Tag Archive: Z. A. Recht

2011 in review

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A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

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Cover of "Dying to Live: A Novel of Life ...

Cover via Amazon

Hello everyone!  I’m sorry that it’s taken so awfully long to get back to posting.  I just got my first real teaching job and I’m overwhelmed with excitement (and work!)  In addition, apparently I’m about to move houses in two months.  While that’s exciting, it will certainly be a handful!  Unfortunately I haven’t had much time to read or even post on the movies that I’ve seen, but I do hope to rectify that soon enough.  Perhaps this weekend, if I get some spare time.  In any event, I’m glad to be back.

I do have a few special announcements for all of you, all of which I’ve been waiting for some time now.  Permuted Press announced the release date for the third (and as far as I know, final) book of Z.A. Recht’s smash trilogoy “The Morningstar Saga”.  It’s titled “Survivors”, and word is that it will be released on December 27, 2011.  As much as I dearly hate the snow, it would almost be worth more of it to get to that book release date sooner.

Other releases of note include “Dead Bait 2” (a Severed Press title), which features a “Jaws” send-up as its cover picture.  There’s nothing quite like a monstrous piranha swimming up towards a naked woman in open water to instill fear.  Did I mention that the piranha was decayed?  Zombie piranha !  From what I gather the authors include Steve Alten, Ramsey Campbell, Guy N. Smith, Tim Curran, James Robert Smith, Murphy Edwards, Cody Goodfellow, Anthony Wedd, Paul A. Freeman, Raliegh Dugal, James Harris,  Michael Hodges, and Matthew Fryer.

Kim Paffenroth‘s third book in the “Dying to Live” series is out as well.  This title features a carnival tent cover and is titled “Last Rites”.  This book finished up where “Life Sentence” left off – following William, Lucy (Blue Eye), and Truman as they leave the encampment.

I posted my R.I.P. for Z.A. Recht on December 21st.  Technically it’s December 26th, and yesterday I finished “Thunder and Ashes“, the second book in the Morningstar Strain.  The marathon reading session was brought on by the amazing content of the book.  I still can’t believe that the author passed away and his literary voice has been silenced.  His books are without a doubt my favorite zombie books out of all that I have read in my lifetime.  During his short writing career, he wrote two amazingly powerful books.

I have no idea where to explain how amazing the second book was.  “Thunder and Ashes” picked up the storyline seamlessly from where “Plague of the Dead” left off.  The transition was so smooth that it felt like one whole book instead of two.  Recht showed his writing prowess in that he didn’t waste space in the book giving too much background information on the established characters, but rather moving the book forward.  That’s one of my peeves in book series – the paragraphs and paragraphs spent reminding the reader about the character.  (Just a hint – if the character requires that much explanation in the following novels, they were most likely a forgettable character anyway.)

Recht’s strongest talent as a writer was to be able to produce living, breathing characters.  I found it hard to believe that the characters weren’t real people.  Their words, actions, lives, and deaths all felt realistic.  Not a single moment went by in “Thunder and Ashes” where I felt that the characters had acted strangely.

Similar to the first book, “Thunder and Ashes” was full of action.  Firefights, undead hordes, and malevolent humans are in abundance in this novel, and all have perfect timing.  This novel was every bit the page-turner that I was expecting from Recht.  This book was also the second piece of zombie literature that has caused me to cry while reading.  I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite characters.  Recht let the character go with dignity and heroism (I’m not telling you whom – go buy the book!).

“Thunder and Ashes” is an absolutely phenomenal book and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting novel.  Incidentally, although the book deals with military terms, it is not overwhelming.  I am not familiar with very many military terms but still found the book enjoyable, and even learned a few new terms while reading.

R.I.P. Z. A. Recht

Cover of "Plague of the Dead (The Morning...

Cover via Amazon

Yesterday I finished an amazing book, Z. A. Recht’s Plague of the Dead.  It was phenomenal, to say the least.  I started straightaway on Thunder and Ashes, which is unusual because I usually prefer to space sequels, especially when the next book hasn’t been announced yet.

Later last night I decided to look up how soon I would be able to purchase the third installment of the Morningstar Saga.  What I found on many websites severely saddened me.  Apparently, author Z. A. Recht passed away a year ago.  I haven’t been able to find the cause of death.

What I do know is that his death at age 26 is tragic.  I feel we have lost a writer of surprising and early talent, who may have gone on to author many more superb books.  Even though his notes have been given to Permuted Press and a third book will be issued, it will still lack the special way he had with words and storytelling.

Cover of "Plague of the Dead (The Morning...

Cover via Amazon

What a book !  I just finished Plague of the Dead today – and it was one of the best books I’ve ever read in the zombie genre.  Recht’s book is fantastic !

The characters in the book are very believable.  None of them stand around and whine about their situation, or give superfluous background information that isn’t necessary.  I think its’ better not to know too much about the characters.  When something like a zombie apocalypse occurs, things tend to change.  For that matter, people tend to change.  When the only motive is staying alive for another minute, people show more of who they are, whether its in caring for other people or putting themselves first at all costs.

The characters are not stereotypical by any means.  In fact, they are quite the opposite.  Heading the survivor camp is General Francis Sherman, a man who likes the civilians he protects, and in some cases even allows them to fight alongside the enlisted men.  Julie Ortiz, an investigative journalist, holds for weeks against mental and physical torture when being held captive for leaking vital information to the public about the Morningstar Strain.  There are more characters, but I refuse to spoil all the fun – go read the book !

Recht is very detailed about the virus, to the extent that often it becomes hard to remember that the Morningstar Strain does not exist.  When someone is first infected they experience severe flu-like symptoms which turn into a kind of mania.  The mania phase causes them to sprint after uninfected persons (attempting to find more hosts for the virus).  When the host body dies, the virus takes over fully and propels the bodies along as “shamblers”.  The transition from sprinter to shambler is a great way to bring together two ends of the zombie spectrum – those that think zombies should run, and those that think zombies should shamble – thereby having something for everyone.

Plague of the Dead was really difficult to put down in order to do other things.  Every page seemed to teem with a relentless assault from the living and (truly?) dead.  I get irritated when zombie books act like the apocalypse contains isolated, infrequent zombie attacks.  When I think about the population of the United States, and the world, I find it impossible that the streets wouldn’t be filled to the brim with carriers, zombies, and people dying.  Plague of the Dead depicted this kind of anxiety and adrenaline filled world.

Overall it was a phenomenal book !  I highly recommend that you go and pick this book up NOW.