Reader’s Report Part FIVE! Fiend by Peter Stenson!
For once I’m not going to reblog one of my other reviews! (BTW Follow 80 Books Blog!)
For those who are unfamiliar, a reader’s report is a report that an editorial assistant will write on a recently submitted manuscript as part of their weekly tasks. This reader’s report is for editors who are too busy to read the manuscript. In a way, an EA will help the editor to decide whether or not to acquire the book. Basic information is given like a complete summary of the plot, a critique, overall conclusion, positioning, comparative titles, and the jacket copy. In order to be hired as an editorial assistant at a certain imprint, you not only have to know the imprints titles, but also comparative titles. I definitely need more practice writing them. Since reader’s reports are generally more comprehensive, the one’s on my blog will be shorter and not contain spoilers for those who have not read the books! I am definitely open to critique, so comment away!
Reader’s Report: Fiend by Peter Stenson (B/ D/ W/ Y, July 9, 2013)
I received a copy of this book from BloggingForBooks.com for my review.
*** 3 stars out of 5
Chase “Crooked Cock” Daniels is a trust fund kid who got bored and started doing meth. While in rehab he meets the glorious and beautiful KK, also a recovering meth addict. They fall in love. He falls off the wagon. They break up, but he can’t get over her. Six months later, there’s a zombie apocalypse. Everyone healthy enough wakes up craving human flesh, except for Chase and his friend Typewriter. They notice something is weird, but they are just trying to get to their next hit. Chase keeps calling his ex-girlfriend, KK to see if she’s still alive. Typewriter takes them to a giant box store so they can steal guns and ammo. Eventually she calls back. She’s with her new boyfriend and he’s dying and she’s scared. They drive to her place and Chase figures out that KK is doing meth again (and she still loves her new boyfriend, Jared), Chase and Type rescue both of them and they drive to their dealer’s, The Albino, home in the woods. About every 3 pages they are taking a hit.
They plan on staying at their dealer’s place, but some backwoods clients of The Albino attack them for their supply. In a bloody battle Chase, Typewriter, and Jared end up killing the backwoods guys and The Albino. The group gets the hell out of there and heads to another dealer’s home in a bad part of town. They are attacked by Chucks (or Chucklers because they laugh when they are close), but the other dealer takes them in. While there the new dealer tells them about a friend in the local prison who is cooking. Tension rise when the new dealer doesn’t share some of his stash. Jared kills the dealer, but then KK kills him because Jared was too tweaked. KK is upset and draws comfort from Chase, but they don’t have long together because they are attacked by Chucks again. They barely escape through the basement. Typewriter gets part of his leg bitten off, but Chase gives him a shot of meth to the heart and he survives.
They make it to the jail. There are 3 other survivors (total of 6). This is where the climax of the novel takes place (the entire novel takes place within the span of a week). I won’t divulge the ending, but let’s just say, hope you weren’t feeling attached to any character.
This is clearly different than most zombie apocalypse novels. Survival is not the first instinct. And it goes against every zombie trope there is. It’s vulgar, graphic, and disturbing throughout (and not because of the zombies). The characters are hard to relate to, the problems that cause the drug use are not fully explained (at least for Chase, I understood KK), and there’s not a final, hopeful note. But maybe we shouldn’t expect that.
This book fits within B/ D/ W/ Y books list of popular fiction (Zombies). Broadway books has a good selection of sci-fi and fantasy, like The Martian, Doctor Who, and The Sleepy Hollow Series as some of its other titles. The writing is strong enough to carry the critique.
Zombie Survival Guide (Max Brooks) meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S. Thompson)
- I Am Legend (Richard Matheson): Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth…but he is not alone. Every other man, woman, and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn. How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?
- Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman): The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living.
The zombies chuckle before they eat you, and they are dubbed Chucks. Chase Daniels sees one eating a Rottweiler outside his window. Staying on the wagon was not in the cards for Chase. He and his friend Typewriter are always on the lookout for their next hit. But when Typewriter kills a young girl, they realize that something is definitely wrong, and it’s not a hallucination. Now Chase is on a quest for more Meth, and to save the love of his life. The zombies are just a second thought.