“Amongst The Dead” (P)Review

I don’t usually like apocalypse or zombie stories. Apocalyptic stories are too emotional for me and zombies are just . . . well, they’re just gross.

I mean a werewolf is human except for one day a month, that’s when they’re dangerous.

I’m sure my family thinks something similar of me.

Vampires can talk for hours about all sorts of amazing things they’ve seen through their years of life.

A zombie not so much, they can’t even form a single word let alone a complete sentence. With my prejudice against Zombies, you’d think I’d never be able to read a story about them.

Over the holidays I was given an extra special sneak peak at a zombie story, actually I was given a peak at two full novels and the first seven chapters of the third book in the series.

The world created in “Amongst the Dead” is amazing. I read all but the last 10 pages of the first novel in one night. It was past midnight when I finally sat the novel down and went to bed. I woke up early the next day and finished the last 10 pages. It was so amazing. I felt like I was walking around (in safety) with the characters. The other novel and the few chapters took me a little longer not because I was tired of it but because life was getting into the way.

We move through the story by watching four people and their part of the Zombie apocalypse, they come together towards the end and still keep working together. Jens, Ines, Susanne and Bobby -I call him military dude (MD). I liked Jens right away. He’s a boy after my own heart needing coffee first thing in the morning. Ines, is amazing, she is a firewoman. She womanly but so strong and the firefighters she works with respect her. Susanne is the emotional outlet, but she learns to be strong when she meets Ines.

Bobby (MD) made me think he’d be a cocky solider, intelligent, and trained out the ears; maybe even to the point he’s dangerous. We see that he’s a good person too, he tries to save a little kid even suffering to save him. I was sure after a few seconds; he was going to be the hero that was just too perfect. When he meets Jens he becomes funny, and I found myself liking him, even laughing at his jokes.

I love how Ines and Susanne meet. Ines is at burning building with her crew. When the water in the hose stops, she goes out to the fire hydrant to find out why. A station wagon is on top of the hydrant! Susanne was in the station wagon when it crashed. She survived the crash and was able to get out. She’s sitting across the street crying when Ines comes out. It’s a start of a lifesaving friendship. It’s moving how often these two women are so strong.

I am so happy to read a novel that portrayed woman with such physical strength, and from a male author. Kudos, Mr. Salomons.

Bobby (MD) and Jens meet at a checkpoint. Bobby’s Military team is called to make sure that the people who are leaving town are healthy. They separate anyone who looks ill or has been bitten. Some bad stuff happens and Jens can’t cross. He’s stuck with Bobby, who made me laugh with his crude language. I’m not going to give you any of his jokes away. You’ll have to read it yourself. At times, I’m surprised, by what he’ll say, and it’s done so well that it makes you smile.

With a zombie story, you know the whole plot, STAY ALIVE, and don’t let the zombies eat you. Any zombie novel could have a few people doing what it takes to stay alive. Jens, and Susanne become stronger people, they learn survival skills that anyone could easily pick up. Bobby learns to be kind. I would say Ines learns a little of both, she finds herself. I kept waiting for a couple to appear out of these four, but one never did. I was sad. I wanted Bobby and Ines to fall in love.

I think I loved this book so much because it is written in a way I can handle the emotion. We’re given a few pages with one of the characters and we see him/her go from an okay or happy spot to a real bad situation. Instead of being forced into it, the author moves us to another character. He gives us a chance to back away from our love of the character and the danger before bringing us back a little calmer (calmer for that character because we’re moved when it gets bad for the character we’re with).  When we get back, we’re deeply invested in the character we just left and the real dangerous spot to the current character are a little easier to handle.

I really appreciated this, if it wasn’t for that I would have had to sit the novel down and not come back to it for a few days.

Now, my woman brain has to tell you something. There is a lot of talk about weapons, most with numbers, letters, and points. There’s talk of helicopters and airplanes. I don’t know any of it. I was able to stay along by thinking it must be a big, strong, whatever gun. Sometimes I’d ask one of my kids. If you don’t know anything about weapons, planes, or military talk, it doesn’t really matter.

Now, my mom brain: There is violence. It’s a zombie story; it’s kill or be killed. Sometimes the killing of zombies gets graphic. I would let my kids (tween and teenager read it). There is no sexual content…we are led to believe that at one point something happened (between Susanne and her loved ex-husband) but it isn’t described. There are one or two mentions of nudity, nothing graphic and it’s brief.

This is my first review, so I’ve searched for reviews high and low. I’ve noticed I’m suppose to rate the novel. I really hate rating anything, but I will attempt to rate this. Using a rating scale one to ten, I give it an eleven. Yes, an eleven, I rate this novel higher than the scale for a few reasons. The first reason, I have never been able to read an apocalyptic or zombie novel. To tell the truth I can’t even watch movies like this. The simple fact that I couldn’t stop reading is of HUGE importance. Second, I’ve actually reread this novel, rereading a zombie novel (in my case) is an amazing. Finally, I have started to watch some zombie movies and I’m looking forward to watching a particular zombie movie. My family is greatly confused and impressed by this change and offer praise to the genius who caused the change.

The sequel is set in Japan, the same Zombie apocalypse, but we follow Susanne’s ex-husband and friend. The third in the series is set in Africa, its same apocalypse, but now we’re following Jens brother. (A preview will be coming soon for the second novel, “Land of the Rising Dead”)

My enjoyment for this writer and all of the stories I’ve read so far is that he respects women. There are no snide remarks about our sexuality. His female characters are believable. At times, they are emotional, they sit down and cry for the mess they’re in or for their loss, but when it matters they stand up and fight. They do what needs to be done just like the men. I think this is so important. We as society and as parents need to teach our daughters to be strong and brave just like men. We teach them they can be or do anything, but there is still some eiffiness in a woman’s strength. It’s okay if we cry for a few minutes as long as we get back up and fight. This is something we all should remember in life. I love how he brought this into his novels.

This post started being a preview of Bobby Salomons’ novels. It wouldn’t be fair of me to tell you only about the two novels he’s written. You need to know all this creative soul is capable of. He not only writes but he’s an artist too. I’ve seen some of the logos and graphics he’s done for some writing friends. They are awe-inspiring. If you were looking for some art or graphic help, he would be the guy to go to.

Do yourself a favor and check him out. You can find his writing at Severed Limb Movement

Novel Website D2D Books

You can find his personal Facebook page at bobbysalomons and his Fan page at SeveredLimbMovement

He tweets @D2DBooks

My final note…

If you trust me, my beloved reader, GO to his blog and read his short stories. Believe me, if you never believe me again, if you enjoy what I have here you’ll love what he writes! Be warned some are downright scary, but they are so worth the read. He builds worlds that you’ll get lost in.

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