The King of Clayfield
"In the small town of Clayfield, Kentucky, an unsuspecting and unprepared museum curator finds himself in the middle of hell on Earth. A pandemic is quickly spreading around the globe, and in less than a day has turned most of the residents of Clayfield into murderous zombies. Having no safe haven to which he can flee, he decides to stick it out in his hometown. However, zombies are not his only concern. He must also contend with other survivors, his lack of skills, and his own conscience."
All That I See
"The zombie apocalypse rages on. In the small town of Clayfield, Kentucky, survivors attempt to carve out new lives for themselves. There is hope that eventually Clayfield can be secured, but first the undead must be eliminated and law and order must be restored. Unfortunately, the survivors might not ever get to implement their plan. Gangs of looters continue to strike the town and news filters in that something worse could be coming."
I made the folly of reading All That I See before The King of Clayfield. Because the second story picks up where book one leaves off, I was easily confused from references to events in the first book. After having now gone back and read the first book, everything tumbles into place. I urge you to read them in order. That being said, both books were an easy read and I found myself immediately engaged by both.
There is no definitive genesis to the outbreak explained in either book, however for me the story was less about infection origins and more about the character development. Gregory's characters are believable and true to life. The King of Clayfield begins after an outbreak of the Canton B virus. Told from the perspective of a museum director (I spent over an hour going back through the books trying to track down the main protagonists name and finally searched the web and discovered Gregory never named him, sneaky little bugger!), The King of Clayfield chronicals the survival of a small group faced with numerous obstacles. Once again, I'm not disappointed by the number of idiots and deviants an apocalypse gives rise to. All That I See continues the saga of 'he who shall not be named' and friends. Instead of running for the hills to find safety and infection free zones, survivors decide to make a stand in Clayfield, Kentucky. Having the foresight that most would not, they try to become sustainable on their own as opposed to looting the local Wal-Mart. This saga really portrays the old adage of 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime'.
Gregory's writing has unexpected and inventive twists and turns the likes zombie fans have not yet seen. It's got to be hard to (successfully) set yourself apart in such a niche genre. Fans have clear opinions and expectations of what items they need to see in zombie fiction. So my hats off to Shane Gregory for creating some new gems to surprise readers. While I'd love to talk about them here, I'd hate to deprive future readers of their own discovery.
The devil is in the details; and there is no shortage of exquisite description in this series. I love when I can get lost in a book, close my eyes and see a scene play out like a movie. To me, that is the sign of a talented writer. Gregory's writing is so fantastically detailed that I can nearly feel the loss of characters, the pain of a bite, the sting of deception, and the disgust of the horrible acts man has the capacity to carry out.
I rated both of these books 4 out of 5 stars. But I want to qualify my ratings. Shane Gregory's writing is immaculate. I was hard pressed to find a single issue with the editing and grammar. I've stated above that he uses descriptions masterfully and there is nothing technicality wrong with either book. My only reservation of giving 5 stars is based on the characters themselves and the difficulty I found in connecting with some of them. At times I found the male character whiny and shortsighted, and I questioned how he was able to stay alive. How he managed to be the Casanova of the apocalypse really baffled me at times. I also didn't enjoy reading about Jen, more specifically that I didn't like Jen as a person; I found her abrasive and needy. That being said, these characters were still well written and their shortcomings in no way deter me from salivating for book three, Fire Birds, due out soon.
Now, I know what you're thinking...book reviews aren't supposed to have 'I' statements. Let's get real, it's all about me and the experience I had while reading the book. So I'm a little egocentric...find me a woman that isn't! All me, all the time, the all me network. (Oh ya, and the authors and their books too LOL)
Don't let the 4 star rating fool you. Both The King of Clayfield and All That I See are worth the purchase. They have the key ingredients for an exciting weekend read. You can pick up a copy on Amazon or Smashwords by clicking any of the links below or click the book covers.
The King of Clayfield (Book 1)
All That I See (Book 2)
I've got to take a minute here to talk about the publisher. Permuted Press does an excellent job selecting authors and titles. Having read nearly half of their books, I have yet to be disappointed by a single one with the Permuted stamp. In fact, I enjoy them so much, they are usually my first stop in selecting my next read.
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