Strange things are starting to happen all over the world. One man walks naked into heavy traffic. Another man is defecating all over his apartment building and there is a new underground night club that says it can give you an out of body experience. Welcome to Marty Raft’s world, he’s a man with a horrific past who plans to find out what’s going on in Anthony Rapino’s Soundtrack To The End Of The World.
Going along for the ride with Marty is his best friend Corey, a wannabe comedian with problems of his own. Corey and Marty get an invitation to the underground night club from their friend Skinny, who is a Buddhist and claims he can take over other people’s bodies. In the club they witness the impossible and see spirits leaving their bodies and entering other people.
From there things start to get worse, people start turning into zombies, but these aren’t your normal everyday zombies, they don’t want to eat the living. In fact nobody is quite sure what they want but when the zombies see the living their jaws open wide and they let loose a high pitched scream that turns the living into the undead.
When I started reading Soundtrack To The End Of The World I was expecting an all out action packed gore fest. While it does have action and gore it offers a lot more. At the heart of the book is a story about the importance of family. Marty has lost his family and is just drifting through life. This is illustrated when he witnesses a man die and he thinks to himself that he wants to care and he tries to look like he cares but in reality he just feels hollow inside and doesn’t know what to do.
On his journey to find out what is causing the zombie apocalypse he meets other people and they become a family and Marty finds his purpose. The book gives an interesting social commentary on whats important in life and gets into philosophy as well. It also provides some humor and some tense scenes where your not sure if the zombies or the people Marty and company meet on the road are the bigger menace.
There was a couple of scenes in the book that I did find confusing, like when two of the men that Marty are traveling with think they see something and they go running through the woods and get captured by slave traders. There is also a confusing scene where Marty’s truck gets stopped in a traffic jam and hit by a car of people who end up joining Marty’s family, but the story has many great scenes as well.
In particular I liked the scene where Marty and his family are taken to a church where a mad priest thinks the rapture is happening and is giving people to the zombies so they can be saved. I also loved the fight scene at the end of the book and how the book wraps up. There is also a really good love scene that is funny and touching at the same time. Soundtrack To The End Of The World is a very original zombie tale with a lot of action and gore thrown in for good measure.
Another book I want to talk about is Four in the Morning. This is a collection of four novellas all centering around a different age in life . One story focuses on young kids, one on teenagers, one on a middle age woman and on on an elderly man. The first story is a steampunk story named Half Dark by Malon Edwards. This is a coming of age story about a mermaid/robot girl living in a dangerous world who finds that she is much more then she thought she was. This story has a little bit of everything, witches, faeries, pirates and boys with chin chins.
I love the made up language in this one, even if I didn’t fully understand it. All of the characters were great and the setting were excellent. This story also has the best character name I’ve ever heard which is: Big Poppa The Draws Dropper. You gotta love the creativity that goes into steampunk. This story is funny yet exciting and very unique at the same time.
The second story is Gully Gods by Edward M. Erdelac. This is an urban fantasy with some real life horror thrown in. The story follows a gang member named J-Hoss who after killing a man in Huston has to move to Chicago with his aunt and young cousin but trouble finds him and he is forced into the middle of a gang war.
The author must have done a lot of research on gangs for this story because there is quite a bit of gang lingo used here. This story was frighteningly realistic and extremely violent. The story moves along quickly and it is very well written. I liked how J-Hoss is given a chance to change but because he is so used to things being a certain way he can’t do it. I also liked finding out about the god that is behind the gang war and the conversation that happens at the end of the story.
Next up is Queen by Lincoln Crisler. This one follows a woman named Rita who just had her 42nd birthday. Rita is not happy with her self image so she decides to take part in an age reversing treatment experiment that has some interesting side effects. What I liked about this story was hearing Rita’s feelings about getting older and her reaction to what is happening to her. This was a science fiction tale with an ending that could have been explained a litle better but was still entertaining.
The last story is an all out horror tale called Cenotaph by Tim Marquitz. It follows a religious 73 year old man named James who has to live with the horror of out living all of his loved ones. Which to me was the scariest part of the story. He finds out by accident that his family are not in their graves and then sees his grandson who has been dead for 10 years in a liquor store. James is left to discover the mystery of what happened to his family and the answer may ruin everything he believes in. This was a great horror story that was suspenseful right up until the end. All of the stories in Four In The Morning we’re great and well worth your time.