A conscience is a terrible thing to waste.
Steppenwolf Company and Chicago Shakespeare Theater veteran Scott Aiello performs the initial work in the Clayfield series, featuring a reasonable man - the director of a nonprofit museum in a small Kentucky town - trying to survive insanely unreasonable times. The virus that was once a small blip of foreign news exploded into a global pandemic invading even his small corner of the world. To survive, he must transform from a soft, sensitive man who cares about killing even those forms that threaten his life into a hardened murderer ready to take what he needs, wherever he finds it, and suppress any shreds of decency left that might work against keeping him alive.
On a cold February day in the small town of Clayfield, Kentucky, an unsuspecting and unprepared museum director finds himself in the middle of hell on earth. A pandemic is spreading around the globe, and it’s turning most of the residents of Clayfield into murderous zombies. Having no safe haven to which he can flee, the director decides to stick it out near his hometown and wait for the government to send help.
But the disease and those infected are not his only concerns. He must also contend with armed gangs, strife within his group, his own lack of skills… and his conscience.
There are tough decisions to be made if he is to survive. But if he is smart - and a little lucky - he can do more than survive; he can live like a king.
What about Scott Aiello’s performance did you like?
the narration is very good. the narrator has a smooth voice, and he's easy to listen to. i found it easy to distinguish the different male characters he portrays, and he even does female voices well!
Any additional comments?
DON'T be put off by the title and cover art! chessiness aside, this is a solid zombie tale! definitely in the top 10 i've listened to so far. i actually liked it that much!
the story is told in the first person by our nameless protagonist. he's not a survivalist nor has he any military background, which i found refreshing. instead, the main character is an out of shape, 30 something museum director. he's unprepared and has no ready supplies,
except a submarine sandwich and a few packets of ketchup. he's kind of a loner and is preparing for a senior citizen's tour when the canton b virus hits his small town.
the author does a good job developing the characters as the story progresses. the main character's gradual transformation is believable. he makes mistakes, which is refreshing. a few times, i found myself talking aloud- you idiot...why didn't you...i was totally engrossed in the story.
the supporting characters are also given the time to develop, and they aren't the typical cardboard cut out supporting cast. they definitely add to the story.
this story has a mix of zombies- the slow, shambling kind and the quick kind. there are lulls in the zombie action, and the author wisely uses this time to develop his characters. this is more than just a zombie story. it's also a story about how to survive when civilization collapses.
this is the first in a series, and the ending really surprised me. i didn't think the author would go that way, but he did.
overall, a surprisingly excellent addition to your zombie library.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
Okay. I've given this an extra star because, for a zombie novel, it's actually very well written. The characters behave normally and respond believably and, while there are the typical post-apocalyptic "bad guys" who use the ZA to feed their personal egos (and I'm not convinced such azzhats would be this numerous post-apocalypse)... for the most part the characters seem realistic.
There was one scene where an otherwise strong and capable woman throws a hissy-fit because her "man" of 5 whole days might or might not be looking at the only other female survivor "in that way" - this stereotypical behaviour felt extremely out of place in this novel. Dunno why he felt the need to make her come across as so petty, but... the novel in general is still way less misogynistic than nearly every other zombie book I've read.
The other little issue is how most of the book was written as if the characters had never heard of the nature of zombies before - for example, there are many many scenes where they are "baffled" as to where the "people" they shot went, or how they didn't "die" from a gunshot wound or two. The main character plays video games, and was aware of the existence of zombie movies, so why this hesitance to acknowledge that the people they "killed" got back up because, I dunno, they were zombies?
If it looks like a duck...
So, why did I give this more than 4 stars? Well, because the characters are well-written, the ZA is a little different from the typical one, the main character is not some super hero, there is no gun porn or herding/raping of women...and those people who do "bad things", like try to herd women for reproduction, are actually shown to be "bad guys", not the norm in a ZA world. And, probably most importantly, I didn't want to put the book down until I finished it...
The narration is very good. There is no sex or gore and I don't recall much swearing. I bought the rest of the series from Audible.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
it. Apocalyptic novels offer the author a terrific opportunity to develop characters, imagine how things might happen, how people react to change (radical change) in society (in the case of the zombie novel the obliteration of such). However virtually every zombie novel I have read (or tried to read such as Molle"s "The Remaining") I end up giving up and putting away or reading only one or two of the series.
Most of these zombie books are pure trite- endless descriptions of weapons, over the top scenes, cliff hangers that are anything but cliff hangers, stereotypical characters (he man sniper saving helpless but beautiful babe). The set ups are usually ridiculous as well (okay the entire concept is ridiculous I admit but why add insult to injury). The protagonists is a trained killer and is an ex Marine, Navy Seal, Delta Force member or who happens to have a billionaire friend who is and also happens to have a survival shelter. The plot simply a trail of bodies like one of those first person shooter videos. There - I got it out of my system as to why all the zombie books suck for the most part & that gets me to a review of book "The King of Clayfield" by Shane Gregory
I only purchased it because Audible offered it to me for $ 4.99 (probably because I quit buying zombie novels). I begin listening,fully prepared to cut it off and demand my money back. Instead I found a novel that deals with a normal "work a day guy" in the middle of no where Kentucky faced with a major disaster. The first person narration has a dry sardonic humor (not over the top) but also flashes of humanity and the book offers real questions about what happens when industrial society goes kaput. The women are women- not Barbies, my favorite is red neck Jen (Jennifer) who no one pushes around but is still a female and the protagonist, of all things, is a museum curator the very opposite of the normal Zombie Protagonist. He is a really nice normal guy who knows a little about how to survive but not much about killing and shooting.
Clayfield goes to hell in a zombie hand basket and the story revolves around the story of how the characters adapt to their new social environment and how they respond and learn to adapt to the new physical environment (good bye refrigerated orange juice hello planting sweet potatoes!). The pace is well done, the characters real- meaning not only do I like them they are not some cardboard imagination to serve a plot.
Well done- Well done- it deserves more attention than it seems to have gotten. If you enjoy reading a "what if the world ended as we know it" instead of "Lets kill 100 zombies per chapter and describe every gun ever made" novel then buy this book and listen to it!
Thanks Audible for putting it on sale- smart marketing move because I now plan on purchasing the rest of the series!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This book started hovering around the 3 stars mark for a while, but shifted to 4 stars as the both the story and protagonist developed and then at the end it went suddenly BING! and hit the 5 stars bell. The narrator must be the best male narrator I've listened to.
If you are like me and demand that authors take the zombie apocalypse seriously and try to make such a tale as realistic as possible, waste no time and spend your credit here. There is no over the top nonsense here.
The author makes the tale believable by coming up with creative solutions to some of the discrepancies in a zombie apocalypse. With so much splatter in other books, why don't the characters get infected? Often they happen to be immune, but at least here they use handkerchiefs to cover their faces. They have a fix for fighting off the infection if things get bad. The zombies aren't mindless but are like animals. They form packs, therefore some areas are very empty allowing them to get supplies. Head shots don't always work. They do get back up, but not right away. Most things have explanations for but some questions tantalizingly remain to be discovered. The word zombie doesn't even come up until the end, they are just called people. Yeah, pretty slow on the uptake but it all makes sense.
The protagonist is so unassuming he doesn't even have a name. I didn't even realize this and had to Google the answer to write this review because I thought I had just missed it. A museum director of a sleepy town, he is such a wuss and would be zombie brunch if it weren't for Jen who is such an awesome character. All characters have depth and feel real and the protagonist goes through a transformation as the story develops. Something suddenly at the end had me screaming in my head and made it hit the 5 star bell but I'm not going to give it away.
Hurry up and download this story. And the next.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I came across this book after reading a review from a source I have found many hidden gems from in the past. So I was expecting a good zombie story. King of Clayfield didn't quite live up to my expectations.
I wont go into the plot here. Nothing is new. The characters reacted to events and with each other in predictable fashion. I felt the author Shane Gregory is either unimaginative or lazy. Sappy romance, cheesy zombies, and Walking Dead style politics.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This may not have an original take on the zombie apocalypse but it was a fun and interesting read. It was never boring and had a great balance of action and character development. Not much background on how the virus happened or spread which kinda leaves a little hole in the story. The alcohol aspect of it was never explained...I hope it will be in the next installment. I like a little bit of a science mixed in with my post apocalyptic fiction and there isn't any here. Just straight into the mayham and zombies...which is okay too sometimes. I've already started the second book so I feel good about recommending this as an addition to your collection.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
While this was not the most exciting Zombie book I have ever listened to, it might be the one with the most common sense. With the exception of the good guy act, that was taken way to far, everything else seems to go as you would really expect it to go for a regular type guy in this situation. I just wish he could have made it a little more exciting and not have the main character be such a goody two shoe. When faced with a naked woman that could have been the centerfold of a girly magazine, who is trying to seduce you, no red blooded straight guy would have been the idiot this guy was. Other than that it is all straight. I listen to all of this, which is rare and I have book two in my wish list.
16 of 24 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Great dystopian tale, fine Kentucky writing, great mythology...attention Walmart shoppers this Kentucky zombie trilogy is a real Bluegrass Special!
On the advice of another reviewer I got the king of clayfield -- whoever that reviewer was-thank you! I've already downloaded and begun book 2!!
As far as "zombie apocolypse" stories go, the premise is pretty good. There are a few tried and true tropes to be trundled (cast of survivors flung together, sad loss, humans scarier than monsters), a few WTF moments (no power, anywhere, yet the local internet connection works??), and some surprising turns (the protagonist pulls of an excellent "every man", and there is some good dialog about maintaining civilization vs just surviving. Most refreshingly the author does not really bludgeon the reader with a particular viewpoint and make everyone else out to be idiots (except the actual idiots). The writing is adequate and narration is pretty good.
Unfortunately, the book is, essentially, just the opening act. It tells what is very clearly only a small part of a larger story and this book simply serves to feed you into the series. Sadly, I just can't say I am up for a whole series of this. If it stopped at one decent book it would have been a fun romp where I could overlook some of the obvious technical and fridge logic issues... but, I don't know if I am up for 3 books of "Meh", especially after feeling like I just purchased and read a partial book. And, while some of the character interactions are good, Most of the twists are telegraphed pretty far in advance, so it isn't even really that suspenseful.
I get it, we can't just have "a book" anymore, it needs to be a series, at least three... because reasons (mostly financial). If that's the space this author and publisher want to be in, then I would suggest that book 1 needs to be awesome, not adequate, and provide at least some sense of being a complete story so the reader doesn't feel cheated . e.g.: Hunger Games, Star Wars, Ender's Game, any of the Jack Ryan books by Tom Clancy. All excellent series, where the first was perfectly capable of standing alone