Survivors (Morningstar Strain)
Permuted Press/Gallery, Jun 19 2012, $15.00
First seen in Africa, global authorities tried to contain the spread of The Morningstar Strain by quarantining the continent only. The international leaders chose politics over world safety as they ignored US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases expert Anna DeMilio’s suggestion to isolate victims wherever the disease surfaced (see Plague of the Dead). Now billions are infected.
The pandemic is global with the strain turning people into raging zombies. Mankind’s only hope to avoid extinction rests with Anna who has retreated from the growing menace thanks to special agent Mason who rescued her from agent Sawyer and his Reunited States of America military rogue handlers. Sawyer’s orders are to bring the virologist to the Chairman who believes she has the antidote for the disease that is transmitted by bites. Special Forces General Sherman and his unit escort Anna and Mason to a top secret bio-hazard lab in the Omaha area so that the virologist can work on the cure. General Shannon’s friend Commander Harris tries to find them as one of his solders was bitten twice by zombies and proves to be immune to the virus. Sawyer and his army continue their search for DeMilio with no regard to collateral damage.
The third and final Morningstar Strain zombie thriller (see Thunder and Ashes) is an exciting apocalyptic tale as the disease appears to be winning partly because of avarice power mongers with no regard for anyone else. That frailty adds to the creepiness as Z.A Recht emphasizes the Survivors rather than the zombies (who are more in the background) as he makes his key cast seem real while humanity’s existence seems at its end. Harriet Klausner
This Is Not a Test
St. Martin's Griffin, Jun 19 2012, $9.99
When her older sister Lily fled from their physically abusive father, she left her younger sibling Cortege High School junior Sloane as his only victim. With mom buried, six months since Lily betrayed her when she abandoned her, Sloane increasingly considers suicide.
Her “To be or not to be” contemplation ends when the world ends. Sloane and five other teens (Harrison, Grace, Rhys, Cary and Trace) are trapped inside the high school prison while outside zombies over run the town. The sextet easily converts the building into a fortress knowing that for now they have plenty of food and water. As they struggle to survive in an oasis surrounded by hell, power fights occur while Sloane thinks of what she will say to lily when they next meet.
This is an intriguing young adult zombie thriller that focuses on staying alive rather than on the nightmare outside the school; ergo the action is limited while how the characters behave during the crisis is the prime storyline. The six protagonists have different personalities though we meet them through Sloane’s melancholic filter or in-fighting; Harrison showcases her lens as the readers learn almost nothing about him compared to the others except in Sloane’s mind he is a weeping non. Dark with a sort of On the Beach (by Nevil Shute) mentality, fans who enjoy a psychological thriller will want to read this fascinating zombie apocalypse now. Harriet Klausner
Kensington, Jul 31 2012, $15.00
Clare Point, Delaware has been home to the Kahill vampire clan for centuries. They differ from ordinary vampires as they die as elders and are reborn as teens with the cycle eternal.Their mission is to save God's humans from the undesirables.
Executioner Aedan Brigid returns to Clare Point for needed R&R after too many battles against evil. At the same time, Jay the monster who returns every half century to disfigure and murder females is back having mutilated a victim that reminds Aedan of what this beast did to his beloved Madeleine centuries ago. He vows this time to end his hunt of three centuries in death; Jay’s or his.
Jay stalks his prey in Rehoboth Beach where barmaid Dallas York and her daughter Kenzie reside. Aedan enters the establishment where Dallas works; and to each is amazement sparks fly when they touch. Dallas has the gift of seeing a person’s past and present life when she touches that individual. She knows Aedan is damned and regardless of how each feels vampires and humans cannot form a relationship. Aedan fears Dallas is Jay’s next selection.
The latest Clare Point Vampires romantic urban fantasy (see Undying, Eternal and Immortal) is an action-packed enthralling thriller focusing on the exploits of a good vampire protecting humanity from evil. Like his clan Aedan has been damned for choosing to remain blood Voracious pagans while rejecting the message of Christianity given to them by St. Patrick in the old country over a millennium and half ago. The Kahill has hopes for redemption by protecting god’s humans. His ability to love grips readers when he connects with autistic Kenzie. Then there is the anticipated High Midnight confrontation with Jay. Harriet Klausner