Welcome to Woofer's Lair. Curious as to what you will see here? Well, for the most part, you will find book reviews, maybe the occasional movie review, and if you are lucky, you might stumble across one of my own works in progress. If you like what you see or what read, and even if you don't, please feel free to leave your comments. As I am somewhat new to blogging, all of your constructive feedback is appreciated. Have fun and thanks for stopping by.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Twenty-five years ago, Roland McAlister was at the top of his game. He was a championship wrestler, had money in the bank, and a wife waiting for him at home—and a "rat" in every town he stopped in... and by rat I don't mean the rodent. That's what he called his hook-ups, his mistresses, the flavor of the day, which gives you some idea of what kind of guy Roland really was. In Detroit, there was one woman, Gloria, who he claimed to really have a connection with, but when she comes to him to let him know she's pregnant, she's out like yesterday's trash. There was no way he was going to be a father to this whore's little rugrat.
Jump twenty-five years to present day and Roland is just a shell of the man he used to be. Having suffered a heart attack, he is now confined to a wheelchair. Life is good, or as well as it can be given his condition. He has a wife who loves him (wife No. 3) and a steady income from some illegal dealings (steroids) on the side. All that is about to come crashing down around him when he receives a phone call. From Gloria's son. Who, after twenty-five years, wants Roland to be a Daddy to him. And he'll stop at nothing to get what he wants, and I mean nothing. The cover gives you some idea what extremes he will go to to get Roland to be his Daddy. The guy is a real sociopath.
The story in and of itself isn't a bad story, but it's a perfect example of an author who has cranked out a story and put it up on the Kindle self-publishing platform before editing and proofreading his work, and that's where the story suffers. Typos, missing words... and the most lethal mistake an author can make, Clendening lost track of which character he was talking about. *SPOILER ALERT* Cory, Gloria's son, has just killed Rosemary, Roland's wife. Being a good kid, Cory cleans up the mess before leaving Roland to think about what he has done. Yes, Cory thinks Daddy is responsible for Rosemary's death because all the old wrestler had to do was agree to spend some time with Cory, get to know him, be a father to him. If he had a greed to that, Rosemary would still be alive, but Roland had refused. Now, sitting alone, he decides to get to the bottom of things and reached for the phone. "I hadn't spoken to Rosemary in twenty-five years..." Hello? Rosemary is dead. Your son just blew her brains all over the sewing room. If you want to talk to her, you'd do better picking up a Ouija board than the phone. Clendening doesn't catch his mistake until the next scene, so during the entire phone conversation with Gloria, he's talking to Rosemary.
The ending itself is interesting, as the conversation with "Rosemary" reveals something that throws Roland for a loop. The thing is, you have the reveal, then nothing. It ends, and it leaves you wondering... What? How?
Had the story been cleaner, more polished, it would have been a decent read, but as it stands now, it's an embarrassment to the author and I would seriously recommend he unpublish it, polish it up, then re-post it. Until that time, this is one you should pass on.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Pied Piper of the Undead tells the story of a 13-year-old survivor of the Zombie Apocalypse. As far as Peter knows, he is the only living person in his hometown. This would be hard for anybody, but for a child, it could be particularly devastating. Put yourself in the child's position—while on a scavenging run you encounter people you used to know, people you can put a name to, people you ran into on a daily basis, maybe said hello to, and now they want to eat you. Your best friend, the girl at school every guy wanted to be with, the school lunch lady, and yes, even your parents. This is what Peter has to endure on a daily basis. When we encounter a zombie, we see it through the boy's eyes, and unlike like so much zombie fiction, they aren't The Monster, The Zombie, or The Biter, or whatever naming convention that author has assigned to his walking dead. Whetzel has chosen to assign every zombie a name, a former occupation, which is what makes Pied Piper of the Undead so emotionally jarring. It's almost as if Peter hasn't fully grasped the fact that these things are no longer the people he used to know. On one level he does, as is evidenced by the fact that he stays above ground level whenever possible, choosing to live on the platform of an elevated water tower, but on another level he seems to be in denial of those whole situation. This is particularly evident when he encounters his best friend and his parents. If you have a heart, these scenes might very well bring tears to your eyes.
Again, if you follow my reviews, you're waiting for the "But...", and there isn't one. Some aspects of the story might have some readers rolling their eyes, like how Peter knows to stay off the streets and how he successfully manages to get around town, but given the boy's fascination with hand-held video games, it doesn't come as any surprise that he has figured this out. As far-fetched as it might seem, it seems perfectly logical within the confines of the story, and something I didn't even bat an eye at. It just shows the ingenuity of a child and the extent to which his imagination can stretch in order to survive.
Given the nature of the story, I can't really say too much about it without giving anything away. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed the story immensely and... Oh wait... I lied. There is a "but", one problem that I had with the novella that could easily be rectified if the author sees fit to humor this reader and correct the problem.
The one problem I had with Pied Piper of the Undead is the ending. While satisfactory, it does leave you hanging, and this reader wants more, so I can only hope Mr. Whetzel decides to continue the story. Other than that, no other issues. Surprising, huh? I would suggest, however, that the author clean up the language a little. Not that I'm a prude or anything, I just feel that by doing so he would make it more appropriate for a YA audience. Should he do that, and extend the story to novel length, he just might give Maberry's Rot & Ruin a run for its money. Pied Piper of the Undead is that good. Highly recommended.