Blood Soaked & Contagious by James Crawford

Blood Soaked & Contagious
by James Crawford
350 Pages
Published by Permuted Press, March 30, 2013
Genre: Horror

Reviewed by Paul (The Audiobook Reviewer)

I am not going to complain to you about my life. We’ve got zombies. They are not the brainless, rotting creatures we’d been led to expect. Unfortunately for us, they’re just as smart as they were before they died, very fast, much stronger than you or me, and possess no internal editor at all.

Claws. Did I mention claws? I kill them for a living, but it’s as much a vocation as a freelance career choice. It helps me, helps my neighborhood, and the people I consider to be my family of choice. What’s more? I’m really good at it.

My life had a nice rhythm, and I'd almost gotten used to it, but the military bungled an attempt to wipe out an organized bunch of undead near a major commuting route into DC. The formerly-human survivors relocated. Now they’re less than an hour’s stroll away from where I live.

The new Zombie Overlord is smarter, crazier, and much more well-equipped than anyone we'd dealt with in the past. We have something he wants, badly. I know he's going to come and get it and try and wipe us out in the process... men, women, and even the children. I'd seen it done before elsewhere for lesser reasons. This is my home. These are my people, my family. This is personal.

I have to admit that I absolutely had to give Blood Soaked & Contagious a listen as soon as humanly possible, just from reading the summary. Smart zombies are always an intriguing concept and if done right could be very entertaining. Usually I enjoy those zombie apocalypse stories that offer something more than the Romero style, slow, dumb, constantly after you zombies. Hoping as always that I can enjoy and not have too high of expectations.

Zombie Fallout fans or Mark Tufo fans in general, there is now another player on the zombie apocalypse front and his name is James Crawford. Crawford has created his own unique variety of walking dead, faster, stronger, meaner than the humans they once were, with one important note, they are no smarter that they once were. Along with that there is the protagonist Frank, a zombie killer for hire that is an amazing mix of Micheal Talbot and Rambo. With his ultra macho demeanor and non-stop sarcastic thoughts and comments that on more than one occasion made me spontaneously laugh out loud, really I didn't even know it was happening until it was. I got more than a few "looks" from my wife and coworkers. 

Often times I find that zombie audiobooks try to take themselves so seriously that they miss the connection with the listener. That was not so with Blood Soaked & Contagious: Blood Soaked, Book 1, Crawford doesn't seem to take the whole zombie apocalypse very seriously and that is what made it so much fun. Non stop drama, inappropriate situations and comments,  and as the title suggests, blood soaked and disturbing action scenes that kept me engaged and wanting more. I have already gone and purchased book 2 to the series and wish I didn't have other books in the queue right now.

This was my first experience listening to David Stifel ,and after washing all of the blood out of my ears find myself wondering, "Where have you been" and "Why have I not found you sooner". I do have to admit that I was not too keen on him at first, mostly because he sounded like he was trying to sound like Sean Runnette. Then I realized that he just sounded similar and it was really the combination of him with the writing style of Crawford that made a special little marriage in my head. Stifel did not miss a beat, going from being full of seriousness to well timed inappropriate sarcasm. While his characterization was not the best, I didn't care. I was transfixed. With audiobooks it really comes down to the narration, for me, and without a good narrator a great story can be turned into just ok. Or in the case of Blood Soaked & Contagious: Blood Soaked, Book 1, a pretty good story was turned into amazing and left me wanting so much more.

About the Reviewer:

Paul was sucked in to the world of audio books not necessarily by choice but by necessity . One day at work he needed something to stimulate his brain will toiling away in front of my 3 computer screens. He tried music but that gave him a headache after a while. Then he had an epiphany, “I should listen to audio books”, he thought. And there the journey began. 

Paul is not a professional writer or reviewer or book critique. He is a self proclaimed simple man from the Midwest of America that likes to speak his mind and often has trouble writing about what is on his mind. Find more reviews at

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