popcorn. My wife hates it. I can eat three or four bags in one sitting.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
I would hope it would be Breaking Benjamin, but it would probably end up being Weird Al Yanukovych
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Horror. I guess I’m old school. Weird Fiction doesn’t seem to describe Horror and Dark Fiction seems like a politically correct way of saying Horror.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
My first and foremost would have to be Tom Clancy. I do not write anything like him, but when I joined the military and found out I was going to be Military Intelligence, my recruiter bought me the book “Patriot Games.” He highlighted what I was going to be doing since he really wasn’t supposed to talk about it. Funny, as I look back now, that was a security violation.
I’m a big fan of TW Brown. I would love to include Stephen King, mostly because his book “On Writing” was so influential, but truthfully, his style throws me off a little.
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
Novel: The Dead
Film: Signs. And before anyone says anything, it’s not that Signs was exactly Horror, but the movie gave me chill bumps. Gore doesn’t make Horror. Something that keeps me on the edge of my seat, worried about what’s going to happen next and sends shivers down my spine… That’s Horror.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
Gore makes Horror. I hate that. I can write a book full of blood and guts, but to me, that’s just blood and guts. Saving Private Ryan had lots of it, and it wasn’t a Horror story. Don’t get me wrong, you need it, but that’s not what Horror Authors should focus on.
Which fictional character would be your perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
Perfect: John McClain. He seems like the type of guy that would keep to himself, but at the same time, hold a decent conversation at the mailbox.
Nightmare: Edward from Twilight. The guy’s a creepy stalker.
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
It’s in flux. There are a lot of new writers out there with Self-Publishing. Some are good, some are bad. I think the market is getting flooded, and hopefully some good ones are not being drowned out by the sheer volume of books being released these days.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Great Book: Game of Thrones. The writer did a superb job of creating a whole new world.
Disappointing Book: Zombie Fallout 2. I thought the first book was great, but the second kind of threw me. I love Mark Tufo’s style, but the story got a little weird for me for a zombie book.
How would you describe your writing style?
I try to not get overly descriptive. I love Tom Clancy and can stomach his long descriptions only because I worked in the Intelligence field for twelve years. But I get turned off when an Author spends three paragraphs describing one zombie. I like to provide just enough information to let the reader know what’s going on, but not drown it out with the colour of table cloths and drapes.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
Unfortunately, I have yet to receive any negative reviews. I would like to know what irritated people with my writing. However, the best positive review I received said my character growth was amazing. That really made me happy because I focused a lot on making my characters both likeable and real.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Thinking of stories is easy for me. If I had the time, I would have a couple hundred books by now. The problem comes with putting the thoughts on paper. Things do not always translate the same way.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Erotica. Just don’t have it in me.
If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?
Edward from Twilight. He would die in a burst of flame from the sun like he’s supposed to.
What do you think makes a good story?
Besides great characters is an objective. That objective can vary greatly depending on what the story is about, but sometimes, especially in the zombie genre, the objective of “survival” becomes bland after book 2 or 3.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
This is a hard one. Christian, the main character in The Hunt Chronicles, is named after my son (and his sister, Trinity, is named after my daughter). Other than that, I go with what would sound right for the character.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
That’s a hard one. I’ve always been creative. But I think mostly I’ve learned to be more realistic when it comes to unrealistic scenario’s (IE: Zombies, Aliens, Magic, etc.). I know that sounds weird, but I think you have to make it believable. Not just “It is because it is”.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
The ability to become the characters you are writing about. When I write about my characters, I don’t think “What would I do,” I think “What would they do.”
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Ignore the Trolls and learn from constructive criticism. (Bobby Adair)
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Facebook and Twitter, hands down.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
I have to go with Fish. He is an asshole, but a complicated one with a past not too many people can compare themselves with. Most of my readers agree and I’ve already been begged not to kill him off.
How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
So far I would have to say Jenna. Not because she isn’t likeable, but because I still haven’t put her where I want her to be.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
Can I say the last two? Fortune because I would like my writing to sustain me financially. Fortune to me does not mean rich, but rather comfortable. Respect in my writing is most important, though.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I guess I’d have to say The Hunt Chronicles.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
The Hunt Chronicles because, currently, it is the only published work I have. But I do think it will really represent who I am for years to come.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
When would I retire? From work? Now if I could. From writing? Never.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jddemers
J.D. Demers served in the United States Army as an Intelligence Analyst for five years. After he was honorably separated from service, he continued to serve his country as a civilian Department of Defense Contractor for another seven years. Since then, he has returned to his hometown in the State of Florida.
J.D. Demers has been writing since he was in High School. His interests mostly gear him toward Science Fiction, though he does enjoy Politics, International Affairs, and History.