Review: The Dark Times

23797186In the opening of The Dark Times by Dane Hatchell and P.A. Douglas there is an author’s note saying that some people think the apocalypse is a chance to start over and be part of a new utopia. The sad truth is that people don’t always change and a disaster can bring you closer to who you really are and for some that’s a scary thing. This note sold me on the book and it gives you a great idea of what to expect while reading it. People have an idea of how they would change when society collapses, but what they think they will become is not reality.

The main character in The Dark Times is an overweight cop named Rico who is down on his luck and drowning his sorrows in whiskey when the first wave of zombies arrive. Rico handles himself well, he kills some zombies and manages to save people and decides to turn his life around. He leaves his old life behind and hops on his Harley in search of a new beginning. He ends up in a small town in Texas and meets a junkie named Angie. Rico fights the urge to help her but when things go bad, Angie may be the only one that can help him.

Everyone thought that the first wave of zombies was a one time thing caused by a mysterious illness but six months later it starts again and this time its the end. Civilization collapses quickly and Rico and Angie have to work together to survive. Being a heroin addict, Angie is not the most reliable person but Rico has demons of his own and the only way they can both survive the zombies is to put their past lives in the past.

The Dark Times is a very dark book and not just because it’s the zombie apocalypse and the end of civilization as we know it. This book is dark because it takes a look at human nature and asks the question: can a person get past their personal demons in order to survive? Every character in The Dark Times has a dark side and they have to confront that dark side to survive in the zombie apocalypse. The characters are what makes this book good, they are all complex and it was interesting to see how they change during the apocalypse. What really distinguishes this book from other zombie books is the depth to the characters, I found myself rooting for even the bad guys in this story.

There were some things that I didn’t like about this book, for instance there were a few scenes with a group of soldiers that seemed random and took away from the story. There was also an African-American character named Quinn that was so stereotypical it annoyed me. All in all though this is a good book and worth your time, it was interesting how some of the characters didn’t change at all as their world collapses. The Dark Times is a good look at how people change or don’t change when faced with the end of the world. There are a lot of books out there on the zombie apocalypse but few of them have as good  of characters as this one.

The Remnant: Into The Collision

 

Review by by Michele Roger

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In The Remnant: Into The Collision, P. A. Douglas takes us on thrill ride in an end of days epic tale that reads quickly and plays out like a video game.  The story’s main character, Byron is part heart-broken divorcee, part protective father and all vigilantly.  As meteors hurtle through space, heading straight for the obliteration of the earth, all of society crumbles.

Media and information collapse with the broadcasted suicide of the last news anchor standing.  Corpses line the otherwise vacant streets of his city.  Night time brings teenagers with guns, vandalism, robbery and murder.  Primal instincts surge up in Byron as he worries for his daughter.

When home is no longer a refuge, Byron heads to his hometown scuba gear factory with its high security system and code protected gate.  Byron chooses to survive the apocalypse and the factory seems a formidable strong hold.  A small group of ragtag, would-be survivors join him.  Unfortunately, Byron soon discovers what from a distance can appear a refuge, can intimately become a personal prison; a hell on earth.

As the deadly meteors penetrate earth’s atmosphere, the planet’s oxygen supply begins to deplete.  The factory, with its hundreds of spare oxygen tanks suddenly becomes the only means of possible survival.  The characters resort to a dog-eat-dog mentality.

Armed to the teeth with guns, thanks to the small group’s hometown drug dealer, survivors begin to turn on fellow survivors.  The military adds to the chaos and approaches the factory in the hopes of stealing vast oxygen supply.

The pages turn as the corpses line the factory floor.  Which will last longer, the bullets in the magazine or the last of the oxygen trapped inside the scuba gear factory?  Witness the end of days through Byron’s eyes as he fights to stay alive.  Will he be earth’s last remnant?

I think P. A. Douglas has introduced us to a part of humanity we might be too afraid to face as a society.  He is convincing in his argument that not all of us, in fact, very few of us are innately good when facing the last few days or hours of our time on earth.  “Remnant” has the emotional pull of the apocalyptic novel, “The Road” infused with the speed and energy of the film “Mad Max.”

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Michele Roger is a Detroit native and a published horror author. Her recent novels include, “The Conservatory” as well as her latest release, “Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Story.”  You can find both for sale through STFU publishing, biblio.com and amazon.com.   When Michele isn’t writing, she is a harpist and composer.