February Audiobook Report

4 03 2014

So, yes, the blog is starting to pick back up a bit, with fewer, more streamlined reviews, but if I have a groove, it’s slowly starting to come back. In February, I listened to 15 Audiobooks for just under 150 hours. Not too shabby for this abbreviated month full of winter’s fury. Overall, I think it was a pretty good month, with some zombies, bizarre changed lands and some of those nutty serial killing types. Here is a breakdown of what I listened to.


February Audiobooks I reviewed:

February Audiobooks With Reviews Coming Soon:

Zombie Audiobooks:

In an effort to prepare for Zombie Awareness month, I am trying to listen to some titles now to spread the zombie love over the next few months and not take on a horde of Zombie titles in one big chunk. Here of the Zombie titles I listened to in February. Expect reviews in May.


Repairman Jack:

I am currently working through F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack series, and will also add in his Adversary Cycle (In Print and Audio) books as well. So far, what I have really enjoyed is that each new book despite having a shared mythology and a continuing character and storyline seems to be from different genres. You have SF, Urban Fantasy, Ghost Stories, straight thrillers, medical thrillers and horror. I listened to two in this series in February, both of which I enjoyed.

Armchair Audies Listens:

Yes, the Audies were announced and I am trying to get a jump on my favorite blog event of the year, The Armchair Audies, Since I have a lot of series to go through, I am trying to knock out the Fantasy Category as quick as possible. I listened to two audiobooks from the Alex Bledsoe’s Tufa series as a start to this, with reviews coming soon.

Other Audiobooks I listened to in February:


Disenchanted by Robert Kroese was a goofy little fantasy audiobook I listened to mostly because it was narrated by Phil Gigante. It was fun, is not a bit droll but ultimately forgettable. I looked at it as a bit of filler material, a change of pace to my typical listens and a chance to hear Phil Gigante read something funny, which he does so well.

I had absolutely no plans to listen to Indian Hill 2: The Reckoning any time soon. While I like Mark Tufo as a writer, I wasn’t a fan of the first Indian Hill novel. Yet, happenstance roared it’s head, and I found myself with a corrupted file and few choices. Indian Hill 2, despite it’s cheesy Reckoning subtitle, was an improvement from the first novel. It was a bit uneven, and I think the editing could have been tighter, since it’s timeline felt jumbled, but ultimately it was a fun alien invasion novel. 

Audiobook Review: Lycan Fallout:Rise of the Werewolf by Mark Tufo

4 10 2013

Lycan Fallout: Rise of the Werewolf by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

Published by Mark Tufo

Length: 11 Hrs 23 Min

Genre: Post Apocalyptic with Werewolves

Quick Thoughts: Lycan Fallout offers everything you would want in a Michael Talbot adventure, with a new menace, some new allies and a whole new timeline. Tufo fills his intriguing post apocalyptic world with strange new communities, some of his most visual action scenes to date and plenty of juvenile humor. Lycan Fallout is a worthwhile addition to his weird little Talbotverse.

Grade: B+

I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant about Lycan Fallout. With all these iterations of Michael Talbot, battling aliens, zombies, ghosts, dogknappers, vampires and other such horrors, I need a flow chart, Venn diagram, Commodore 64, two shots of whiskey and a 50’s era receptionist to keep it all straight. Yet, with all things Tufo, I have learned to just sit back and enjoy the ride, even when the car careens off the road, and crashes into something twisted and maybe a bit sticky. My other issue was that out of the great monster trifecta, zombies, vampires and werewolves, stories involving lupine shape shifters tend to be my least favorite, and probably fall under lesser beloved monsters like Triffids, squid demons, cats, alien parasites, and taxes as well. I’m not sure why I never get jazzed over werewolves. Maybe it’s all the weird mythology surrounding them or the fact I can never keep the various types straight, or possibly that women are less likely to want to spend time with you if you can’t morph into some sort of animal. Yet, despite my hesitation, I thought, heck, it’s Tufo. I highly doubt his werewolves would be all that sexy and at the very least, I should get enough juvenile humor to balance the whole werewolf thing out.

It’s more than a century since humanity won a pyrrhic victory against the zombie hordes, and half man/half Vampire Michael Talbot is living on his family estate, detached from society. Since the last member of his family died, he’s had no purpose and marks time by when Tommy, his 500 year old Vampire creator and surrogate son would bring him food. Yet, when Tommy and the witch Azile learn of a new menace to the struggling post apocalyptic communities of mankind, they need to find a way to get Michael once again invested in society. Together they hatch a plan to bring him out of exile and into the fight against the Lycans, involving a dog, some beer and baseball. Is there anyway Micheal can resist?

Lycan Fallout is a near future post apocalyptic tale told as only Mark Tufo can, which is straight on, in your face no holds barred storytelling. Fans of Tufor’s Zombie Fallout series will find much of what they like about that series, Michael’s not quite politically correct juvenile humor, visceral scenes of gore, the comradery of brothers (and sisters) at arms, a strange hybrid mythology mixing together as many horror tropes as possible, and plenty of action. Lycan Fallout takes a while to pull you in. Readers need to adjust to the changed world, the new timeline, and a moody whiney version of Michael Talbot, yet, when things begin to move, Tufo grabs the reader by the hair, and pulls them into the story. Mark Tufo, probably unlike any other author, can do things that annoy the heck out of me in a lot of books with over used scenarios and stereotypical portrayals yet make it work by his sheer audacity. Tufo is like that strange friend who constantly tells the same damn stupid joke, but manages to make you laugh at it every time. There was so much fun, cool stuff in Lycan Fallout. I really liked his post apocalyptic world. It’s not anything I haven’t seen before, with new communities, traditions and religions formed from the wreckage of our world, but displayed in an offbeat manner. Tufo constantly keeps the reader off balanced. He has theses moments where his writing almost takes on a poetic quality, and you’re thinking "That’s kind of deep" and then he follows it up with some crude scatological joke. It’s strange and disconcerting and uneven and joyous and a whole lot of fun. I think Lycan Fallout also showed some of Tufo’s maturity as a writer (if you can use the word maturity when describing Mr. Tufo). His action scenes were crisper, less weighed down by extraneous details, and highly visual. His plotting was cleaner, and he even managed some real solid emotional writing that did justice to his characters. Plus, his werewolves were actually kind of cool and even a bit scary at times. My only warning, if you are easily frustrated by series, this is the beginning of a new series, and not a standalone. If you are going to jump of the Lycan Fallout Wagon, be prepared for a long ride. Hopefully your ass won’t get too sore along the way.

As with all of Mark Tufo’s audiobooks, the narration is handled by one Mr. Sean Runnette. I sometimes wonder, with all the time Runnette has spent voicing Michael Talbot, if he hasn’t started becoming a bit of a germaphobe with inappropriately timed humor, a penchant for violence and a high likelihood to verbally abuse inept customer service people. This is the problem; I have trouble separating the narrator with the character, because he has become just as much a part of Michael Talbot as his love of guns and dogs. As always, Runnette’s performance is perfect for this series. He captures the personality of Michael Talbot perfect. One other thing I liked is how when some descendants of Michael’s friends show up, they have vocal similarities to their predecessors, without being carbon copies of them. There was just something comfortable about this, which helped the readers get over the fact that some of our favorite characters are no longer pat of the story. If you have yet to experience a Mark Tufo tale, particularly one surrounding his main character Michael Talbot, whether you want the zombie, alien or werewolf fighting version, I highly recommend experiencing it with Talbot’s true voice, as performed by Sean Runnette.

Zombie Awareness Month Roundtable: Tantor Audio Authors and Giveaway!

30 05 2013


Can humanity survive the rising of the undead? What skills will be most important when trying to survive in the time of cannibalistic undead? Today I ask my panel of experts to chime in on all things Zombie Survival. Today’s guest all share one thing in common beyond being awesome undead bards, they have all had their books produced by the wonderful people at Tantor Audio!

So along with today’s answers, we will be having a Giveaway. Two people will receive a Zombie Audiobook pack including titles from each of the participants in today’s roundtable. To enter, just leave a comment answering the following question:

What one skill do you have that could be your saving grace in a Zombie Apocalypse?

Please make sure you include a way for me to contact you if you

The Giveaway is for the Continental US, and ends Thursday June 6th at 11:59PM. 

Jesse Petersen author of The Living With the Dead series.


Scott Kenemore, author of Zombie, Ohio and The Zen of Zombie

Mark Tufo, author of The Zombie Fallout Series, and The Book of Riley

Wayne Simmons, author of Flu and Fever

When discussing training for Zombie Survival, many people focus on the obvious, weapons training, martial arts, wilderness survival skills and the like. What is one often neglected skill that seems useless today but may be essential in surviving the coming Zombie Apocalypse?

Jesse Petersen: I think most people would be stuck on basic survival skills. You’d figure out weapons pretty fast and hopefully it wouldn’t come to martial arts very often with zombies, but when it comes to getting potable water, making a fire, finding food once things go bad, I think a lot of people won’t have those skills. Hopefully they’ll be able to figure out libraries. LOL A good argument for making sure we fund those. ALOT.

Scott Kenemore: I’m not of the opinion that a true zombie apocalypse would be survivable in the truest sense.  Therefore, I think it’d be important to focus on having as much fun as you possibly could.  I think taking a bunch of Molotov cocktails up to a roof and then throwing them down on the zombies would be a pretty fun way to go out swinging.

Mark Tufo: CARDIO! – I think most folks over-estimate the level of their physical fitness. Now I’ll use myself as a prime example. In High School and College I was what many folks considered a jock, I played baseball, football and ran track. Even played hockey on the side. Then I joined the Marine Corps where they honed that conditioning into a fine tuned machine, which I summarily dismantled with 15 plus years sitting behind a desk. So my head says ATHLETE, my body says not so much. My only chance when the zombies come is thatthe person next to me ate an extra burrito for lunch! Man I have got to clean my treadmill off. 

Wayne Simmons: Running. Seriously, a good pair of trainers and the common sense to uproot and fly at the first sign of trouble will up your survival chances no end. We all love the have-a-go-heroes in zombie books and movies, but were the z-poc to happen for real, those guys would be the first to go. The runners and the hiders: they’re the guys who’ll last longest.

You’re on a long business trip, 1,000 miles away from home when the Zombie Outbreak begins. What do you do? Find a place to hole up and wait out the wave of undead or grab your gear and attempt the classic cross country Zombie Apocalypse Road Trip?

Jesse Petersen: Road Trip! Seriously, I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from trying to get to my husband and family. So I’d be road tripping it and I’m sure I’d pick up some crazy sidekicks (one of whom I’m sure I’d have to kill at some point).

Scott Kenemore: I think a lot would depend on the terrain.  Flat, desert areas would be the biggest challenge.  There would be nowhere to hide.  I think you want variations in terrain when fighting and hiding from zombies.

Mark Tufo: First off, that I’m a thousand miles away is bad news, my separation anxiety would be kicking into high gear by now. So yup I’m going to be that guy that treks across the country against all odds.

Wayne Simmons: The smart thing to do would be to hole up. But I’m something of a migrating man by nature so would probably go on the road trip. It’s curiosity, too. I’d want to watch the world around me going to hell rather than hide away in the arse end of nowhere, waiting for the zeds to wait for me. It would be the death of me, of course, but hell…

Stop what you are doing right now, and look around the place you currently are. What are the positive and negative aspects of your current location if undead hordes where heading your way right now?

Jesse Petersen: Well, I face a window, which is positive since I can see them coming, negative in that they can see me and if they break it, I’m screwed. I don’t really have access to weaponry here except for heavy things on my desk, but I have a few of those so I might be able to Shaun of the Dead a zombie (like they do with the records) and get to a gun if I needed to. It’s not the worst place, for sure, but it’s no bunker.

Scott Kenemore: I’m in a pretty tall building, so I think I’d be okay for a while.  Also, it has elevators.  Are zombies smart enough to operate elevators?  I’m thinking no.  Therefore, our first step is to barricade the stairwell…

Mark Tufo: My home has some decent positives in the fact that I live out in the sticks. Less people means less zombies. Defensive wise I have some holes but nothing a strategically placed Claymore mine wouldn’t take care of.

Wayne Simmons: Positive: I’m at home. I live in a ground floor apartment, situated at the back of the block. The garden’s secure and surrounded by a high wall.

Negative: We haven’t got much food in the cupboards. Almost no tinned stuff. Bugger…


In all the books and movies about Zombies that you have read, what one Zombie scenario do you feel is the least survivable?

Jesse Petersen: The faster the outbreak moves and the larger the population that is transformed at once, the worse it is. If it moves to animals, that’s it. We’re an extinct species and our planet goes back to the trees, I guess.

Scott Kenemore: Zombies on a sumbarine or airplane would be pretty terrifying.

Mark Tufo: Well with all the zombie movies and books I’ve devoured doesn’t seem to be any of them where folks do particularly well. Least survivable? I’d have to go with the countries that have banned or limited access to firearms. Sure you can kill zombies a hundred different ways, me personally, I don’t want to be swinging a hammer.

Wayne Simmons: The police station hole-up. Sure, you’ve got all the guns and ammo you need. But those doughnuts are gonna go stale real soon

What is the one quality that the characters of your books seem to share that has helped them to avoid joining the Zombie Smorgasbord?

Jesse Petersen: I think Dave and Sarah and everyone who works closely with them all share the quality of hope. They continue to TRY whether it’s try to get to a certain place, try to make life livable or try to get a cure. They don’t give up because they cling to the hope that things could be okay again. If you don’t keep that, you lie down and die.

Scott Kenemore: I think you have to be innately curious about zombies.  It’s not enough just to be terrified and run in the other direction.  People survive when they take a moment to figure out what they’re up against.  This means studying the undead and figuring out– to whatever extent this is possible– what makes them tick.  What do they want?  How do they try to get it?  Understanding these things is the first step to longer-term survival.

Mark Tufo: The main characters in my books seem to share strong bonds of family and friendship. The want and drive to protect everyone else even at the expense of themselves, I think that above all other reasons is why at least some of them have survived.

Wayne Simmons: They wear GREAT trainers…

Thanks to these great authors for their answers. Make sure to click the audio images above for my reviews of their books.

Audiobook Series Review: Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

22 05 2013

It’s no secret that I have become a fan of Mark Tufo. The experience of being a Mark Tufo fan is a unique on, one that needs its own clever name, like Tufooties or Tofunguys. Being a fan of Mark Tufo is like being a fan of your friend’s band. They may be raw and do things that mainstream rock bands would scoff at, but they are having so much fun doing it that it’s infective. I haven’t loved every moment. I found the novella that comes between the two man arcs of the series a bit on the head shakingly dumb side, but this is because Tufo is a risk taker, and isn’t bound by convention. This is a man whose main character, Mike Talbot, appears as a main character or some iteration of his exists in almost every series he has created. It’s a strange sort of multiverse that that I find fascinating.

The Zombie Fallout series has been a strange, wild ride. The original Zombie Fallout was a funny, disgusting, politically incorrect, horrifying relatively traditional initial Zombie Outbreak story, with only hints of things to come. The first three novels of the series started to flesh out the underlying mythology of the novel while Michael and his assortment of friends and allies attempt a cross country journey from Colorado to Maine, with some stops along the way. Along for the ride is Tommy, a strange boy that could be labeled special, who is more special than any of them can imagine.  In the initial book, Mike meets a strange, almost aware Zombie woman, and something about her just doesn’t sit right. He decided to not to kill her, and will regret that decision for the rest of the series. This woman is more than just a zombie, and more than just human and becomes the main nemesis of the series, focusing on and desiring the utter elimination of Michael and everything he holds dear.

The central theme of the first three books is Michael’s love for his family, and the loyalty to those in his inner circle. It’s not a clean apocalypse for the Talbot clan, the lose people along the way, suffer grievous injuries and even supernatural style psychic attacks. They lose a member of their group to Eliza, thus beginning the second arch of the series where the group goes on the offensive and takes the fight to Eliza. 

Last year, I listened to and reviewed all the first Three Zombie Fallout novels and the bridge novella. You can Click on the cover images below for my reviews. This year for Zombie Awareness Month, I decided to listen to a review the next three novels all in one series post.

The First Arc

The Second Arc

Zombie Fallout 4: The End Has Come and Gone by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

Tantor Audio

Length: 11 Hrs 11 Min

Grade: B+

Zombie Fallout 4 got the second arc rolling on the right foot. Mike and his friends and family are on the offensive looking to end Eliza and rescue one of their own. Along the way we reunite with some old friends and make some new. This had a lot of the feel of the early novels, yet told from multiple points of view, eventually all coming together for an amazing heart stopping finale. While the pacing at times was uneven, the ending was thrilling and brilliant and opened up a whole new avenue of exploration for this series. We even get to see some more in the evolutionary process of the zombies, which doesn’t bode well for out survivors. Long time fans of the series will find a lot of payoffs here, including the final resolution of one characters story. The End Has Come and Gone was a furiously fun novel with all the perfect Mike Talbot touches.

Zombie Fallout 5: Alive in a Dead World by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

Tantor Audio

Length: 11 Hrs 9 MIn.

Grade: B-

I found Zombie Fallout 5: Alive in a Dead World a bit disappointing. Now, it was still a lot of fun, but it did little to move the overall story forward, and focused a lot on some really annoying characters, particularly an old surly woman who for a moment I almost started to like until she turned into the spawn of Satan’s Evil Twin and another women who helps out Mike and his group, but has some of her own issues. Mostly, I felt Michael being away from his family and somewhat socially isolated in this tale contributed a lot to it’s disappointing tone. Michael is at his best when surrounded by his family, and here there were times where he just didn’t seem himself, for good reason. There were some especially gruesome moments, particularly one involving some cats, and some real emotional scenes, but I found the darker tone, lack of forward progress and focus on unlikable characters to hurt the book over all. I should add, the epilogues, while important to the mythology of the book just didn’t work for me as well this time.

Zombie Fallout 6: ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

Tantor Audio

Length: 14 Hrs 51 Min

Grade: B+

Whatever issue I had with Book 5 was more than made up for in Zombie Fallout 6: ‘Til Death Do Us Part. Mark Tufo pulls it all together in the excellent completion of this arc of the series. The highlight of this novel was the fleshing out of Eliza’s History leading up to her final confrontation with Michael. Along the way, we meet an interesting new character names Azile, and have a fun Zombie Road Trip and Zombie siege all in preparation for a kick ass finale that pays off for the listener as well as sets up the series for some new explorations. While there may have been a few bumps along the way, Tufo more than justifies the trust his fans put in him to create a fun yet nauseating Zombie apocalypse tale with characters you grow to love. I look forward to seeing where the series goes next, with so many tantalizing possibilities.


Sean Runnette may possible be Mark Tufo’s alternate universe twin, I’m just not sure which is the goateed evil version. It’s almost scary how well Runnette captures Michael Talbot and his band of family and friends. I have not listened to Runnette in other books, and it always takes me a moment to convince myself that Michael Talbot hasn’t become a narrator. I will always remember my first reaction when I started the first Zombie Fallout. I was totally, Who the hell is this guy? He sounds like Ray Romano with a head injury. It only took me a little while to realize just how perfect that was. Runnette seems to have truly grown into this world, bringing each character alive in special ways. Where he truly shines is capturing Tufor’s sarcastic and often corny sense of humor, making it feel authentic. For me, Zombie Fallout wouldn’t have been the same without Sean Runnette.


2013 Zombie Awareness Month

Guest Audiobook Review: The Book of Riley, Part 2 by Mark Tufo

20 05 2013


2013 Zombie Awareness Month

The Book of Riley 2: A Zombie Tale by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

Tantor Audio

Length: 2 Hrs 46 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse with Talking Animals

Quick Thoughts: Today my dog Munch stops by with a guest review of this action packed Zombie Apocalypse novella featuring Riley, Patches and Ben Ben. This time, the pack passes through Vegas where some humans are up to no good. Another fun entry to the series.

Grade: B+


Today’s Special Guest Reviewer

Hello people who read this. My Name is Munch, Ace dog detective and 20 lb ball of ravenous fury that intimidate all who walk past my patio window. Many of you may know my human Bob. For some reason he likes to sit in front of this box and make annoying sounds with his fingers instead of taking me for walks and sniffing things. He never sniffs things. When he does take me for walks, he always picks up this thing that makes noises into his earholes. Not sure what it’s called, but I like it because it means he’s going to take me out for a walk, except for when it means he’s going to take leave me alone with my cat sister. Now, I’m an ace detective and keen observer and I’m unsure why he actually needs to shove things into his ears, but I tend to pick up some of the human words that come out. Bunch of stupid stuff. Talk about zombies, robots and angry people yelling objection and hiding out in buildings with a bunch of kibble. Why he doesn’t just pay attention to the scent stories floating around in the air, I don’t know.

Recently I noticed he was listening to another one about the dead humans eating live humans again, but there was lots of talk bout this Riley bitch…. a dog. This caught my attention. This dog was an American Bulldog, so they say, but we dog’s don’t really care about the color and shape of other dogs as much as you humans do. I hear humans even get mad over who is sniffing who. Whatever. One day when Bob left, my Cat sister Cali, who can read human words told me that Bob wrote about this Riley bitch and the human word stories she was telling. What shocked me was that Bob told all the others who read from boxes that I’m wouldn’t be a good zombie dog, just because I choose to be a bit picky since I have the luxury to. Human’s make no sense. Us dogs adapt to any situation, and if I need to, I can take down any human living or dead that I need to, even if they make sudden moves or walk strangely. As a professional detective and intimidating watch dog, I’d be the perfect zombie dog.

Munch on the Case

So, the next time Bob listened to his human word stories about this Riley bitch, I paid attention. It seems this Riley, his pack mate Ben Ben and his cat sister Patches had two herd two of their humans to a place called Collar Rado and on the way they have to pass through Vegas. Vegas is a big human place full of lots of lights and noise and bad people. I liked Riley, but I was often confused why she though of her humans as Alphas. Maybe it’s a bitch thing. I, myself am an Alpha, and my humans and cat sister cater to my every whim. Well, maybe not the cat.

Riley and Ben Ben made a strong team. Riley was put into a bad situation and the humans made her fight another dog, a Dober Man Pincher. I am part Miniature Pincher, whatever that means (I think the miniature refers to my stoic nature), but not a Dober Man. It sucked that Riley had to fight another dog because humans made her. I am always up for a fight, but I prefer using techniques like intimidating sniffing, tail bristling and sent marking to establish my dominance. Oh, and occasionally humping, in emergency situations. Riley was a smart dog. While she didn’t understand things like Eight and some human words, she knew her duty and did it, with the help of her Cat sister.

I found the relationship between Riley and her cat sister quite interesting. I like my cat sister. She’s one of the good ones. She gives me advice and helps me figure out human things, and in return, I eat her food when the humans try to give her medicine. Riley’s relationship with his cat sister was more contentious. (Cali says that means they fought a lot.) It was funny though. I had a couple good sniffs over their antics. I also like Ben Ben, who always found a way to get treats, even in the Pocco Lips, whatever that is. The story was full of lots of stuff that humans like, like large bangs, fast moving human coaches and the true heroic nature of dogs. No mating or face smooching, though, thank the rainbow bridge.

Munch’s Cat Sister Cali

The human talking guy, Sean Runnette was interesting. Bob seemed to like him since I heard him bark once or twice while listening. Humans are strange though, he was obviously a human male and Riley was a bitch. He definitely made Ben Ben interesting using human words. Also, Patches the cat sister was a smooth talker. I could see Riley falling under her catty spells. My human seemed to really like this talking word story. We actually took longer walks why he was listening, allowing me to sniff and mark things to I ran out of my sweet juices. I’m sure looking forward to more of these talking dog zombie Poco Lips tales, since I can get some more walks out of it. And some of my favorite meat sticks. Plus, I’m intrigued by this Bacon thing. Need to ask the cat about that.

Note: Thanks to Tantor Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for Review.

Audiobook Review: Indian Hill by Mark Tufo

2 01 2013

Indian Hill by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

Tantor Audio

Length: 11 Hrs 13 Min

Genre: Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: While Indian Hill is often uneven, scattershot, full of disturbing situations, immature writing and cardboard action, Tufo’s engaging story telling style ultimately saves the day.

Grade: B-

Sometimes, when I read a book, I wonder if something may just be a bit off about me and a large percentage of the world as well. We often will read a book where people are put in horrible situations, forced to do horrible things, and call it entertainment. We often scoff with disgust at the mindless masses who cheer for the death and dismemberments in such books as The Hunger Games, yet, we too are getting entertainment from these stories. I often wonder, if there was ever an American Gladiators program, where the Gladiator’s fought to the death, how many of these people who are shocked by the events in Battle Royale, or The Running Man, would be tuning in. I read a review of The Hunger Games movie where the reviewer talked about her discomfort with the cheering of the audience when children, even though they weren’t Katniss, were killed. She wondered how closely the audience of the movie matched that of those cheering in the capital, all as pawns of the game. This made me think. Does the fact that I enjoy books where characters are forced to kill each other mean I lack some sort of empathy, or are on some level a hypocrite? I am also big fans of the TV show Survivor, where people lie, cheat and betray their closest allies all in the name of a big check and an arbitrary title. So, does this make me like one of the screaming fans, cheering for the young men walking to their death in The Long Walk? I don’t know if, in a future dystopia, I would be one of the brainless hordes, and I’m glad that it’s not a decision I have to make. Yet.

I really wasn’t sure what to think of Indian Hill, Mark Tufo’s Gladiatorial style science fiction tale featuring one of the alternate world versions of his stock character Michael Talbot. I am familiar with Michael Talbot through Tufo’s Zombie Fallout series and wasn’t sure if this Michael Talbot was supposed to be the same character from that series. Well, it wasn’t. I assume Tufo has created this character, and placed versions of him in many parallel worlds, often becoming the centerpiece in a fight for humanity. In Indian Hill Michael Talbot is just a typical, every day beer drinking, skirt chasing college student, in a stormy relationship with the girl of his dreams. One day, on a "just friends" date to Red Rocks, he and the entire audience are taken aboard an alien space ship where the men are forced to battle each other in gruesome gladiatorial style fights to the death. While Indian Hill is often uneven, scattershot, full of disturbing situations, immature writing and cardboard action, Tufo’s engaging story telling style ultimately saves the day. As I said in my less than glowing review of his Zombie Fallout novella Dr. Hugh Mann, Tufo is a no hold barred writer, who tells stories he believes fans want to read, without worrying about arbitrary things like editorial acceptance and literary value. So, for each book, he has just as much opportunity to write a fan pleasing winner as writing a head shaker. I had a lot of problems with Indian Hill. The novel is told in two parts, and the beginning was a solid, Stephen King style coming of age story with the latter part the science fiction, alien story. While both parts were interesting, it created an uneven feeling to the book in whole. I found the actions scenes to lack Tufo’s typically detailed choreography giving them a muddy, depthless feel. Some of the big fights came off rushed, leaving me under whelmed. I also was a bit disturbed by both the sexual violence towards women, although for the most part off camera, as well as the reward system harems. I understand what Tufo was doing, but it still left me uncomfortable. I felt like he was trying to use these situations to create strong women characters, yet it never was fully realized, missing an opportunity. Yet, despite these many issues, I ended up enjoying the raw style of the tale. Tufo is a storyteller, and this aspect of his writing never fails, just can often be muted by other issues. As a fan, you can’t help but to be drawn into this version of Michael Talbot. I like that here, Talbot wasn’t some badass former marine, but just some dumb ass kid who discovered a sort of cunning he never expected. I am quite interested to see where Tufo takes this tale, and how his evolution as a writer will progress. No matter what issues I may have had, I’m a fan of Mark Tufo and his twisted alter ego Michael Talbot.

Sean Runnette is the voice of Mark Tufo and Michael Talbot. In Indian Hill Runnette gives another strong performance delivering the quirky characters that jump off of Tufo’s page. Now, I have to admit, it’s a little strange at times, remembering that this isn’t the Michael Talbot from Zombie Fallout and having Sean Runnette makes that struggle all the more hard. Yet, Runnette really shines in the early part of the novel, with a younger, more naive Michael, and capturing the complex emotions hiding behind all the snark and bluster. Runnette helps smooth out some of the pacing issues, delivering a solid science fiction tale, with lots of humor. Fans of Mark Tufo’s previous audiobooks will know they are in the solid hands of a gifted reader.

Note: Thanks to Tantor Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.

Audiobook Review: Zombie Fallout 3.5: Dr. Hugh Mann by Mark Tufo

20 12 2012

Zombie Fallout 3.5: Dr Hugh Man by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

Tantor Audio

Length: 2 Hrs 42 Min

Genre: Zombie/Plague

Quick Thoughts: I really didn’t like Zombie 3.5, but luckily it is more of a background piece, creating a frame of reference for the history of the virus in the Zombie Fallout series. Plus, it’s short. So, even though I didn’t really like it, I say, if you are a fan of the series, go ahead and give it a listen. You may like it more than me and it does provide some interesting backstory on the virus and some of the characters.

Grade: C

So, I’m about to take a risk with my life, but, I have to be honest, I don’t think of Mark Tufo as a great writer. I think Mark is a great storyteller with an enthusiasm that bleeds into every word. I also believe that Mark is willing to take more risks than many other writers. One of the reasons Mark’s fans love him so much is that he writes for them, to tell them stories that he as a fan of the genres he works would love to read. He doesn’t hold back at all. If he decides that a brain sucking alien would simply just be awesome at this point in the story, then, some slimy green thing with brain sucking appendages will show up, damn the critics. This is something I like about Mark Tufo, but I also knew that it’s something that would eventually lead me to writing a less than stellar review of one of his works, because, in many ways, I like to think I’m a little like Tufo, and willing to write what I want despite knowing that it could lead to his legion of fans hunting me down and dismembering me. I think there is a great freedom with independent authors to simply write what they want to write. Those that do it well, and truly embrace their fans, dealing with them honestly and not just shilling at them, will find that genre fans are some of the most loyal people in the world. Yet, most writers will also tell you that not all ideas work, and more specifically, not all ideas work with all people. Sadly, this was the case for me with Mark Tufo’s Zombie Fallout Novella, Dr. Hugh Mann.

Zombie Fallout 3.5 tells the story of an early 20th century obsessive research scientist, who makes a discovery that captures the imagination of the public as well are the interest of shadowy governmental figures. Yet, when Dr. Hugh Mann realizes this this discovery could lead to tragic consequences, he must break out of his social awkwardness and figure away to keep a new deadly new weapon out of the hands of those who may use it. I totally appreciate what Mark Tufo was attempting to do with this story, but for me, it just came off kind of silly. Tufo’s patented humor and gift for the absurd is pushed to the extreme here, and some may enjoy it, but for some reason I was just unable to keep my head from shaking and my eyes from rolling. Listening to Dr. Hugh Mann reminded me of when your best friend finally meets your new friends and attempts to tell a really corny joke that just falls flats. You want to laugh to make it seem better than it was, but what you really want to do is hide in the bathroom and curl up like a baby. I also think that while the novella is positioned between Zombie Fallout 3 and 4, that people who have read book 4 probably would enjoy it more. I have yet to listen to Zombie Fallout 4, and some of the things that happen in this novella seems to play into a new plot thread that should be starting in that book. On the positive side, the middle of the novella, where the focus moves from Dr. Hugh Mann to his daughter, is much better and definitely provides a little more heart to the tale. Then, it sort of falls apart in the end with a segment at Area 51, but, that’s OK. Luckily, Dr, Hugh Mann is more of a background piece, creating a frame of reference for the history of the virus in the Zombie Fallout series. Plus, it’s short. So, even though I didn’t really like it, I say, if you are a fan of the series, go ahead and give it a listen. You may like it more than me and it does provide some interesting backstory on the virus and some of the characters.

So, Sean Runnette. He’s this guy that I know almost solely as the voice of Mark Tufo’s work. I see Runnette a bit like Michael Talbot, a bit goofy, a bit awkward, but he seems to get the job done. Runnette is best when he is bringing Michael Talbot to life, and since Michael isn’t a character in this isn’t the best way to experience Runnette’s work. Yet, he still manages to do a pretty good job with it. It’s obvious that Runnette knows and appreciates the world created by Tufo, and is able to consistently portray the characters, reminding you of their history. This is important for a background piece like this. Runnette manages to keep it feeling like a novel within this world, despite some of the overall weirdness of the story.

Guest Post & Giveaway: Mark Tufo & Fans on Fan/Author Interaction

5 06 2012

Last week, I posted a review of the third entry of one of my favorite new Zombie Apocalypse series Zombie Fallout 3: The End. Mark Tufo, the author posted a link to it on his Facebook page. He was happy with my review, which I gave a solid B grade. For me, giving a novel a B, especially the third book in an ongoing series, is pretty good praise. I had spent all of May listening to Zombie-themed novels, and Zombie Fallout 3 had been my 19th Zombie audiobook that month. Despite my Zombie fatigue, I really enjoyed the novel, and believed my review highlighted that.

Then came all the comments from Mark’s fans. Now, these comments were all positive. They were fans showing up to support their favorite authors. They told stories of how they hated to read before discovering Tufo’s work, or how one of his novels turned a member of their family into readers. Almost all of these comments declared that Mark Tufo was an A in their books. Someone even pointed out that I may not know good Zombie fiction if I only gave him a B.

I was blown away by the response. This type of passion doesn’t just come from the talents of an author. It comes from an author who takes his fans seriously. So, I contacted Mark and some of his fans and asked if they would be able to share their stories with me.

Mark is a self published author. His series was recently picked up by a top audiobook producer called Tantor Audio. With all the stories we’ve seen of prima donna behavior by self published authors, we often neglect the many that are doing it right. I believe Mark is one of those authors who is doing it right.

Now, I will turn this blog over to Mark and his fans:


Zombie Fallout – Readers and their author (me! – Mark Tufo)

Hi Bob, thank you for letting me have the opportunity to write a few words on your blog. I also appreciate the time you have spent listening to my books and giving reviews on them.

I’ve been asked this before from at least a dozen authors, What is your connection to your readers and more importantly how do you do it? I hope I don’t sound pretentious that’s not what I’m trying to convey. I think a lot of authors (not all) have a ‘I am superior to all others attitude’ and I think that comes across when they have communication with their readers, if they bother to write back at all. I’ve said it from day one and it’s just as true now as it was back then, I am a blue collar, former military man, raised in a blue collar, military family, I type two fingered and I have a few stories to tell that some folks find interesting.

I am humbled and honored EVERY time a reader contacts me to let me know that they got my book(s) and are in the process of reading it or have read it. I try to respond to every one of them in turn, I’ve always felt that if someone took the time out of their busy day to contact me then it is common courtesy that I do the same. This isn’t some super marketing ploy on my part although I do see the benefit of connecting with my readers. I can’t even count how many readers have thanked me for just responding to their queries, are you kidding me? I should be sending all of them Thank You cards for buying my books.

I love the interaction I have with my readers, I’ve received tons of suggestions on where folks think the books should head and at least a few (in jest) threats to my life should any of a couple of characters be injured or die at any point in the series. BT and Henry the wonder Bullie would be at the head of that list. I consider my readers to be extended family members of the Talbot clan, they root for some characters, they cry at the demise of some and hope beyond hope that a few others meet their untimely deaths. That they have a powerful enough connection to these characters to reach out to me, means that I am doing something right. I have created a world where folks can let all else in their life take a momentary backseat as they immerse themselves in this realm and I personally cannot think of a higher honor. Time is a precious commodity and that they are spending it with me and my stories is something I do not take lightly.

I am an un-established indie writer who most folks know little to nothing about, folks could spend their hard earned money on a million other books but that they get mine is humbling. I appreciate the time you have given me Bob to say a few words on your blog.

Web Site 

Facebook Profile


Amazon Author Page


Zombie Fallout Audible Page


Zombie Fallout 

Zombie Fallout 2

Zombie Fallout The End…

Zombie Fallout 3.5

Zombie Fallout 4 — The End has Come and Gone

Zombie Fallout 5

Indian Hill

Indian Hill 2

Indian Hill Conquest


Now, along with Mark, some of his fans have contributed their stories about interacting with him:

Rodney S. Carnahan – Mark Tufo Fan

I bought my first Zombie Fallout book just on a whim for my nook. I typed in “zombie” in the search box, and it came up. I figured, $2.99 and it may be good, what the hell. Well, wow was I hooked. His writing style just got me reeled in.

So after I devoured the first two books in the series I thought I would check to see if he had a Facebook account. By that time I had started on the third book.

You always see the movies or hear the stories about these wild marriage proposals guys do. Well Mark seemed to be a pretty reader friendly writer so I sent him a message. I asked him if he had any chance to include a proposal to my girlfriend in his next novel, I would be deeply indebted to him. He said sure, and a few weeks later, even let me write the proposal for the book.

You can read it towards the end of ZF4 when Mike and Gary are sitting on top of the roof surrounded by zombies. Mike decides to take a break and read the paper, just to pass the time
Well, then I just had to wait until the book got published. I downloaded it the first day and skimmed thru until I saw it. I got a huge smile on my face, and gave my nook to my girlfriend. “Oh my god, you’ve got to read this baby” I told her.
She couldn’t believe it. And kept asking if it was real. She said yes.

So now, we will be getting married July 14th. And the zombie genre is her new favorite type of book…

Barbara Bobbie Ayala – Mark Tufo Fan

In the beginning, I was a zombie nut, I loved all things zombie.  I would look for zombie books and movies high and low.  The unfortunate thing was that most everything out there stunk! This was before the big zombie craze that made all things zombie fashionable and cool. How fortunate for new zombie recruits to have such an opportunity now to have everything so easily presented to them. Not so for me, I had to HUNT for my fix.  And there was quite a few stinkers that I fell prey too.  I am a voracious reader and have been since childhood. I have a vivid imagination and reading is always a pleasure to me because I can picture the story in my mind and enjoy the mini movie that happens up there in the old brain pan.  So, getting to Mark and his books.  I found him on amazon and after having ordered some previous stinkers and a few keepers, I was keeping my fingers crossed on this one.  HOLY CRAP! When I got that book I was HOOKED!!! I loved his writing. He took the whole genre to a whole new level.  Mark’s writing had me laughing my ass off.  A writer who combined angst, fear, trepidation, anxiety, gore and HUMOR together was a rare find indeed.  He is a storyteller.  I fine art that few have the talent for.  I connected with him on Facebook and was absolutely delighted that he took the time to connect with his fan base. He sent me an autographed copy that I still have.  I actually have two copies of each of his books.  One for reading and one for, don’t you touch that book! I’ve read all his books in both his series more times than I can count.  And my husband and two of my girls are Tufo fan’s as well.  As his fame and popularity continues, he continues to make himself available to all us crazy zombie fans.. He and his wife Tracy bring together a wonderful collaboration of fan support and interaction.  It’s an unconventional membership to be sure, but I will truthfully say that Mark Tufo has done an incredible job of bringing together like minded individuals and creating a pseudo zombie world where having fun together and sharing experiences is a treat.  Yes I’m a zombie nut, but Mark made it fun to share my passion with others who had the same passion.  To top it all off, the dude is humble pie all over. He is a caring person, he and his wife go out of their way to include their fans in the progression of new books and have fun with us while doing it.  Including contests, giveaways, signed copies, unfair contests of the day.  My hope for Mark is that he becomes the next Stephen King, or Dean Koontz.  Not in comparison to them, but a stand alone author in his own right with his own fan base and own genre’. 

Lee Close – Mark Tufo Fan

How did I find Mark Tufo and his books is the first question, easy pure random luck on my part. As some one who loves Sci-Fi and Zompoc and Apocalypse style books I’m perpetually on the hunt for the next big read for me. So at this point I had pretty much read all of the Zompoc books on Amazon on my kindle so I did a random search and Zombie Fallout 1 popped up. At this point it was only 1gbp I thought oh well can’t hurt it will either be very good or really bad. Boy was I shocked I started reading and 8 hours I was finished ZF1 I was astonished so back I went and did a search for Mark Tufo and ZF2 and ZF3 and Indian Hills popped up so I bought them all.

Now nearly a year down the line I’ve read all of Marks books and to be honest there worth every penny, many people have asked me what’s so good about this guys stuff, well easy Mark’s stories pull at that bit of your psyche that asks what would I do in that situation, then you realize that the characters aren’t characters any more there people you know and when you look around you realize there’s a little bit of Mike Talbot in a lot of folks just as there is a little bit of Eliza in them. What is more important when you read the books they stop becoming a book and you can see the scene in your head you can almost smell it trust me in one particular battle that Mike had got into I had to put my sandwich down and I’m ex armed forces it was that visceral.
But wait there more these aren’t your run of the mill zombie books in amongst all the angst and grief and loss there is pure unadulterated comedy so much so I’ve actually sat on my couch laughing out loud with my wife looking at me like I’m crazy. As to Marks other books if you’re a sci-fi fan Indian Hill definitely hits the spot again that same sense of being there and seeing it all thru Mike Talbot’s eyes is there again. Mark has done something that any writers have failed and tried Mike Talbot in ZF is the Same Mike in IH, however there’s differences some subtle some not so but the thing is I’m not going to spoil it for a new reader my advice read ZF1 then read IH1 and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Mark is very much a people person he talks to his fans every day gets them involved in his books and his every day life which for many readers is a fantastic thing. I was also asked recently who Mark wrote like which kinda stumped me however I have an answer Mark is a Mix of Terry Pratchett/Stephen king and Isaac Asimov. I see a great future ahead for Mark and his books With ZF6 due out soon and IH3 and his new book Spirit clearing its a good year to start reading. PS the only book I haven’t read is Timothy yeah I’m scared of clowns I really don’t need the nightmares about that thank you very much lol.

Giveaway: This Giveaway is now over, and the winners are being contacted.

Tantor 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 them. You can check out my reviews of both novels by clicking on the titles above.

Entering is simple.

1. In the comment section, indicate that you are entering the giveaway.
2. In the comment section, answer the following question: It’s the Zombie Apocalypse and you are holing up in a secure underground bunker. What author would you want to be holed up with you, and why?
3. Let me know how to contact you, if you win.

This Giveaway will end Sunday, June 10th at Midnight. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator and contacted within 24 hours. If you fail to respond within 2 days of being contacted, I will move to the next person on the list. This giveaway is US only.



Audiobook Review: Zombie Fallout 3: The End

31 05 2012

Zombie Fallout 3: The End by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

Tantor Audio

Length: 10 Hrs 52 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse

Quick Thoughts: Zombie Fallout 3: The End is definitely a transitional book, developing the mythology of the series and moving the characters into place for upcoming conflict. Yet, unlike most transitional books, Zombie Fallout 3 has its own voice, and is a fun, compelling story within the arc of the series. Tufo balances a tightrope between dark hopelessness, and laugh out loud humor and reaches the other side with only a few scratches.

Grade: B

Endings are often bittersweet, but as we close out Zombie Awareness Month this ending isn’t just bittersweet, it’s also sort of strange. For a month dedicated to increasing awareness of Zombies and undead related issues, it seems almost prescient that for the past week the news has been full of stories about biohazards, chemical spills, mystery rashes, uncontrollable plane passengers, and attacks featuring biting and seemingly high tolerances to physical injury. Despite my love of the genre, I have never felt that a Zombie Apocalypse was anything more than a clever plot devise. Oh, I believe in the possibilities of a lot of potential apocalyptic cataclysms, but Zombies would have been quite low on my list. Sure, we hear the occasional reports from Africa about a disease causing children to fly into uncontrollable rages, but we chalk this up as over exaggerations of diseases with dementia like side affects. Yet, with all these stories, it’s hard not to symbolically hold your breath, waiting for the next blood drenched shoe to drop. I started Zombie Awareness Month with a road trip, oddly listening to Zombie Fallout 2, which is basically a Zombie roadtrip novel. I ended the month, listening to Zombie Fallout 3: The End, as more and more I begin to question whether or not The End will be upon us soon. It seems that the Zombie Fallout novels are the literary version of an ear wig, whispering to me words of doom and the impending end of all things.

Zombie Fallout 3: The End picks up right after the cliffhanger ending of Zombie Fallout 2. Michael Talbot family has again barely escaped another massive zombie attack orchestrated by Eliza, their chief zombie vamp antagonist. Now, Michael and company are recouping in what may be the last bastion of human controlled safety, an island base under control of the military. Yet, despite their feeling of safety, they know it’s only a matter of time before Eliza and her hordes show up again. Zombie Fallout 3 is another fun edition to the Zombie Fallout series, and does a good job establishing what to expect for the rest of the series. It continues to build its mythology, adding more supernatural details to the established Zombie Apocalypse scenario and revealing some key pieces of information about some of the characters. As usual, Mark Tufo infuses his desolate and viscerally putrid scenarios with an almost inappropriate humor that only underscores the desperate situations the characters find them in. There are definitely some plot holes in this edition, yet they are holes that have a potential for being filled in in interesting ways. Tufo also picks up some threads that he left dangling with the first two books, yet, they serve more as a tease for things to come then an answer to the lingering questions the series has invoked. Zombie Fallout 3: The End is definitely a transitional book, developing the mythology of the series and moving the characters into place for upcoming conflict. Yet, unlike most transitional books, Zombie Fallout 3 has its own voice, and is a fun, compelling story within the arc of the series. Tufo balances a tightrope between dark hopelessness, and laugh out loud humor and reaches the other side with only a few scratches.

I’m pretty sure that Sean Runnette would not want to meet me in person, because if I ever heard his voice, I would run over to him and start giving him suggestions on how to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. You see, in my world, Sean Runnette is Michael Talbot. He has totally become this character to me. Runnette brings this series to life for me in ways that only a narrator who has totally embraced his character can. He really has done such a good job capturing the tone and pacing of this series, bringing each character to life in interesting ways. I have even begun to accept his female voices, which I struggled with in the earlier novels. I have really come to enjoy this series, and the narration of Runnette and the overall quality production of the audio version have a lot to do with it.

Audiobook Review: Zombie Fallout 2: A Plague Upon Your Family by Mark Tufo

7 05 2012

Zombie Fallout 2: A Plague Upon Your Family by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

Tantor Audio

Length: 10 Hours 59 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse

Quick Thoughts: The Zombie Fallout series is a blue collar, gore filled zombie series that will appeal to people who are looking for their apocalyptic literature to offer a few laughs along with the horror and tension. While A Plague Upon Your Family suffers a bit from being the second book in the series, Tufo has created some interesting subplots that has me looking forward to the next edition of this undead saga.

Grade: B

One of the classic storylines that seem to permeate the Zombie sub genre is the Zombie Roadtrip. While you would think the tendency would be to hole up and fortify against the hordes of your friends and neighbors who now want to determine just how closely your flesh resembles the meaty taste of chicken, yet all too often our Survivors take to the road. There are many reasons for the Zombie Roadtrip. Perhaps you just can’t find someplace safe so your only hope to avoid slaughter is to stay on the move. Perhaps you have no stores of food saved up, and must move from place to place foraging cans of spam and Evian. Yet, more likely, there is someone you love, somewhere far away from you, and you just have to know that they are OK. I recently took a non-Zombie related roadtrip, traveling to visit my brother and his family in Alabama. One thing that struck me is the vastness of this country we live in. I traveled a mere 850 miles, a small fraction of the highways and byways of this country, much of it along the Metropolis of the East Coast, and despite this being some of the more densely populated space in this country, it is really quite spacious. There is a tendency for modern technology to make this world small. With a simple cell phone I can connect across thousands of miles. In my truck I can travel between Philadelphia and Alabama in a single day (if I push it.) Yet, strip away the trappings of modern society, where you are forced to scavenge for fuel and supplies, and transportation is unreliable, and this country because immensely bigger. Now, through in a dash of flesh eating crazies, and you have the Zombie Roadtrip.

Zombie Fallout 2: A Plague Upon Your Family by Mark Tufo starts off immediately where Zombie Fallout ended, with Michael Talbot and his family barely escaping the Zombie siege of Little Turtle. Now, the small band of Survivors, who along with the Talbot Family consist of Big Tiny, a large gruff African American, the Talbot’s lesbian neighbor, Tommy, a slow former Wal Mart greeter whose strange spirit guide may be more than a delusion, and Henry the English Bulldog, must travel across an apocalyptic landscape to Michael Talbot’s Mother-In-Law’s farm in North Dakota with a increasing host of zombies on their tales. Tufo does a lot of interesting things with Zombie Fallout 2. While much of the book is a by-the-numbers style Zombie Road Trip novel, he sets up supernatural elements to his story that will hopefully pay off in the later books of the series. While Zombie Fallout 2 is still full of irreverent and horrific fun, some of the fresh polish of the first novel has worn off. I wasn’t as engaged overall with the tale, but found a lot of what Tufo was foreshadowing in future editions of this series more interesting than the book itself. Michael Talbot has a sitcomy feel to his character, that comes off fresh and funny early, but risks becoming a one joke wonder quickly. Part of my problem is reconciling the goofy, politically incorrect demeanor of the main character with the hard core former survivalist, former military aspects of his story. Yet, despite some misgivings, I feel Tufo has a plan for this character and series and I trust him enough to feel like these uneven parts of his main characters persona will come together in the end. The Zombie Fallout series is a blue collar, gore filled zombie series that will appeal to people who are looking for their apocalyptic literature to offer a few laughs along with the horror and tension. While A Plague Upon Your Family suffers a bit from being the second book in the series, Tufo has created some interesting subplots that has me looking forward to the next edition of this undead saga.

While it took me a bit of time to get used to Sean Runnette’s offbeat narration in the first novel in the series, I was totally ready and willing for Runnette to once again inhabit the persona of Michael Talbot. Sometimes a role is just made for a certain actor, and I think this is one of those situations. One of the problems with this is I’m pretty sure, in my mind, Runnette will be typecast as Michael Talbot and if I listen to any of his other work, it will be hard not to hear Talbot in my head. I enjoyed most of his other characterizations. I felt he did a better job on the women character this novel, which I found to be his weakness in the first book of the series. He also handled the pacing well, and clearly delivered the action scenes. Yet, all of this pales in comparison to his ability to squeeze the humor and absurdity out of every scene in this novel. The humor is really what sets the Zombie Fallout series from so many other zombie novels, and Runnette delivers the laugh out loud moments perfectly. I definitely am looking forward to listening to the third novel in this series.

Note: a special thanks to Tantor Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.