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Play Dead Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 4, 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Two cultural obsessions collide head-on in this fast-paced, thrilling, and terribly funny debut by former actor Brown. In the sleepy town of Killington, Tex., the local high school's football team is having its best season in decades thanks to the efforts of quarterback Cole Logan. Afraid of losing the district championship, the rival Elmwood team sends the Killington bus into a river, drowning everyone on the team except Cole and the coach. Only local witch and football fan Black Mona can raise the players from the dead in time for the game, but if they keep stopping to eat people, they might miss it. Brown handily mixes elements of horror, coming-of-age sweetness, and gore-soaked comedy into a tale that satisfies the same fascination with sports and bloodlust that it cleverly and thoughtfully critiques. (May)
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"Play Dead is so entertaining and clever, you don't have to enjoy zombies or even football to enjoy reading it...Keep a watchful eye out for more from this gifted author!"

- Romantic Times, 4 1/2 stars (Top Pick!)


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439171300
  • ASIN: B0048ELEF4
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,375,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Following his graduation from the University of Oklahoma, with a degree in film studies, he moved to New York, where he went on to study theatre at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Within months of arriving in New York, he was cast in the role of Bill Lewis on the CBS Daytime Drama, Guiding Light - a role he would play for the next three years.

Ryan relocated to Los Angeles and landed the role of Billy Abbott on CBS's The Young and the Restless.

Following his tenure on The Young and the Restless, he returned to New York and continued working as an actor, appearing on Law and Order: SVU, and starring in two feature films for Lifetime Television.

It was also during this time that he decided to try his hand at fiction writing. It wasn't long before he was writing full-time. Within two years, he completed the manuscript for PLAY DEAD, his first published title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you're headed to the beach this summer, and have extra room in the trunk, consider bringing this book, since you never know when you might need something to level a table or strike an attacking shark on the snout. If you instead plan to actually read it, be prepared: it's afflicted with maladies far more frightening than those of its characters.

"Play Dead" is unsure whether to stake a claim as a sports fiction book, a satirical look at small town American life or an unrepentant genre piece (presumably to ride the multi-year popularity wave zombies and vampires are enjoying in print and movies).

This lack of focus is potentially forgivable. Less forgivable is the lack of craft in Ryan Brown's writing, which is awkward and often hackneyed from the first pages to the last. Examples abound:

-When the protagonist is being assaulted early in the story, the taste of his blood is "coppery".

-A newspaper in the rain is "puffed like a sponge".

-The air of a cold morning "seeped into his bones like acid".

-At a pep rally, the scents include "popcorn and teenage sweat (that) hung thick in the air", and a cheerleader "sank seductively to the floor in a full split, pom-poms raised high." Ouch...on many levels.

Banal and cliched usage continue unabated to the book's conclusion, when news of the paranormal happenings surrounding a high school football team's big game is "traveling like wildfire".

Much of the simile and metaphor in this book wouldn't make it past the first-draft group feedback session in an undergraduate creative writing class. That this is in print as a hardbound first novel is something of a surprise.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Zombies playing football--pretty high concept stuff. Ryan Brown's "Play Dead" sells itself on a two word pitch (as they say in the movie biz)--ZOMBIE FOOTBALL. Either you're instantly in or you think it's the most ludicrous thing you've ever heard. I, personally, was instantly in BECAUSE it was the most ludicrous thing I'd ever heard! Expecting a horror novel, the actual carnage is pretty tasteful and limited in scope. Expecting a comedy, the humor is more refrained and observational than "jokey." Expecting a sports story, game play is left to a minimum. What's that leave? "Play Dead" unfolds as a straightforward thriller for the most part. It's the definition of superficial fun. The pages turn quickly in Brown's fast-paced and utterly ridiculous debut.

High School football in Texas is a major event. So when the Jackrabbits, an underdog team with a new coach and a rebellious loner of a quarterback, ascend closer and closer to the playoffs--it threatens their most hated rival. When a prank goes too far, the Jackrabbit team bus plunges into the river taking the boys to a watery grave. QB Cole and the coach's intrepid daughter, with the help black magic, manage to revive the players to face one last challenge. But the players aren't just dazed from the accident, they're dead--and the longer they're kept in this world, the more they deteriorate into ravenous monsters. Only winning the championship game can restore the balance and save their souls. Naturally. Makes sense to me! The first third of "Play Dead," before any zombies rise, is super fun. Cole is a terrific lead and I wished I was allowed to follow him without knowing where I was headed.
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Format: Hardcover
"Play Dead" by Ryan Brown is a story that is just plain fun.

The author mentioned that he wanted to write a story about the possible effects of steroids,when he saw what was going on with steroids in sports. In this story, he certainly succeeds.

Set in Texas, the story is also a satire about the fanatical following of high school football and the manner in which football can almost take over small town life. This seems particularly true in Texas but is often seen elsewhere.

In this story, the local high school football team, the Killington Jackrabbits, are having their best year and are only one win away from going to the district championships.

The key to the team is quarterback Cole Logan. He's attacked one morning by three steroid using members of the rival team, the hated Elmwood Heights Badgers. Cole ends up having two of his fingers cut off when he refuses to agree to throw the game. However, not thinking clearly, they cut the fingers off of the wrong hand and Cole is still able to throw the ball.

When this doesn't succeed in stopping the Jackrabbits, the members of the Badgers devise a new scheme. The result is that the school bus carrying the Jackribbits has an accident where the bus plunges off a bridge into the water below, killing the entire team, or maybe not.

Both Cole and the coaches daughter, Savanna Hickman are entertaining characters. These high schoolers are drawn to each other in a love-hate relationship that is interesting to see and humorous in the situations in which they find themselves.

Cole's neighbor is Mona, a crazy witch-lady who can do black magic. With her participation in the story there were elements that were very visual.
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