Thursday, March 03, 2011

Plague Apocalypse: Survive and Spitting at the Devil: A Book Review

Author: M. Joseph Schuhler Jr.

The Plague Apocalypse: Survive is a novel of a hundred and fourteen pages, from first time author M. Joseph Schuhler Jr. This horror novel has been available in book form since April 8, 2010. The format reviewed here was an e-book and the Plague Apocalypse: Survive is the first story in a larger series. The events in this novel take place in the United States, as a supernatural phenomenon sweeps the nation. Soon, the dead rise and the earth is descended into darkness. Christian themes try to make sense of red horizons and dark moanings, while central character Burt does his best to simply survive.

The book follows a mostly standard zombie apocalyptic style, with one addition. The devil made me do it, is what most of the undead creatures would speak, if they could do anything other than bite others. Instead, they feebly chase after those uninfected. Those unchanged are whittled down quickly and soon, ex-Marine Burt is leading a small group of five survivors. A helicopter offers a heavenly escape, while Dante's Inferno ravishes the world below!

The one element, outside of the quality writing, that stands out, is the brevity of this novel. Plague Apocalypse: Survivor was read by this book reviewer in one extended sitting. Others will likely devour this horror novel in even less time. Yet, the quality of Schuhler's first book is what makes this novel a quick read. There are few missteps in the authorship and the linear plotline allows for a hasty dissolvement from consciousness to subconscious.

The characters in the novel are mostly one-dimensional survivors, doing their best in a hostile environment. Lori Bowland also notices the depth of the characters: "the author's characters are interesting but I would have liked to know more about each of them" (Living Dead). This reader was wondering of the characters' families. Where were they when the undead meltdown occurred? Why is Burt teaming up with a group of EMTs, rather than returning to his family?

As well, some of the character's actions seems strange. Burt and his crew are re-supplied by an Army helicopter. Yet not much later, they are crossing roofs, break and entering shops, and searching for a new hideout. These actions are necessary for pacing, but they also seem odd, when the team is already prepared with food and drink.

The ending of this novel leaves the potential of a second in the series and undead fiction fans might enjoy the other-worldly source of this novel's infection. A short read, Plague Apocalypse: Survivor will keep you turning the pages, as you look for the meaning in the mystery of an unending night, and a zombified US. Pick this one up at the Sinister Press website, or submit your own horror story to this publishing company, marked below.

Grammar/structure: 8 (only a few spelling mistakes, flows well).
Believability/characters: 7 (this is fiction, the character's movements needed some explanation).

Overall: 7.5 out of 10 (enthralling, with few drops in pacing).

Plague Apocalypse: Survivor at Sinister Press:

Plague Apocalypse at Sinister Press

A second review of this novel is here, from Lori Bowland:

Lori Bowland at Living Dead Media

Available for under $6 at Amazon:

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