- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1187 KB
- Print Length: 219 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Severed Press (20 Feb. 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00IK9RQV4
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #965,375 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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One Undead Step Kindle Edition
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It makes no odds to this reader that the novel starts with the premise that the 1969 moon landings were faked. This reader is fairly clear on the definition of fiction, the fact that the writer has to make a plea asking readers to stretch their imaginations is quite sad and reflects badly on those of us who cannot watch a film, or television series or even read a book of fiction without wagging a finger. What happened to celebrating artistic licence? It must be a real downer to be you, you are that guy! Imagine you're at the movies, (very American), or the pictures, as we say in my part of England; Every audience member watching the screen is holding their breath, the soundtrack is pumping something high octane, famous star A, is chasing famous star B, down an alley, across a busy street, over a bridge, across another busy street, B manages to dodge one car and vaults over the hood of a second, just as A gets off the bridge, runs into the street and then bam, is knocked cold by the third car, a shiny new Cadillac. You jump up in your seat screeching, 'That would never happen, cos General Motors did not introduce the Cadillac CTS until 2002 and this film is set in like 2001'.
You are that guy!
(A survived cause he is famous).
The American government, and apparently the Russians, are bringing opium to the masses in the form of a well timed hoax. Get the public concentrating on puffing up their chests with national pride and they won't see the danger in their midsts, clever.
I loved this multi-viewpoint, character driven, what if scenario. We even get a zombie's and a dog's eye view of the situation, unique. There is a lot going on besides the usual zombie fare of chase, chomp, chomp. Don't get me wrong, we still get the chase and chomp, but these characters are well imagined and realistically written. Any sympathy you might have for one side character at the beginning, swiftly turns on its head when you realise he really got what he deserved. We meet a few more of the sidelined and usually insignificant characters, McClellan shows us how important these side characters are because in reality they are us. They are written in much in the same way fans of Stephen King will be familiar with. The ordinary Joann's, the Randy's to name just two.
McClellan aptly pays homage to the master, as Romero's iconic 1968 Night of the Living Dead even gets referenced by several characters. The one film above all else that has influenced every zombie book, graphic novel, film and television series since its release.
It is not a particularly long book, but it feels much longer simply because of the wealth of action, no pointless descriptions, tight dialogue, no scene is wasted.
A well written, enjoyable and intelligent tale, I will be keeping a close eye on Mr McClellan in the future.
I read this and liked it, end of review.
Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This review was first posted on www.darknessbeckons.com
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Ian McClellan killed it with One Undead Step. It's terrific.
It's set in the late 60's in the southwest in the midst of a terrible zombie outbreak. To buy them time and distract the country from the dilemma unfolding, the government decides to fake a moon landing.
It sounds crazy, is crazy, and is fun as hell. Great, pure, original Romero feel, with solid (dare I say tasteful) levels of gore, and a large cast of believable characters.
To be fair and open, I found a couple of typos, the Kindle file I read had two formatting glitches, and Ian name drops other authors in the field throughout the book, and those were the only complaints I can think if. If I could give the book 4.75 stars, I guess I would, but let's not be that fussy.
Here's the biggest compliment I can give this book: It feels like it's taking place in the 60s, in the Romero-era zombie style outbreak world, and reads cleanly as such. It's a great period-piece visit for the zombie genre, and I highly recommend it.
Great job Ian. Lots of fun.
Normally, Will would have been thrilled with a huge crowd gathering at his bar. Especially without having to put on a "happy hour" to do so. But the new crowd goes wherever the new delicacy can be found - and that just happens to be live humans. Zombies are well known for eating and not ordering drinks - and hell - they would probably just try and shuffle off without paying the tab anyways. While it is bad business for your well paying regulars to be eaten by non-paying Zombies - paid in full tabs and no tips are the last thing that Will is currently concerned about.
Across the city, a mob boss is having issues of his own. Nicky "No Nickname" Fratelli is racking up a body count - and not one of them is even a good old family "hit". In fact - it is mostly his own goomba's and muscle that are winding up dead. But Nicky notices that they don't stay exactly "dead" for long. With just his most loyal bodyguard, Paulie Hammerhead - Nicky makes his way over to Will's Tavern for a nice cold one while he tries to wrap his brain around what the hell is going on.
Rounding out this team is a family with a klepto kid, a stuffy father, a wife that has eyes for about anything that moves, and a 15 year old daughter who is just trying like crazy to latch onto anyone who can get her as far away from her family as possible. Oh yeah, and a few bar patrons who decided not to be on the menu, but most of them are falling down drunks.
So, if you were in charge of the country and the Zombies decide to have a convention in a city in the middle of nowhere, what would you plan on doing? Well, you could send in the army and wipe out the Zombie horde. Or, you could do what comes naturally to politicians and start spinning, lying, and creating a diversion. How about a moon landing to distract everyone? The fact that there isn't anyone really in space to land on the moon poses just a small problem. That is until B-Movie director Mark Mathews is caught in a very compromising position and the army makes him a deal. Make a movie, quick - featuring us landing on the moon. It doesn't have to win any Academy Awards - it just has to be believable.
With all of these moving parts, one thing remains constant. Zombies must eat........
OK - I am going to admit something that will probably make everyone gasp is shock. I can honestly say I have only watched two movies featuring zombies in my lifetime - "Abraham Lincoln Zombie Slayer" (just because it looked so horrible!!) and "World War Z". Not a single zombie book. So by no means am I an undead aficionado.
"One Undead Step" by Ian McClellan may have gotten me to turn a corner. McClellan had a great paced story, and I was really liking all of the characters - that is, until they got eaten. I was kind of surprised that there are no picky zombies when it comes to food - not one "I won't eat my broccoli" finicky eater exists among them.
McClellan also delighted me with a chapter written from the zombie's point of view. Again, I don't have much experience in this genre - but I thought it was brilliant. Short chapter, kind of focused on a single point - but apparently zombies are not great multi-taskers - so I guess I understand!
Anyways - you need to quit reading this blog post and download this book. I need to quit writing anyways and get myself some steak cooked very rare now.......
McClellan starts off with a familiar premise, one that's been run into the ground in fact: a group of plucky survivors in an American urban center face down the zombie apocalypse with nothing to rely on but their wits, and each is paid back in kind according to their moral compass (jerks die horribly, heroes die heroically, and plucky kids survive.) If you've read more than one zombie book you've heard this story already.
As I read on, though, I realized that my familiarity with this premise was what McClellan was counting on, and possibly preying upon. As the book progresses, he slowly fills in some fascinating details that gradually turn the narrative on its ear. With clever flourishes like a gangster named Nicky "No-Nickname" (get it?), a rather perverse story of statutory rape that ends as it must, and always, always in the background a seemingly unrelated B-story about a director faking the moon landing, McClellan gradually draws us in to a tale that's not been told before.
ONE UNDEAD STEP is "Mad Men" meets "Night of the Living Dead." Where the latter was a product of the '60s played straight, the former was an attempt to re-create an era through its anxieties and foils, also played more-or-less straight. I admired how McClellan tries to do the same with ONE UNDEAD STEP. As with any historical drama, occasionally the satire was a little too on the nose, but I don't remember anything especially egregious along the lines of, "Look, we're smoking on a plane because people used to do that back then isn't that craaazy?" or "Wouldn't it be cool if someday we had phones we could carry around with us?" McClellan's depiction of the '60s was aware but nuanced, without ever resorting to easy targets.
For a long stretch of this book I was wondering why the moon landing plot was even there. It felt completely shoehorned in. By the end, though, I realized that this was by design, so that McClellan could smash us over the head with a Shyamalan-style twist. Believe me, by the end, the title and the focus on the moon landing and not just "Mad Men" style '60s shenanigans becomes fully deserved.
If you love the shambling dead but you've been waiting for someone to do something new with them, your wait is over. Grab a copy of ONE UNDEAD STEP now.