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The Dead Kindle Edition

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About the Author

Born in 1952, author-illustrator Mark E. Rogers is best known for the Samurai Cat books: The Adventures of Samurai Cat, More Adventures of Samurai Cat, Samurai Cat in the Real World, The Sword of Samurai Cat, and Samurai Cat Goes to the Movies. The sixth and final installment in the series, Samurai Cat Goes to Hell, was recently published by TOR. His other books include The Dead, Zorachus, The Nightmare of God, The Expected One, The Devouring Void, and The Riddled Man. One of his novellas, The Runestone, was made into a movie; and The Dead is presently under development as a feature film---with a screenplay by Mark---at KNB-EFX. Mark's work has been adapted by Marvel comics, and has appeared on the cover of Cricket Magazine; he's published three art portfolios, and a collection of his pin-up paintings, Nothing But A Smile, is due in mid-2000 from Xenophile Books. Mark lives in Newark, Delaware, with his wife Kate---a philosophy professor at the U of D---and their four lovely kids, Sophie, Jeannie, Patrick, and Nick.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

THE DEAD

Mark E. Rogers

The moon looked as if it were hanging directly over the border between sea and beach; the surf was a silverlit fury of water and spray.

Hell, Gary thought, If that moon was any brighter, there'd be a rainbow. He took a hit from his flask.

The wind began to blow harder. Despite the warmth the liquor sent coursing through his veins, the breeze still cut.

God, is this really July?

He began thinking about that nice warm bed back at the house. Yes, it was time to head on home. Maybe there'd be news about mom....

"Dammit, God," he said, "I know I don't believe in you, but please let her be okay."

He was about to get up when he noticed something drifting in on one of the combers. Dark and rectangular, it looked almost like a piece of plywood; then he saw it was riding too high in the water. Back of some kind of flotation cushion, maybe.....But there was something about the stability of its movements that suggested something heavy beneath it.

Holy shit, he thought. A flotation cushion. And just about the size of an airline seatback.

The waves pushed it closer to the shore. Soon it was in the surf. Gary sat motionless, hoping his worst suspicion would not be confirmed. He tried to think of something else that could be attached----

(With a seatbelt, Gary?)

to an airliner flotation seatback, something else besides a......

The object tilted in the surf, and a wave caught it, tumbling the whole mass over. Sitting there serenely, as though he were asleep and not a day-old drowned corpse, was a dead gentleman in a business suit. It was hard to tell at that distance, but he seemed to have a large crab clinging to his face.

Gary felt suddenly sick, but parts of his mind remained strangely objective about the whole business. Should he try to haul the guy up on the beach? What exactly should he say when he phoned the cops?

Still he had not moved. Civic duty or no, he found he had no inclination to. Used to dead bodies neatly tucked into coffins, behaving themselves at funeral parlors, he was totally unprepared to deal with one in the process of washing ashore. And this one was an Italian tourist, no less. All the way from Rome, maybe, four thousand miles to drown off the Jersey coast.

The seat shifted with each wave, but it had pretty much run aground. Surf sloshed over the man's face, but the crab was still clinging to him. Looked like it had him by the mouth. Big damn crab.

No seafood for a year, Gary told himself.

That was when he saw the corpse reach up and tear the crustacean off.

What the----

A wave splashed over the body. When it receded, the corpse's hand was back at its side.

Old eyes playing tricks on you, Gary thought. Too much scotch. Wasn't any crab to begin with----

This line of argument was cut short as the corpse's pale hands whipped to the seatbelt and undid it.

Gary pressed himself slowly back against the boulder, trying to melt into the stone, even as he ran through the very compelling reasons why he had nothing to fear and could not possibly have seen what he had just seen.....

With a fearsomely quick movement, the corpse rolled from the seat, knocking it on its side as it passed over the armrest; then in an explosive splash it jacknifed up into a sitting position. Chin dripping foam, it appeared to be eyeing the jetty.

Jesus Oh God can it see me........?

But if the corpse was aware of Gary, it paid him no heed; its face swivelled seaward and jerked to a crisp, precise halt. Gary guessed he could not be all that obvious, with his dark-blue jacket and pants against the dark granite. There wasonly his pasty white face, and there was nothing to be done about that, not even cover it with his pasty white hands.....All he could do was press himself flatter and flatter against the stone and pray to Jesus Christ Almighty that he was just too damn drunk and none of this was happening.....

The corpse shot to its feet like a spear thrust up out of the surf. Gary's eyes darted eastward, out to sea, towards the spot it seemed to be staring at.

Three round things appeared in the trough between two waves and started towards the shore. Swells rolled over them, but each time they reappeared, closer to the beach. After a time they were clearly recognizeable as heads, rising slowly from the water, faces pale beneath dark hanging hair. Shiny black shoulders broke the surface; white collars gleamed. Pressing purposefully through the foam, barely staggering as waves crashed into them, the figures halted suddenly where the water was only knee-deep.

The corpse strode out to meet them, splashing through the shallows like an overwound toy soldier. As it came up beside them, they pivotted mechanically around; the four marched back out into the Atlantic, finally sinking from sight.

Frigid sweat poured down Gary's face.

Gone, he thought. They're gone.

He was leaping from stone to stone down towards the beach before he even realized it. Bounding onto the sand, he pelted across the beach to the boardwalk, not stopping till he reached his parents' house.


Product Details

  • File Size: 521 KB
  • Print Length: 334 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 193486126X
  • Publisher: Permuted Press (November 14, 2009)
  • Publication Date: November 14, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003AQBBTA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,838 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Tresca VINE VOICE on April 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
I met Mark Rogers at a fiction convention. Bored and sensing a kindred spirit, I hung around Mark's table, a little lost in the swirl of all the agents, publishers, and hopeful authors like myself.

When I mentioned that I write book reviews, Mark offered me not just one book, but all of them - literally, the entire pile of books he had on his table. I just couldn't do take him up on his offer; as much as I'd love to write reviews for all of his books, the odds of me finishing any of them in a reasonable period of time (say, before I see him again in a year at another convention) were low. So I only picked up a few. Then he asked me the magic question: "Are there are any in particular you're interested in?"

I pointed at The Dead, with its disturbing cover of a wicked-looking dead man. And thus I became acquainted with Mark's style of horror.

Mark is what I like to call a double-threat. Mark's not just an artist; he's an amazing talent reminiscent of Frank Frazetta. After reading The Dead, it's apparent that he's also an exceptional author. It just isn't fair!

When I picked up The Dead, Mark warned me "there are typos." That's not entirely true. I found only one actual misspelling. But something happened during layout, such that every few paragraphs two words run together. Somehow, these kinds of errors offend me far less than misspellings.

I expected a zombie book. In fact, I was intrigued how one writes a zombie-themed novel. After awhile the zombies have to get a little boring, right? What I got instead was something completely different: a good old-fashioned fire-and-brimstone tale of the apocalypse, complete with the dead walking the earth to claim souls for Hell.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Patrick S. Dorazio VINE VOICE on November 3, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of zombie fiction. I have read most of what Amazon has to offer and will continue to seek out more as more product is produced. After reading some of the reviews of this book, I was pretty prepared to be disappointed in this novel as a real diversion from standard zombie fiction that gets preachy and rather annoying. I was happily mistaken in that presumption.

Certainly, this book utilizes christianity as a background with which to play with. The dead here are angry, vicious, damned souls that want nothing more than to destroy the rest of humanity, to pull them down to their own cursed level instead of being mindless flesh eaters. They rip and tear at people but do not devour them-it is not their purpose to consume the living but to have them join them in their agony.

Unlike "The Rising" and "City of the Dead" by Brian Keene, you do not get the sense that these cursed souls from the abyss or their demon overseer are being forced to act like Romero zombies because the author wants to bridge the gap between Romero and the Bible. At least that is not the sense I got. I am not saying that Brian Keene didn't do a good job of it, but this felt more biblical, more epic in nature. I got the feeling that the Mark Rogers created these creatures and felt no need to slap an added layer of "varnish" on them to make them more like other similar creatures in other works.

I would agree that the main characters do fit into some stereotypical molds-the agnostic, the atheist, the religious zealots, etc. It did not detract from the overall story though. They were only stereotypes on the surface-the character development was still satisfactory and individualized these people quite well.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Erin Moore on February 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was a fan of this book from way back, so when I found out there was a new edition, I had to get it. For some reason, the Amazon folks don't mention that this version has a whole bunch of illustrations by the author. Depicting several of the novel's creepiest scenes, they are painterly, atmospheric and thoroughly disgusting. And not just zombies...We also get to see a variety of devils and apocalyptic fauna running amok in the ruins of New Jersey.
As I recall, earlier editions of the book had a lot of typos. Those have been cleaned up, as well. (Not that they were a major distraction to begin with.)
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A. Reid VINE VOICE on September 5, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OR your standard fan of religious fiction, but it's likely to be highly effective for its particular niche.

Having recently had my first taste of zombie written fiction, I decided to pick up Mark E. Roger's The Dead based on the recommendation of a friend. I didn't fully understand what I was getting into, and I have to admit I felt somewhat duped when I first started reading. For me, religion is serious business. Zombie fiction is not. Finding out that the zombie book I'd just picked up was coming at me from the pulpit, as it were, was a little like walking into a Halloween haunted house and finding out a local church was just trying to score some pro-life points. It's sneaky and not especially nice. I have to admit, though, that the book won me over. There are long passages that clearly exist simply to proselytize and speeches given by characters that seem far too organized to occur ex tempore. But they were, if not especially realistic, thought provoking and well-written. Badly edited, but well-written.

The horror in this novel is secondary to its purpose: to make you question your preparation for the end of the world. If you're okay with that, you may find yourself enjoying the book as much as I did.
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