Bring out your Dead

Welcome to Wild Card Wednesday.  When I started writing this post, my intent was to do one of my monthly What’s New posts.  I was going to talk about a TV show and Blake Crouch’s new novel, Eerie.

But, then, I purchased Dead: Winter by TW Brown.  That changed my plans all together.

I’ve talked before about my love of TW (Todd) Brown’s Dead series.  The first three books are Dead: The Ugly Beginning, Dead: Revelations, and Dead: Fortunes and Failures.

The books are post apocalyptic zombie tales.  Zombies have killed most of Earth’s human population.  Surviving humans must redefine civilization and the laws of mankind.

The thing that sets Todd Brown’s series apart from all the other zombie novels is characterization.  Todd does such a wonderful job of writing compelling characters and putting them in dire situations.  His books are unputdownable.

Point in case, I started Dead: Winter on Sunday and finished it Monday.

Dead: Winter rejoins the various survivors’ camps as they prepare for the first winter after the zombie apocalypse.

Some of the survivors are pregnant, which is cause for concern in this new civilization.  After all, zombies might attack at any time.

Some of the survivors are worried about having enough supplies to survive winter.  Some survivors need medication for group members with special needs. Others are struggling with interpersonal conflicts between group members.

For those who haven’t yet tried the Dead series, now is a great time to dip your toes in the pool.  Todd Brown has added ten thousand words of bonus material and repackaged the first three Dead novels.

To understand how these new editions are broken down, you first have to understand a bit about Todd Brown’s Dead world.

The story is told from many points-of-view, sort of like a TV show or a movie.  As is true on teleplays and screenplays, one or two characters have more scenes than others.  The character’s with the most scenes are the stars.

The stars of Todd Brown’s Dead novels are Steve Hobart and Kevin Dreon.

Steve Hobart is a thirty-something everyman from Seattle who has had a unremarkable life right up to the day the zombies take over.  Something about a zombie apocalypse brings out the hero in Steve.  He rescues a little girl whose mother has fallen victim to the zombies and then rescues a teenager at a convenience store.

From there, he flees Seattle and becomes leader of a rag-tag group that includes an ex-football star, a former nature commune member, a former Idaho state prison inmate, and a lovable Border Collie.

Kevin Dreon is the leader of the geeks.  Before the apocalypse, he was a lifetime fan of all things zombie.  He had plans of what he’d do if the zombie apocalypse hit.  After the zombie apocalypse, Kevin figured out life ain’t the same as the movies.

The zombie apocalypse forces Kevin to adjust his thinking.  To complicate matters, Kevin’s intellectual prowess has done little to advance his social skills both with his male peers and with the opposite sex.  Lucky thing that some girls like geeks.

Between Steve and Kevin’s sagas, Todd Brown has these interludes he calls vignettes.  Vignettes star a variety of characters.  Here are a few examples of the vignette’s stars:

Juan Hoya: A homeless career criminal who is in the process of turning his life around at the time of the zombie apocalypse.

Chad Meyers: Did prison time after being falsely convicted as a sex offender.  At the time of the apocalypse, he’s trying hard to reconnect with his teenage daughter.

Mackenzie Sims: Twenty-three-year-old  college agriculture major.  At the time of the apocalypse, she’s living on Sauvie Island with her bi-polar mother.  The two women must fend not only zombies but also humans who are cutting a path of destruction and hurt in a world where the law is dead.

Kirsten Malloy: A little girl all alone in a big house where all the adults have turned into the walking dead.  Kristen’s father always said Malloys were survivors, but will Kirsten survive being on her own in this new world?

Now, as with TV shows and movies, a really interesting scene starring your favorite character might end at a cliffhanger moment and cut to a scene with another character.

At the request of his fans, Todd Brown has re-arranged the first three books of his Dead series so that readers can travel the post-apocalyptic landscape on the shoulders of their favorite characters without interruptions from the other story lines.

So, if you want to read Steve Hobart’s story with no interruptions from the vignettes or the geeks story lines, you want

Dead: Steve’s Story

If you want to read the story of Kevin Dreon and his geek squad, you want

Dead: The Geeks

If you want to focus on the vignettes and their many stars and stories, you’re looking for:

Dead: Vignettes

Todd has also released a straight compendium of the first three novels, which tops out at a whopping 915 pages.  The bonus material—all stuff requested by fans—is included in this compendium.

Dead: Special Edition Compendium

At $9.99, this compendium is a steal.  Purchased separately and in their original editions, the first three books would cost a total of $13.97, and you wouldn’t even get the bonus material.

The books in their original format–as they are in the compendium–create a very suspenseful read because of the cutting between characters and situations.  I am not a book-a-day reader, but I can finish an installment to the Dead series in a day.

If you are on the fence, do what I did.  Download the sample.  If you’re like me, you won’t be able to quit reading when the sample ends.

If you’re impressed with the cover art of the Dead series, check out the cover artist, Shawn Conn at his website.

Floor is open.  Though I failed at sharing a variety of new stuff for the month of June, I still invite all of you to share your TV, movie, and book discoveries.  

31 thoughts on “Bring out your Dead

  1. on ,
    EllieAnn said:

    what a great review! the books sound so good.
    Lately, I’ve really enjoyed Billy Purgatory: I Am Devil Bird, by Jesse James. It’s been a fun read.

    • Todd’s Dead books are really worth reading. Thanks for the book recommendation. I’m headed off to Amazon to check it out. 😀

  2. on ,
    Dave said:

    Another bit from the “Holy Grail”.

    I haven’t read the books but I’m adverse to zombie material anyway. I find the whole theme too “inhuman” for lack of a better description.

    My wife and I have become interested in “Game of Thrones”. We went through all twenty episodes in a couple of months (after this years installment of Spartacus ended). There is a kind of zombie theme contained in the story that I actually like. These “beings” are called the “white Walkers” and they threaten the seven kingdoms featured in the story. The “Walkers’ are neat in that they’re a cohesive fighting force with goals and plans. This seems to be bit a departure from the typical zombie behavior.

    • I wasn’t a zombie fan until The Walking Dead. Before that, I boycotted any and everything zombie. So I understand feeling put off by the genre.

      How interesting that you’re watching Game of Thrones. I have thought about watching it. I didn’t enjoy the books very much, but I think that’s just because it’s not my preferred genre. I have HBO to Go, so I might give the series a try. It won’t cost me anything but time.

      Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. I think my guy would LOVE these! He is so into zombies… we watch pretty much any movie that is zombie-related, including B-movies and whatever is rating is worse than that. LOL. Thanks for sharing, Catie!!

    • Does he have Kindle? If so, I think I can loan him the first book in the series. That way, he won’t have to spend money on it until he’s absolutely sure. If his reading tastes are anything like mine, though, he’ll be hooked. 😀

      • Would you believe we don’t have an e-reader? I have the Kindle and Nook softwares on my computer though…

  4. on ,
    alandhopewell said:

    I’ve been into the animated versions of comics since BATMAN:THE ANIMATED SERIES back in ’92; it’s always intrigued me that a “cartoon” can often have deeper character development and a more intelligent storyline than much of what passes for prime-time viewing.

    My daughter just purchased AVENGERS:EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES, Season One, Volume One (We don’t have cable), and it’s quite good. If you liked JUSTICE LEAGUE, you’ll like this.

    • I haven’t seen many of the animated versions of comics. I got pretty into Smallville a few years ago, but got too disenchanted to watch the final season. I will look for these. It might be a good change of pace for me.

      And good for you for not having cable!

  5. Excellent review, Catie! Lately, I am secretly in love with reading zombie books, not sure why. O_O But I go through my phases, this obviously being one of them. Thanks for the recommendations. I look forward to checking them out. :)

    • Todd’s Dead series is the foray into zombie fiction. I first got interested in the genre via The Walking Dead (the TV series, not the graphic novels). So I’m fairly new to the genre. One thing I’ve learned is that books (and shows) aren’t about zombies. They are about the people who are left after the apocalypse. I love the themes that inevitably come up. Thanks for your comment. 😀

  6. on ,
    twbrown said:

    Thanks so much for the kind words in regards to my DEAD series. SInce so many have expressed interest in the series, here is my offer…select one person who leaves a comment (at random, or just because…your choice) and I will give them an ebook of their choice between Dead: The Ugly Beginning, OR one of the special editions if they so desire. All I will need is an email address to send the file (mobi or pdf as they require.)

    • Thanks so much for this, Todd! What a nice surprise for an otherwise dreary day. I have tweeted that you are giving away a free e-book to one commenter. I am about to tell my Facebook subscribers.

      I’m glad you approve of my review. That makes the effort worthwhile. 😀

  7. Great review, Catie. This made me think of another zombie series that I started reading (and enjoyed) and then forgot about when life got in the way. I’m going to have to go back and find that one again and try these out as well.

  8. Catie, these books sound very interesting, especially since the characters are so well drawn. Your point about zombie books not being about the zombies, but the underlying human questions is a good one–although I would add, *good* zombie books are like that. It sounds like these fit that description.

    • They really do, Elizabeth. It’s very seldom that I just can’t put down a book (or, these days, my Kindle). But these books–because of the characters–make them hard to walk away from.

      Thanks for your comment.

  9. You come up with the most interesting stuff.
    I love to read your posts.
    The whole Zombie thing makes me smile.
    Sick, I know.

    LOL and grins.

    • No. I smile at inappropriate things all the time. The other day, I was sick and decided I’d watch a horror movie. I chose “I Saw the Devil.” It’s South Korean, so you may not have heard of it. Anyway, the premise is that a guy whose fiancé is murdered by a serial killer decides to exact revenge.

      So what he does track this guy around town. Every time the guy gets into doing what it is he does, the victim’s fiancé shows up and just whales on him. I mean beats him so badly that you wonder how he survives. Anyway, after a while, I got tickled about it. And it’s not funny,

      That said, I do get where you are coming from. Thanks for stopping by. 😀

    • on ,
      twbrown said:

      August, if you contact me via email and specify pdf or mobi file type, I will send you a copy of the first book in the series titled Dead: The Ugly Beginning.

      In fact, since there was so much response about this outstanding post by Catie, I will extend the same offer to anybody else who contacts me by the end of today (6/21/2012). My email is

  10. Following Rules of the Rat Pack (“Go big or go home, pally!”) I just downloaded the Special Edition. There goes the weekend!

    • That Special Edition is definitely the way to go if you don’t have any of the books. I hope you enjoy the Dead books as much as I do. And, yes, you’ve said buh-bye to your weekend.

  11. Read last night. Read this morning. Just started the “Geek” chapters. TW Brown, you’ve nailed it! Catie, thanks for the recommendation!

  12. I’m trying to exercise some self-control, Catie, and failing. Badly. I always liked the Romero movies, got hooked on WALKING DEAD from the first episode, but this is very well done, nicely interconnected, and fascinating to watch the story unfold!

    • They are hard to put down. I lacked self control. At least you still have Dead: Winter to read when you finish the compendium. And I think Todd is coming out with the next installment in December 2012.

      By the way, I love The Walking Dead, too. Before that, I had pretty much missed the zombie craze. I couldn’t figure out WHAT was so interesting. But if the characters are right, a writer could use the zombie apocalypse so many different ways.

  13. I love zombie stories but only when the story it’self and the characters are compelling. It’s one of the things I liked about The Walking Dead, at least at first. I’m working on a zombie tale. My focus is not on the gore but what the characters are called on to do. And, anyway, the zombies are the least of their problems in the wake of the apocalypse. LOL