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Play Dead Paperback – Bargain Price, October 19, 2010

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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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"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!)


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439171572
  • ASIN: B005UVUS7E
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,380,627 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

This is an entertaining and unique read, especially for the zombie fans out there.
Patrick S. Dorazio
There were points in the book that I was really into, and I realized it was when it focused on the gory details, and those were just few and far between.
A bit of gore, humor, romance, and small town theatrics blends well together into a quick, page turning read for some great entertainment.
Wendy L. Hines

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Long-Suffering Technology Consumer TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 5, 2010
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Woopak VINE VOICE on July 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've often said that I am rather tired of the same old stapling of zombie movies about a tired virus and recent movies do focus on "zomedies" (such as "Zombieland") than actually trying to create a legitimate zombie twist. Even George Romero's "Survival of the Dead" received mixed reviews from the viewing public and so now out of desperation, I seek out tales of the zombie genre in comic books and in novels. Well, writer Ryan Brown tries to do something different; Zombies and Football--with an odd mix of sports drama and humor with Horror thriller elements. Well, "Play Dead" isn't Robert Kirkham's "The WALKING DEAD" but it proved to be an entertaining read. It is a good attempt at something original after all.

The Killington High School Football team, the Jackrabbits is one win away from playing in the District Championship where they will face their most fierce rivals, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. This is a first in town history so folks are real excited about this sign of hope. However on the day that they were about to play the final qualifying game, the Jackrabbit's star QB, Cole Logan is brutally attacked and severely injured by three guys in ski-masks. Excused from the game because of his injuries, the team departs but they never make it to the game as the bus carrying them plunges into the river and it kills every player save for Cole. Now, angry for revenge, Logan enlists the aid of a fan; a woman who knows witchcraft to get some payback for those who did the team wrong. His teammates are resurrected and unless they win the game against the Badgers, their souls will be damned forever with the townsfolk their is win or lose to either be saved or be condemned to eternal hell.
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