Immortal Peace, Tyler Harris

Immortal Peace, Tyler Harris

Immortal Peace

In Immortal Peace, Tyler Harris opens the story with an innocuously peaceful scene: Mario and Paige Ramirez have finally resolved to tell their son, Scott, that he’s adopted. However, their discussion is almost immediately upstaged by news stories of UFO sightings over Florida playing across all the news stations. Shortly afterwards, news reports indicate that ‘flying Frisbees’ have also been sighted in Morocco, where the aliens have landed and are attempting to communicate with the locals in a dialect of ancient Egyptian. Mario, a bulwark of skepticism in the midst of his UFO-obsessed family, finally receives a call from his mother, a professor of hieroglyphics at the University of Oregon, and discovers that she’s being flown to Africa the same day to act as a liaison between the CIA and the alien craft that set down in Morocco – but even he couldn’t have predicted the outcome.

Immortal Peace offers a unique twist on ‘we come in peace’, melding creation mythology, flying saucers and Egyptian links to extraterrestrials in a new and entertaining storyline. However, while Tyler Harris’s main story concept is original and in places delightfully ironic, the heavy focus on the minutiae of family life and teenage dating, almost a second story within the main story, does detract somewhat from the pacing of the action, and bogs the reader down in day-to-day descriptions of preparations for work and the business of unlocking doors. This book would be a sound choice for sci-fi readers looking for a gentle read and a new take on the utopian view of extraterrestrial intervention.

Salby Evolution, Ian D Moore

Salby Evolution, Ian D Moore

Salby Evolution

Salby Evolution is the sequel to Ian D. Moore’s debut novel, Salby Damned. Simon Lloyd, infected in the first wave of the SALBY virus, escapes aboard a cargo freighter hours before nation-wide quarantine goes into effect. His only companion is Barbie, another infected, rescued from a mall toy store. Between them, isolated at sea, they slaughter the crew of the cargo ship in an orgy of rage. However, unlike the other infected, Simon and Barbie don’t die in the aftermath of their killing frenzy, but instead survive – altered, strengthened, and sought-after by their own government and every other.

This sequel work proved to be a much better showcase for the author’s undeniable story-telling ability, with much of the extraneous detail that bogged down the initial book’s plot eradicated. Simon is for the most part an unlovable but plausibly imperfect character, and the pacing of the action in Salby Evolution is faster and more compelling. Leavened with the occasional presence of some of the original Salby Damned cast, Simon and Barbie’s flight across the North Sea and their subsequent adventures in Russia with the People’s Resistance Army pull in threads of military thriller to mesh with the classic zombie action, and tie up several loose ends from the first novel. Definitely an enjoyable read for thriller and zombie fans alike.

Salby Damned, Ian D Moore

Salby Damned, Ian D Moore

Salby Damned

Salby Damned opens at a fracking wellhead near Salby, in Yorkshire, where drilling appears to have released a highly contagious and lethal virus. Transmitted via bite, the symptoms include increased healing, damage to cognitive functions, and most damaging of all, a destructive, homicidal rage. Freelance reporter and ex-sergeant Nathan Cross, covering the opening of the new well, didn’t expect to be hauled out of bed at the crack of dawn to the news of a disaster at the well, and he certainly didn’t expect his sudden, overwhelming attraction to Evelyn Langford, the woman he’d met the night before at the well conference.

The story features the staples of the zombie genre, including last-ditch stands against oncoming zombies, unexpected alliances and dalliances, and the revelation of the true cause of the outbreak, along with a variety of blunt, bladed, and projectile weapons used to varying effect against the diseased. I did find that the story as a whole was given to a level of description of trivia that impacted the pace of the action, as well as extraneous scenes that seemed by the end of the book to have done little to directly move the plot along. However, I definitely feel that the book has a lot of potential, and the character development was by and large strong and consistent.

 

Dead Sea Games, J. Whitworth Hazzard

Dead Sea Games, J. Whitworth Hazzard

Dead Sea Games

In Dead Sea Games, J. Whitworth Hazzard throws us into an alternate New York, where an engineered virus known as the Osiris Agent has turned the majority of the population into carnivorous zombies. What little of the human population remains uninfected after the Emergency has taken refuge barricaded in the upper levels of sky-scrapers, reliant on government-provided food drops to stay alive. Loot from abandoned buildings is the common currency, and a few packs of AAs can be worth a life. Only the exiled orphans and the insane venture down to street level, and only Deathwish is willing to bet that he can stay alive there for more than ten minutes. No one knows who released the virus. No one is immune.

Dead Sea Games is a fantastic example of the action / horror genre, where the characters are unquestionably real and the action grabs you in a chokehold and never lets up. J. Whitworth Hazzard has created a gripping mix of martial arts, mystery and murder, overlaid by the martial law of the Colony and underlaid by the seething masses of the wandering dead. Deathwish’s struggle for justice turns into a fight for survival that provides a perfect frame for the stunningly imaged life and death stunts that punctuate the narrative, and the lure of finding out who actually released the Osiris Agent forms a strong undertow to the storyline. This is a thrilling story, and a call to look beyond the simplistic that’s going to keep you reading and guessing the outcomes.

Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite.