John is a killer, but that wasn't his day job before the Apocalypse.
A businessman trapped in New York, John rushes to get to his wife just as the dead begin to rise. In a harrowing 900-mile race against time, he sees firsthand the horror of what man is capable of and soon learns that zombies are the least of his worries. Teaming up with an ex-army pilot named Kyle, they escape New York only to stumble across a man who says that he has the key to a rumored underground stronghold called Avalon.... Will they find safety? Will they make it to John's wife before it's too late? Get ready to follow John and Kyle in this fast-paced thriller that mixes zombie horror with gladiator-style arena action!
©2013 S. Johnathan Davis (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
More thought and input from test readers. Some of the situations in this book are just not believable, and if situations frustrate me as a reader I quickly go off the book.
Also, more and clear detail on the characters would have helped. I didn't buy the Kyle character because he is supposed to have seen action as some kind of infantry and as a helicopter pilot. But we get no details on how this was possible and what units he served with for this to happen. Overall I found the characters a little flat, and Kyle not showing himself to have had military training on multiple occasions.
Plenty of situations sadly. Everything that happened in the town with the siren was just ridiculous, or at least badly written. Are we to believe two men stayed pinned down by a woman in a bathing suit, armed with a deadly cigarette? And then when three armed men join her they apparently could escape with ease if they wanted to do so.
Then a little later how they deal with the woman inside the house - or rather how they don't deal with her - is just not likely. Certainly if Kyle is supposed to be military.
I also found Avalon to be a total farce. If anything all I got from it was that the author might have issues with the 1% elites in his country and used the book as a weapon. Society may well collapse and people may go nuts in any post-apocalyptic world, but a whole bunch of wealthy elite acting like this only a few days after the fall, when most of them would not have seen any hardship at all so far, just didn't come over as likely at all.
The narrator was pretty good. A little overly eager and dramatic at times, but largely gave the scenes the right feel and he seemed into the story himself, which helps.
Frustration mostly. The book could have been better if the author had put more thought into the scenes. Most of them could have worked if he had looked at it again with thought to how people would act in those situations, and how someone with military training would also. For example the fight by the pool. Kyle's actions after the fight would have been different if he had military training. IE he would strip weapons and secure their location from threats before worrying about Michael.
This book could have been good, but for me the unending flaws in the scenes just annoyed me. I mean really these two guys are going on a 900 mile road trip though zombie infested America and not once do they think to maybe check out airfields for a helicopter? Plenty of small fields that would be far less risky than towns or even the roads.
"A "road story"--with zombies!"
John is a mid-level functionary at some company or other, sitting in a meeting at the head office in Manhattan. Suddenly everybody gets an alert text to the effect of "Stay in your homes! The dead are coming back to life!"
Of course everybody cracks up laughing and the meeting goes on. But when it ends, reality barges in--the alert text wasn't lying. Worse, John's wife is about to give birth down in Georgia: 900 miles away. He has to get back there. John and his tough new friend, former soldier Kyle, are facing a lot of clogged roads, bandits, and of course there's that whole zombie problem. Will they make it in time?
If this sounds like a "road story," that's what it is--a road trip movie in book form. John and Kyle get into and out of trouble as they go on any way they can, siphoning gas, meeting some new people, and making stops that, in hindsight, were probably not such a hot idea.
Fans of this genre will probably recognize most of the mise en scene from elsewhere--but so what? First-time novelist Davis keeps the story going, with plenty of hand-to-hand combat and close calls. 900 Miles is imaginative without being over-the-top. And it's not too depressing, either, thanks to protagonist John's grimly humorous outlook.
One issue--in terms of the actual writing, Davis is hardly Henry James or T.S. Eliot. But again, so what? For me, the story's movement made up for any grammar problems. Besides, this is a zombie novel; when I want something literary, I'll go shop in the literary fiction section.
Narrator Jamison Jones does a competent job; I could tell he was as interested in what was going to happen next as I was. Overall, a fun ride and definitely worth a credit. Looking forward to the next installment in this series!
"funny zombie thrill ride"
as the story opens, john is in a meeting in nyc when he and everybody else get a text message that the dead have come back to life and have started eating the living. at first, everybody thinks it's a prank, but as they turn on the t.v., the news reports otherwise. john's group is trapped in an office building with only a thin pane of glass between them and the street. utterly paralyzed, they watch others in a similar situation while planning their escape.
in the lobby, john meets kyle. he's the security guard. kyle is an iraqi war vet who flew choppers. as they all search for weapons, the only things they come across is a broom stick and a potted plant. their only saving grace is that they haven't been noticed yet, but that quickly changes as their boss, now a zombie, heads back to where they are. he attracts the attention of the other zombies, and together, their pressure eventually causes the plane of glass to shatter. as the glass tinkles to the ground, all hell breaks lose, and it's every man for himself!
the beginning of the story really caught me. the narrator's voice and the dialogue immediately engrossed me. the narrator's voice perfectly matches john's character. the writing was funny yet action packed. after the first 15 minutes, i was totally engrossed.
one guy emerged from the crowd with a slightly raised voice. he was bald with a cul-de-sac cut. the kind where he kept the hair on the side of his head instead of shaving the whole thing, creating a perfect half circle of baldness on top. i'd seen him around the building. he's either a ceo or acting branch manager. he was in charge of his own little world before this. real alpha male type, and he was sure he had all the right answers. mr. cul-de-sac kept rattling on about how the waterfront was only 4 blocks away and that we could get a boat and get past the crowds in the city no problem.
humor, zombies, and gore...yeah, i was into this story! i also liked the aspect that john and kyle had to do a lot of hand to hand fighting with the zombies. that fighting was pretty realistic b/c neither was particularly adept at it. they had to learn quick. i also enjoyed the story b/c neither was a survivalist with a bunker full of food and guns. i've listened to quite a few of those stories so i found this one refreshing.
john's goal is to get back to his pregnant wife 900 miles away. kyle decides to join him on his journey b/c they're headed the same way. kyle has a few friends at a base in augusta, ga so they band together to try to escape nyc.
along the way, they rescue michael from a helicopter crash. michael tells them he's heading for a place called avalon in the blue ridge mountains.
i really enjoyed listening to this zombie novel. it was full of humor yet still maintained tension throughout. the narration is excellent. it makes the story. the is a WTF cliffhanger ending, and i had to see if there is a second book coming out. the ending reminded me of the ending of the movie, inception, where you can interpret what happens next.
overall, a fun zombie book i recommend!
"Very solid zombie story!"
Has a good solid story
Great characters and dialog.
I would have liked a little more elaboration in the big scenes.
I will listen to another.
Loves this book. Very few books can bring out a lot of emotion in me but this one definitely did! The narrator was terrific too!
Oh MY Gosh!!!
Without giving away any spoilers, I'd have to say my favorite part was Gordons "crowd surfing". and what led up to it :)
Yes! Though this was shorter than most books I listen to, it still took me a day and a half to get through. That pesky thing called "having a life" got in the way. :)
I wish the book was longer. I'm used to listening to 12, 14, sometimes 20+ hour books. This was only 71/2. Though the story was EXCELLENT, I felt it was over quickly, and lfeft me yearning for more (in a good way).
"Great book. Ready for the next."
Just finished my first book from this author and immediately want to start the sequel.
The narrator did a great job differentiating the separate characters.
"Great simple realistic zombie Novel"
Very well read just a great a great all around zombie novel ! A simple good story applying to most average people?
"Absolutely nothing new or original - disappointing"
A zombie story that veered from the trite and cliche ... oh, and one that had been EDITED to correct bad grammar. The narrator did an amazing job, all things considered!
Initially, hope. I love good zombie fiction. RAISING STONY MAYHALL is a very original and interesting take on the genre ... I'm looking forward to THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS ... and even some films manage to stand out: 28 DAYS, SEAN OF THE DEAD, and FIDO, in particular.Okay, how is this author going to twist this all-too-familiar setup into something new and original, I wondered at the very beginning... only he didn't. Oh, well, I thought. The new and original stuff is probably still to come ... except that it never, never, never does. Hope quickly faded to disappointment ... then disbelief.
If you've seen one zombie movie, you've already experienced this story. There is not a single new idea in it. Here's the sudden zombie apocalypse. Here's the group of strangers (or at least not friends) thrown together by bad timing and trying to figure out how to get out of the building without being eaten. Here's the escape to the vehicle, with the usual losses. Here's our hero trying to be reunited with his distant loved one. Here's everyone trying to get to the rumored place of sanctuary that turns out not to be so safe after all. And so on, and so forth, and such like.
I miss the days of the "publishing bottleneck," when work was actually EDITED before it was published. If you're sensitive to bad grammar, aspects of this book will particularly irritate you. For one thing, it's filled to the brim with dangling participles and misplaced modifiers ... "whom" is used more than once where "who" would have been the correct word ... and I was positively cringing by the twentieth use of "acrost" (or "acrossed") instead of "across." Similes are overused (and they are overused similes BEING overused, at that).
There's very little change in written voice between characters, and characters talk in this book in ways they don't in real life ... lots of adjectives and adverbs. This is not an actual quote, but it is the sort of dialogue I'm talking about: Imagine one character saying to another, "I watched, helpless and afraid, as my wife fell lifelessly to the floor."Other great lines? Let's see ... there was something about a cloud of sand and gore that the hero and his sidekick could "visibly see." (How else would they see it?)
The narrator does an AMAZING job with this stuff. My only complaint was his sliding into a Jack Nicholson impersonation for one of the bad guys. Otherwise, he never ever made me feel that he thought what he was reading was as trite as I did.
So John is the protagonist, but he isn't the hero. John is some corporate suit, lacking any particular skills for the zombie apocalypse. Kyle is more hero like, but really, hes just a security guard/helicopter pilot, and with no helicopter, he is only slightly above Johns mediocrity. Both of them just try their best and learn to work with each other. A funny part was when John looked for a solution from Kyle and I expected a brilliant plan, but no...he didn't know either, what to do?!
So the story is about them, how they become strong friends, struggling and straining to use the best of their wits to get out of one jam into another, to find Johns wife. Sticking to the Zombie genre, a major part of the story is the "captured by a cult plot". But this author came up with a new twist. Not a religious cult, not a racist cult, rather a more contemporary idea befitting the times.
The zombies here are pretty much the shambling type, unless they are fresh. I found Davis' zombie theory had some holes. One saluted a flag? But they can't find their way around blocked terrain? Uh? These little sprinklings of zombie intelligence is littered around, but they generally don't show it. Maybe the explanation will be better in the next book.
This is a great book from beginning to end, and the ending, well, you'll have to read it, very powerful, gave an extra star on overall because of it. Oh, and narrator, great job!
"This is my favorite sort of zombie story"
I love zombie books, But I approach each book like this download I found called “ONE but the only one.”
It’s a 100 song compilation of the song “ONE ” by U2, There are every kind of musical approach to the song. Some are good some are painful. They all have more or less the same words, but how each artist has done something with those words makes all the difference.
900 Miles is a great story about people, and the zombies are almost an after thought.
This is my favorite sort of zombie story,
The people do the sorts of things both good and bad that you can see yourself and your friends doing,They are not superheros, nor are the idiots, The story is very believable and yet there are parts where I had to rewind and listen it again.
Not to give away any of the plot. But when the story goes off the main plot line. Let’s just say I was a little more tired then I would normally be at work the next day. From not being able to just pause it, without hearing how it was going to end.
The story is at it’s heart a very simple one, Something very bad happens and the main person has to struggle to travel 900 miles to where his very pregnant wife is waiting for him. Had the very bad thing, been something like an air plane crash, or say a flood, then the story would be a fairly straight forward one of “man versus the elements”. However the very bad thing that happened was zombies.
Jamison Jones did a great job of narration, and his voice has a familiar ring to it and that might be because he was a regular in the FOX series 24.
900 miles is a long way to go with out the modern conveniences of “zombie free travel”, and you feel every single mile before the story is over.
Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.
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