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Those Poor, Poor Bastards (Dead West) (Volume 1) Paperback – March 5, 2014
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"...the authors have sidestepped a huge issue that zombie books/TV shows face by creating characters that have the promise to be multi-dimensional...Even if they aren't fully fleshed out yet, their relationships are, and that's what makes readers care. This isn't just a zombie novel with interesting backup characters. This is a character-driven, high-octane thrill ride with zombies as a backup. It's set in a dynamic Weird West, which is the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae. This series holds so much promise...I'm incredibly excited for what comes next."
- Sarah Chorn, Bookworm Blues
"Those Poor, Poor Bastards is like Night of the Living Dead meets H. P. Lovecraft and Dr. Fu Manchu. The characters stand out, the action moves quickly, and there's a great deal of it. It's a zombie novel. People in zombie novels don't try to understand zombies, they kill them...IF they don't get eaten first. When you get about halfway through however, you discover there's more going on than just your generic zombie apocalypse. If you aren't bothered by graphic content and like a good zombie tale, 'Dead West' is a series you'll want to sink your teeth into."
- Keith West, Amazing Stories
"If Night of the Living Dead happened in the Old West, it would be Those Poor, Poor Bastards. It's the first book in the 'Dead West' series, but in no way falls victim to the syndrome common to those sorts of books. TPPB is polished and as smooth as fine Scotch. It's violent, gory, and delightful."
- Dan Schwent, Dangerous Dan's Book Blog
"...the authors work their magic and you suddenly realize there is way more to this story. Bucking tradition, we're actually given an explanation into the Deaduns and how they came to be. Their origins and motives, not to mention the actual reveal itself, were so unique that it completely threw me for a loop--in a good way!"
- Mogsy, The Bibliosanctum
From the Author
With "Dead West" we are planning to write either a five or six-novel series. Though you will find zombies -- which we call 'deaduns' -- throughout, we are also interested in exploring character relationships, monsters, and mysticism, all within the setting of 19th century America. The series begins in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, near the infamous Donner Pass, during the time of rail expansion, and from there we expand outward as the evil spreads like ripples in a pond.
Very mild spoilers ahead, but also perhaps enough to intrigue you to invest in our series: "Dead West" is written from the perspective of a young woman who is half-Native American (Shoshone) and she has been living in the wilderness with her wasichu (white) father, an aging trailblazer and former fur trader, for many years, especially since the violence between the white man's Army and local natives have broken out. Now we introduce a new enemy into the mix, a mysterious necromancer type who guides his 'heavenly subjects,' a.k.a. 'deaduns' like pawns on a chessboard.
If you enjoy postapocalyptic (zom-poc) novels or Weird Western tales, or just like a ripping good action yarn with edgy dialogue and a fair amount of gore, this series is most definitely for you.
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Top customer reviews
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There is action aplenty, there is furious gunplay, there are characters knee deep in the blood and guts of their eviscerated friends - this is a high octane story. What makes this story stand out among the rest is the drama between the human characters - there are a bunch of survivors holed up a dilapidated and very fragile house, and they hate each other. They hate each other more than they want to survive this zombie outbreak. So while they have to protect themselves from the threat of the undead, they have to be even more watchful for sabotage within their ranks.
The lead character, Nina, is fantastic. She is a survivor, she is brave, she is loyal, and she is quick to lend her services to those who need help. She acts like she is the shoot first ask questions later type of person, but she always holds back from pulling the trigger, willing to give people the chance to redeem themselves right up until the end. The scenes between her and Jasmine are borderline wish-fulfilment, but they have context, they make sense, they are not gratuitous, and they make you feel stuff. The other characters get a fair representation, have their own quirks, strengths and weaknesses, but I think this story was a little to short to fully flesh these people out. And there is the whole zombie outbreak thing so you never know when one of them will bite it. Marquitz, Martin and Soward have said that they are planning for five more similar size novels, so hopefully we get to see some more background on the characters.
I really enjoyed Those Poor, Poor Bastards. Marquitz, Martin and Soward have put something together that I think really harmonizes and enhances each of their unique qualities. The problem is - how long do I have to wait before I get my next fill of Dead West?!
Ragnarok dubs this book as ‘The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels Collide.’ I can easily say this book is more fast paced than either of those shows, but still manages to create a cast of characters with enough personality to make the action matter. Nina, our main character, is half-Native American, with only her White father left alive. Her story begins with the desire to “do something other than scavenge abandoned sites and dicker for fixins with brown-toothed backwoodsmen.” Guess what, Nina, you’re about to get your wish, kinda. How about a demon-type zombie apocalypse that starts with horses and dogs running rampage on the small town you just entered. But, while trying to find a place to hole up, you’ll get stuck with some racist backwoodsmen.
Here’s a sample of the action to come:
A ball of fire plumed. The concussion rocked the ground. Nina felt the heat all the way to their hiding spot. Debris whizzed by, landing in the mud with thunks. The smells of charred wood, powder, and cooked horse burned her eyes. The livery office blazed; the stable roof was on fire, too.
“Ain’t all we got to worry about, Lincoln.”
They followed Manning’s nod, looked down the street where a dark shadow came pressing down from the west. Beneath its oppressiveness, folks ambled in the capering fog, forty or fifty strong; men and women, gunshot or hacked, afflicted with grievous wounds that should have killed them; they stood, bleeding and warped, teeth gnashing like those sick dogs and horses, a small army of persistent flesh. Some looked recently dug up, skin glowing gray in the mist, hair hanging in patches from skull-bare heads.
Nina felt sick. Her gut screamed at her to flee. “Pa. Mister Manning…”
“I’m there with ya, darlin’,” Manning said.
The three of them backed away, boots creaking on the wooden boards. Several pairs of rheumy eyes among the legion of…undead…turned their way. Nina cupped her hands over her ears as a collective moan went up.
Pa took aim, but then drew back. “Too many. Whatever the hell they are.”
Nina looked at her father. “What do we do?”
“Run,” he said.
Then two cadaverous claws broke through the store window behind James Manning and took hold of his shoulders.
The action and fear amp up from this early sample, but it is a good picture of what’s to come. The prose doesn’t get in its own way so you can fly through what happens, but still manages to keep us in Nina’s senses and fear. Looking back, she comes off as almost juvenile in this sample, which goes to show how much she’ll grow up by the time this story is finished. Her story is about keeping her older father alive, meeting people she’ll care for and hate, and discovering her spiritual gift while not wanting to believe in the spiritual world.
The action and plot provided enough surprises to keep me in suspense, but there is room for growth in future stories. Those Poor, Poor Bastards takes our cast of heroes into an abandoned outpost where they get surrounded by deaduns and a mystical figure who may be responsible from raising them to undead life. This semi-stationary aspect gives us time to see that the deaduns are not the only threat, and to root us in the characters we’ll cheer for and against in future books, but also gets exciting as the wave crashes over them.
Think tiny prejudicial town with a lust for the railroad. There are half-breed Indians, cowboys, a priest, a railroad boss, and other assorted characters. To survive, they must band together to live beyond the end of the world.
Welcome to the Old West, where the law is made by the person with the most bullets.
THOSE POOR, POOR BASTARDS has two drawbacks. First, the title. I'm not a fan of questionable words in the titles of my reading material, regardless of the vocabulary within the work. Besides, the title should reflect the western theme of the piece, not just the series name.
Secondly, this novelette is too plot-driven. The characters simply react to developments and have no time to determine any course of action for themselves. There just isn't any successful attempts at emotional depth.
Read this if:
* You want your story to be straightforward, without hidden meanings
* You like the idea of zombies in a western movie
* You don't mind the group solution over the loner, when it comes to surviving zombies