Posts Tagged ‘ian woodhead’

Dead Reaping

January 25, 2013 - 2:09 pm No Comments

Dead Reaping
Author: Ian Woodhead
Page count/size: 113pp/278KB
Release Date: 15th Jan 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Woodhead’s Zombie Armageddon series has been going for quite some time and this around book number five. From the early days of The Unwashed Dead, a zombie fan favourite, to the later books, particularly Dead Veil, Woodhead’s work has been consistent. When reviewing his work I have stated there are editorial issues, however, I have also stated that Woodhead’s zombies are amongst the most intriguing zombies I have come across, with different variations including Hunters, who retain their intellect and ability to speak to the neanderthal-esque Climbers and straight forward dead zombies.

Whilst Woodhead’s books are on the short side, I can safely say that they generally deliver; characters that intrigue the reader and plenty of blood, gore and biting. However, on recently reading Dead Veil, the previous book in the series, the writer left us with a cliffhanger about the Manchester compound, which unfortunately does not get resolved in this book. I suspect he is planning to bring all of the elements together in a further novel to tie it all together. It would be a shame if this wasn’t resolved.

This brings me neatly to Dead Reaping, the continuation of the series, in which we meet a new community of survivors who have created a commune to live together, forage and grow vegetables, despite being surrounded by the dead. Among the commune, there are those who are ‘tainted’ like Clarisse who has a sham marriage to Dominic, and Clarisse carries the zombie gene within her. The commune is policed by Adjustment Officers who clear the surrounding area of the dead, and also hunt out these ‘tainted’ survivors. If Clarisse is discovered, she will be destroyed, so Dominic protects her secret. As well as this group, we have a religious commune ruled by Abbot Moses (Lee) formerly a Hunter, living on scraps of tainted flesh. He ironically preaches abstinence from consuming flesh despite keeping his own small stash. Abbot Moses and his Brothers, are acolytes, with best friend Brother Jacob, are once normal men who use religion to keep control of the Hunters. They exist on their ‘supplements’ of tainted flesh, whilst denying others. But this state of denial can’t last for long, particularly as their mental wellbeing and memories are affected by the lack of flesh.

Back in the other community, there is also the mysteries ‘Our Lady’ who has some sort of power over the tainted and makes predictions about the commune.

There is most definitely a religious overtone to this novel that doesn’t appear in the others, so it comes as something of a surprise and a distraction, and Abbot Moses does become a somewhat confusing character throughout the novel as his mind deteriorates. This is not the best of Woodhead’s novels, however, the series itself is engaging and the big reveal at the end of the novel about one of the characters is a doozy! Furthermore, it does rattle along at a steady pace and the author is always reliable at delivering an interesting slant on the zombie genre. I look forward to his next book and the continuation of the series.

Review – Walking With Zombies

September 20, 2011 - 4:22 pm No Comments

Walking With Zombies
Author: Ian Woodhead
Publisher: Kindle Edition
Page count: 75pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
The follow up to Woodhead’s earlier Zombie hit The Unwashed Dead (Zombie Armageddon)
, Walking with Zombies (Zombie Armageddon) carries on the theme of highlighting the decay in urban areas and the horror inherent in every day life.

The novella starts with Talbot Field. Wife Beater and Debt Enforcer, Talbot, like many of Woodhead’s characters, represents all that is bad, real and grimy about society, in this case, inner city Bradford. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as Lester Field Talbot’s Dad is pretty much the same man. Then there is young Thomas, a Jonah, and bad luck follows home everywhere but doesn’t affect him. Along with more rag tag characters including Dominic the cook and Marlene the bar maid, the cast of this novella is drawn towards a social club run by lethario Brendan, where the majority wait out this zombie apocalypse. Tonight is Zombie Night, the night when the pensioners descend on the Club for drinks and entertainment once the bingo is over.

During the apocalypse, Talbot is quickly infected, but unlike the regular zombies, he is different. He is in control of his needs and emotions and can hear the thoughts of his victims pre-empting their escape routes. Talbot is intent on building his own army of super zombies but must escape the regular shamblers who seem desperate to destroy him.

There are some technical errors such as names being mixed up and the odd typos, but the humour bubbles from the text and the Club setting is great for character exploration, violence and plenty of jokes. Each character has a distinctive voice of their own and Woodhead excels at local dialect and accent. This is a thoroughly British book, the feel reminiscent of Peter Kaye’s Pheonix Nights and is all the more fun because of it. I read it in one sitting. It is a great read and really good fun.

If you like the look of this book, check it out at Walking with Zombies (Zombie Armageddon)

Review: Undead Delight

May 19, 2011 - 10:44 pm No Comments

The Unwashed Dead Author:  Ian Woodhead

Price: From £2.06 (Kindle)

Reviewer:  Theresa Derwin

Immediate vicious attacks on the population of a Northern town by ‘Deadies’, aka zombies leaves the town occupied by the rather dislikeable undead and a number of less than savoury survivors. The plot isn’t of importance here. It is Woodhead’s playful use of a myriad of British recognisable stereotypes that makes The Unwashed Dead extremely good fun.  Like an old pair of socks or PJs, the novel is instantly recognisable and insanely comfortable as Woodhead pits the unlikeliest ‘heroes’ against the undead.

From teenager Kevin, to Ashton who kicks off the novel and ‘wholesome’ upstanding citizens Denis and Ernest, these characters are incredibly realistic, though they do represent the least favourable of British society. With a good use of ‘voice’ the dialogue is a brilliantly accurate representation of what ‘us Brits’ refer to as ‘The Unwashed Masses’; hence the ironic title. 

Woodhead knows his genre, offers plenty of gore and character interaction gives the reader a fun ride. It’s really, rather Chavtastic!