Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Reports #2

Okay, I actually read this book a while back, and a friend of mine wrote it... but he has a new wrinkle and I thought I'd mention it. If you've ever clicked on But The Third One Was Great! blog over there --> you've read some of Joshua Grover-David Patterson's work. His blog looks at the never-ending sequels to horror movies and has a good time making fun of the bad ones. He's an award winning film maker and has written for film related magazines like FILM THREAT and others.

Well, he wrote a novel called MERCY - a Kindle & Nook original - that is kind of LOST meets DAWN OF THE DEAD. A plane from Ethiopia crashes on a remote island and the survivors thought just finding food and shelter (and rescue) was going to be the worst of their problems... until the zombies began attacking. The zombie plague has broken out - and those passengers who went down with the plane, seat belted in? Once the seat belts rot their bloated corpses rise to the surface and come looking for flesh to eat!

Now, here's the interesting thing about MERCY - it's really a story about a mother (named Georgina Fulci - this book is fun) who will do anything to be reunited with her young adopted daughter (Mercy) and husband (Rob). The plane crash and zombies are the obstacles. So it's a story with lots of heart. Though there are plenty of zombie attacks, Josh doesn't go overboard on the gore - and that may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you like. I think by not overdoing the gross out stuff he makes the novel more human... and focuses on what makes us human. Those dead people attacking look like humans, but they aren't anymore, why?

The great thing about this book is that it never loses sight of the human side - Georgina's reason to live is to return home to her husband and daughter. Each of the characters is a real person with real problems, and the conflicts between the survivors form the real meat of the story. This, and specifically the character of Marshall (big guy, doesn't talk, deeply religious - reminded me of Tom Cullen) are the things that echoes Stephen King's THE STAND for me. On the island they must form a society and decide what's right and wrong and who lives and who dies - and some of the deaths are shocking.

One of the elements of the book is that Georgina becomes the surrogate mother for a child survivor, in a way adopting the kid the way she and her husband adopted their daughter. Motherhood, and that strength and power that comes from being a mother, are major elements in the story. That makes it more than just a zombie story - though it's a zombie story, too. A handful of people trapped on an island surrounded by zombies.

But one of the interesting factors of this story is that Josh and his wife have an adopted daughter from Ethiopia in real life... so this is kind of "write what youy know" (except for the whole plane crash and zombie attack part). The early chapter of the book in Ethiopia has that authenic feel because Josh has been there... that's where his daughter comes from. In an online conversation with a bunch of friends, he told a fascinating story about a man from Ethiopia who went to college in the United States (San Francisco I believe) and returned to Ethiopia to get kids interested in reading. In Ethiopia there are no libraries where a kid can get a book... and really no books for children. This guy has changed that - travelling from village to village on a *donkey* loaded with books! His version of a mobile library. He has since built some actual libraries, and now has several donkey mobile libraries making the rounds. That's an amazing story!

Well, Josh's new wrinkle is that he's going to donate 10% of all of his book sales to this guy with his donkey-libraries in his daughter's home country. He has a blog entry about it here. And if you just want to donate without buying his zombie book, there's a link on his blog.

But the zombie book is a lot of fun... and only $2.99. And lots of great reviews on Amazon that *aren't* from me.

- Bill


Leif said...

Damn, the donation to a good cause always gets me!

Your friend might be interested in this service I came across the does impartial reviews of books. Helps to get the review count up and add some publicity I think, which is a bit more authentic then asking all your friends to do it!


Tom Chandler said...

My wife and I adopted our daughter from Ethiopia, and while we managed to (inexplicably) avoid the whole Zombie Plague thing (probably because we took the polar route), I bought it, and it's waiting on my Nook.

Tell your friend you sold at least a couple copies for him today...

ps -- I love the blog, it's real and interesting.

onlinehealthcareservices said...

It is nice story but i did not face this kind of problem.so, i don't know about the solution.
Thanks for entertaining us.
- Bladder cancer

Joshua Grover-David Patterson said...

Leif: I heard about that, but I feel odd paying for reviews. Sending a free book is one thing, but this? I just dunno.

Tom: Thanks so much! If you dig the book, do me a favor and tell a friend!

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