First off, I have a story in this anthology. ‘I Was Legend’ is a fun play reflective of Richard Matheson’s ‘I Am Legend.’ It is a story where loneliness and desperation turn one man’s hope into his doom. A handful of my friends also found their way into this collection, and to be fair, I will not comment on any of their works, (which I thought were fantastic, but clearly I have a bias.)
Some of my own taboos were stretched a little further than their comfort zone, and I’m no prude. I found all of the stories in this book to be brave, even if there was a serious yuck-factor to some of them. Every story in this collection fit undeniably well to the title, but in my unimportant opinion, fifty-one is too many. Who would I have excluded? None of them—not a one. On the bright side, fifty-one stories of sex and horror is well worth the expense of buying the book.
I also learned that I really hate my Kindle, at least with reading anthologies. Now that the paperback version is out, I’d recommend purchasing the print edition. After reading a story and upon reaching the end I’d say, “Man, that was a kick ass story—who wrote it?” For review purposes, my e-reader is a useless tool.
Speaking of useless tools—I decided to spotlight my absolute favorites in this anthology, and ‘Dead Things Don’t Rise” by Mandy DeGeit had me laughing out loud. The story begins with our drunken narrator stumbling home and taking a shortcut through the cemetery. Luck will have it he staggers into what he thinks is another drunk, this one a cold, yet horny girl, ready for some dirty lovin’. This tale holds a fascinating mix of both hot and gross.
‘Ménage a Trauma’ by Dan Larnerd is another of the dark-comedic stories. Two lovers meet at a 2-star hotel for some hot sex, but the séance taking place a floor above them turns love-making into a fight for their lives.
‘Playing a Game’ by Eric Stoveken was another very naughty story with a horribly dark twist. Two lovers––one tied up and being straddled by his truest––play a game of intimacy, and secrets. Sex is the weapon of choice.
‘Carnage Kandy’ by Teresa Hawk was my absolute favorite in this collection. Two women, now lovers, have found the zombie apocalypse in Las Vegas to be the most liberating experience of their lives. The writing in this weave floored me and I connected with it on a deep level. Killing zombies at the peak of orgasm sounds like fun.
‘Out with a Bang’ by Laura J. Hickman was about a sex-addicted Goth girl who fed her mom to the zombies so as to stop her nagging. Once the batteries of her ‘boyfriend’ ran dry, she devises a new plan to get off, a final plan. I loved the voice of this story.
‘Some Like it Rot’ by John Palisano. There is a new street drug that will expand your mind, or turn you into a zombie. This tale is about a washed-out star and her supposed miracle return to the silver screen. Her publicist finds the starlet in her hotel room, half-baked and zombiefied. His career is on the line if he doesn’t find a cure.
‘Headshot’ by Frankie Sachs tells the sad story of a woman whose recent survival partner has been bitten. She reminisces about her long dead husband, and the difference of ‘fucking’ versus ‘loving.’ This one touched deeper than many of the other tales in this book.
‘Die With Your Boots On’ by Lisa Woods was the one I thought as being the hottest of the sex stories, filled with fantastic visuals for the both the characters and the sex. This was a man and woman sex story, zombies did not participate in the naughtiness.
‘Love in a Laundromat,’ is a self-explaining story by Megan Dorei. It was one of the few to have a happy ending.
My final pick is between ‘Stiff’ by Matthew Scott Baker, and ‘Subject Zero-Zero’ by Alex Chase for my favorite story of how the apocalypse came to be. ‘Stiff’ tells of a radical new drug that will cure erectile dysfunction forever. ‘Subject Zero-Zero’ tells of a man who found sex as being repulsive until one of his lab-mates becomes infected by a chemical weapon they were producing.
So there you have it, the short review of my favorite 20% of these stories. If you like zombies, you will love this book. If you like sex, you’ll like many of the stories. If you like sex with zombies—well, now—looks like you found your book.
I’d read Tim Marquitz’s novel, Echoes of the Past, in late spring 2012. It was an advance review copy for trusted reviewers only. I’d posted a review on Goodreads, but not here. It has bugged me for six months now. Tim has become one of my professional allies in this twisted business of books. The early reviews I’d done of the Demon Squad series were written as a fan, but that line has crossed closer to friend. I can still be honest.
Echoes of the Past is the fourth installment of the Demon Squad series. The greatest challenge is writing a review without giving too much back-story of the previous books and ruining the awesome revelations for those who have yet to read all three. So, here is a very elementary synopsis of the first three books so as to give scope to protagonist Frank’s twisted life.
Armageddon Bound was ground-breaking horror/comedy/urban fantasy. It was raw and flawed, and that is what made it all the more endearing to underdog author, Jake Elliot. The idea and world Tim has created is tremendous. Frank ‘Trig’ is a half-demon who lives with the rest of us sad-sacks here on earth, and he’s been quietly living in the city of El Paseo for a very long time.
Unlike the rest of us, Frank is privileged to know that Lucifer and God have abandoned the known universe to try and patch their own misgivings and hopefully avert the promised battle of Armageddon. Well, some demons and some angels aren’t too cool with the change of plans and think Armageddon should still happen. Poor Frank is stuck in the middle and might just be humanity’s greatest hope.
Resurrection was the second book. It is a story about shambling zombies and the necromancer who controls them. Sexy Lilith, mother of all Succubae, becomes a naughty fly in Frank’s ointment. The necromancer seeks to raise an early model for the Antichrist from the dead —that is of course, if Lilith is capable of telling the truth. Should I mention she is also Frank’s ex-mother-in-law?
At the Gates is the third in series. Heaven is besieged by an army of nephilim (mutant half-angels rejected by the Angelic Host) and a large group of werewolves led by Grawl the werebear. Inside the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life is wounded by the violence that has disrupted the tranquility of Heaven, and reacts by causing death storms raining acid on the earth. The end of At the Gates captured deeper emotion than I thought Tim Marquitz being capable of delivering. This book really amazed me.
Whew….we made it. Now for Echoes of the Past.
Over the course of the last couple books, Frank has captured the interest of a foxy demonic girlfriend. High-five Frank! Her dad is the strongest potential Antichrist, for whom Lucifer deceived two-thousand years earlier. Frank, I’d suggest keeping your hands away from where your girlfriend’s swimming suit covers. Daddy might develop a bit of a grudge from somewhere in his demon-spawned soul.
Speaking of classic devilish deceptions, Frank also learns that Uncle Lou has pulled a fast one over him as well. It looks like Lucifer was getting a little back-door lovin’ from Frank’s mom, which turns out to be a direct reason why Frank’s mom died violently so many years ago.
Not knowing about Frank’s new found secret, Lucifer has sent message to Frank, the only half-demon Satan believes he can trust. The message is about extra-dimensional terrorists who are coming to lay waste to all of God’s creations. With God and Lucifer’s relationship mended, together they fight a new war, this time for the sake of all existence. Back on Earth stands a resentful Frank, now expected to save creation on the words of the world’s greatest liar.
There are many great things in this book.
The #1 great thing––the main villain can use the words of famous authors to manifest objects into real life; my particular favorite was the scene with Moby Dick. I still chuckle with the memory. ––Girls, get your minds out of the gutter, I’m talking literature, not fantasy––Sheesh.
Great thing #2––the new involvement of the US Government was also worth a deep laugh. Truly, they are as incompetent as most cities’ DMVs, but Uncle Sam is now fighting supernatural crime. Thank you, Team America. Frank screws up big time and becomes the enemy of the state. Government spooks wait at random places in El Paseo with sniper rifles, Frank is their target.
#3––Frank is truly alone to fix this extra-dimensional problem. Almost all his buddies, (save Katon and Rahim) have turned their backs on Frank. Even Falcor and Baalth have shunned him. (These are both demons, who in past books have indirectly given Frank a hand.)
This episode was the most imaginative and tightest writing I’ve seen in the series. However, I thought the punch-line was a little too predictable. Don’t take my word on it though, I am a writer and it is hard to trick writers with writing. The big punch-line, the title reason for Echoes of the Past was something I’d suspected since Resurrection. In defense of the story, I read very slowly and I’m a perceptive reader. The true mastery of Tim Marquitz is shown in his delicate plotting.
I eagerly await the next installment of his series. My greatest hope is that he takes his time and does it right––bring it like a baseball bat against the world’s head, just like he’s done with each book so far.
(Coming soon is an interview with author Lee Mather—who currently has two stories in two anthologies being considered for a Bram Stoker Award [Corrupts Absolutely? and Fading Light.] Two more interviews after that are on the way––Joseph Spencer creator of the new novel Grim as well as established author Dina Rae, producer of Halo of the Damned. Sometime in the middle of all these interviews I’ll review Edward M. Erdelac’s Merkabah Rider, Tales of a High Plains Drifter and if I can super-schmooze the author, I’ll get an interview from him as well.)