Audiobook Review: Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

30 03 2012

Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo (Book 1 of the Zombie Fallout series)

Read by Sean Runnette

Tantor Audio

Length: 10 Hrs 30 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse

Quick Thoughts: Zombie Fallout doesn’t really break much new ground. Tufo puts some interesting twists on his zombies, but nothing earthshaking. Instead, you have a classic first person zombie apocalypse tale with plenty of zombie slaughtering action that will make you laugh just as often as it grosses you out.

Grade: B+

Truth be told, I would not survive the Zombie Apocalypse, I know this and accept it. When the dead begin to rise and eat the flesh of the living, my major role will most likely be dinner. Sure, I read plenty of zombie novels and watched countless movies, but heck, I’ve also read tons of mysteries and have yet to solve a murder. I am no survivalist. I’ve never fired a gun in my life, or heck, even held one in my hand making bang bang sounds. I have no martial arts talents and am not specifically skilled using hand weapons. In fact, me using a sword or club is more likely to end up with me in the hospital, or on an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Heck, I don’t even own a suitable bunker full of food and supplies to properly hide from the hordes. More likely than not, when my cannibalistic brethren show up, I’ll probably be hiding in my bathtub crying like a baby. The only true weapon I have is my biting wit and quick turn of phrase. So, when the zombies do break open my bathroom door, I should be able to zing them about their personally hygiene before they engulf me in a sea of teeth. I think the fact that I have no zombie survival skills, beyond being properly marinated, makes me able to enjoy zombie fiction even more. I often find that the hardcore survivalists just can’t let go and have fun when reading post apocalyptic novels. They get so hung up on the details, the caliber of guns, the size of the knives, what item is best used to bludgeon, what food lasts the longest or supply most essential. Geesh, these novels are about your mom rising up to eat you, can’t you just sit back and enjoy it?

Mark Tufo’s zombie apocalypse novel Zombie Fallout is a breath of fresh air, mostly because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sure, the Zombie Apocalypse is a serious situation, but, come on people, crack a joke once in a while. The undead may eat your brains, but they can’t eat your sense of humor. Tufo filters one of the most gory, nauseating zombie apocalypse tales through the mind of a sarcastic, almost Neanderthal white suburban male. Michael Talbot has been preparing for something like this his whole life, so when the dead begin to rise, he knows what to do. Well, not really. He thinks he does, but no matter how much planning, and how well trained, nobody is truly prepared for the zombie apocalypse. I have to admit, I sort of groaned a bit when Michael called himself a survivalist. Part of me is getting sick of the uber-prepared overly competent, and all too often ultra-serious apocalyptic prepper as protagonist of Zombie tales who marches about slaughtering the undead with cruel efficiency, barely flinching as they become drenched in brain matter. In Zombie Fallout, the characters are affected by what’s going on. While Michael is a sarcastic, politically incorrect caveman at times, he’s not a robot. Things affect him. He has breakdowns, and is overwhelmed by the situation. Tufo does a good job making his tale very visceral. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of gore for gore sake, but Tufo’s gore serves a purpose. It helps create a mood where you can smell the decay, and feel the nausea that the situation induces in the characters. Yet, Tufo never mires the tale down in the depravity, but uses levity to help the readers past some of the more disturbing moments. Zombie Fallout isn’t really breaking much new ground here. Tufo puts some interesting twists on his zombies, but nothing earthshaking. Instead, you have a classic first person zombie apocalypse tale with plenty of zombie slaughtering action that will make you laugh just as often as it grosses you out.

When I first started listening to Zombie Fallout, I just knew I was going to hate the narrator. As the story opens, my first thoughts when hearing Sean Runnette’s voice was that he sounded like Ray Romano with a traumatic brain injury. Yet, as I got deeper and deeper into the story I started to realize that Michael Talbot sort of acted like Ray Romano with a traumatic brain injury. Being this was my first time listening to Runnette’s narration, it’s hard to judge his skills overall, but I started to really enjoy his readings. He did an excellent job with the male characters, particularly Michael and Tommy, and did a serviceable job with the females. While the majority of the novel comes from Michael’s perspective, there is a brief point where the story is taken over by his wife, and that was probably the shakiest part of Runnette’s performance. Yet, overall I enjoyed it. He delivered jokes well, and controlled the pace to allow listeners to easily visualize the action. His best moments where during the conversational moments, where it was like Michael was actually addressing the audience of his tales. His tone was almost conspiratorial, like someone telling a dirty joke with a wink and a nudge. I had a lot of fun listening to Zombie Fallout, and am definitely looking forward to continuing this series.

This review is part of my weekly “Welcome to the Apocalypse” Feature.

Note: A special thanks to Tantor Audio for providing me with this title for review.

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11 responses

31 03 2012
ashleybros

my first thoughts when hearing Sean Runnette’s voice was that he sounded like Ray Romano with a traumatic brain injury. Yet, as I got deeper and deeper into the story I started to realize that Michael Talbot sort of acted like Ray Romano with a traumatic brain injury

Haha, I kind of want to hear this now….

31 03 2012
DevourerofBooks (@DevourerofBooks)

I adore Sean Runnette for nonfiction narration, but I don’t think I have listened to him narrate fiction, so I couldn’t say for sure whether that was a character choice or whether that’s his fiction voice.

Also, funniest review ever.

31 03 2012
Tanya Patrice

Love the review! Now you have me wondering if I would survive a zombie apocalypse … time to start horading canned foods 🙂

31 03 2012
Squeak (@AkChocoholic)

I would survive a zombie apocalypse as long as it happened in the winter. I think all the zombies would freeze to the ground like everything else around my house. Those not frozen to the ground would get stuck in the 6 six snow drifts like the moose around my house. Those that survived those two things would probably get run over by the semis that are going 60 miles an hour to avoid freezing to the ground or getting caught in snow drifts. So I feel pretty safe.

Have you listened to Dead of Night by Jonathan Mayberry or Warm Bodies by Issac Marion? There are two of my favorite Zombie stories.

5 06 2012
Guest Post & Giveaway: Mark Tufo & Fans on Fan/Author Interaction « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] Audio is offering two sets of the audiobook editions of Zombie Fallout 1 and Zombie Fallout 2 on MP3 CD. This audiobook is narrated by Sean Runnette, and I highly recommend […]

19 07 2012
Laurie C

I’ve just read your review because I’m almost done writing my own. Love your description of Mike Talbot! Neanderthal suburban male does sum it up. That’s why he kept reminding me of my brother-in-law! 😉

24 09 2012
Laurie C

Had to tell you that after listening I donated my audiobook copy of Zombie Fallout to the library because no libraries in the network had it in their collections. I recommended it for the husband of a co-worker who is a big zombie lit reader, but not an audiobook listener. She brought it home to him and reported back that he loved it and wants to buy or borrow the rest of the series. I felt bad that my blog review of Zombie Fallout was a little critical, but feel better now that I’m helping potential new fans find the series.

18 01 2013
My Top 10 Post Apocalyptic Audiobooks of 2012: Zombies « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] My Review of Zombie Fallout […]

13 01 2014
Zombie Fallout: Zombie Fallout, Book 1 | Audiobook Reviewer

[…] that I will hate everything about the story, just because of his horrible nasally, whiny voice. As The Guilded Earlobe, a fellow reviewer puts it “As the story opens, my first thoughts when hearing Sean […]

10 02 2014
Zombie Fallout 1 by Mark Tufo | The Bookie Monster

[…] that I will hate everything about the story, just because of his horrible nasally, whiny voice. As The Guilded Earlobe, a fellow reviewer puts it “As the story opens, my first thoughts when hearing Sean […]

23 12 2015
Zombie Fallout: Zombie Fallout, Book 1 | Audio Book Reviewer

[…] that I will hate everything about the story, just because of his horrible nasally, whiny voice. As The Guilded Earlobe, a fellow reviewer puts it “As the story opens, my first thoughts when hearing Sean […]

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