This week I thought I might try something different and see how it goes over. I just read three great books in a row, so I thought I might throw all three review up on the blog and see if anybody gives a shit. If you do, hey, maybe Review Week! will become a recurring event. If not, I'll be back to my usual bullshit next week. So, with that being said, let's kick it off with THE BREADWINNER by our good friend, Stevie Kopas:
About THE BREADWINNER:
The end of the world is not glamorous.
In a matter of days the human race was reduced to nothing more than vicious, flesh hungry creatures.
Criminal defense attorney, Samson, struggles to keep his family safe and his sanity intact when the world comes apart at the seams. Veronica, the high school track star, races to get her brother out of their doomed city. Ben, a military veteran, is forced to come to grips with the end of the world as he fights the undead. Andrew, a police officer, struggles to maintain some sort of humanity in a world overrun by death and destruction.
There are no heroes here, just survivors, and they all have one thing in common: who you once were can no longer determine who you will be in the face of catastrophe.
THE BREADWINNER, book 1 in The Breadwinner Trilogy, thrusts you head first into post-apocalyptic Northwest Florida and will leave you craving more.
It's available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and can be discussed on Goodreads.
So I'm sitting here reading a perfectly serviceable modern zombie novel. A couple of survivors with a give-'em-Hell attitude and tales of woe battle the gruesome undead while trapped in an urban hellscape after the collapse of woefully inadequate emergency services - you know the score. Not brilliant, not terrible, just your standard "Walking Dead" clone that maybe you give three stars if you remember it long enough afterward to review it.
Then in walks Moira Eckhart.
Moira is an ingenious creation, I dare say one of the greatest and most mortifying characters in modern horror. She's clearly a villain and yet...there's no moustache-twirling to her. She's just adamant in refusing to bend to the new reality of a zombie apocalypse. Her attitude is that the world will simply have to adapt to suit her lifestyle and not the reverse.
It's such a brilliant, original, cuttingly satirical take on modern American culture that I can hardly believe it's never been done before. Most zombie stories - hell, most stories, period - make their hay out of how the characters change in the wake of dire straits - with their true faces laid bare, are they really a hero, really a villain, or really just a pragmatist? Moira eschews that entire journey by refusing to ever take off her mask.
Her children are trophies. Her husband - the titular breadwinner - is a trophy. She's even aware to some extent that she's a trophy. And while the reasonable characters are off hunting and scrabbling for a can of beans to survive the night, Moira refuses to cede one centimeter of her opulent lifestyle to reality. It's such a perverse notion, such an American notion - the sting of Kopas's satire cuts deep. I think most of us imagine we'll be Gary Cooper when the end of the world comes, but his glory days have long since dwindled into twilight. We're a culture steeped in the Kardashian ethos now.
Perhaps THE BREADWINNER is a metaphor. Moira represents the cult of celebrity, husband and breadwinner Samson is the American public who indulge such navel-gazing, and in the end it's only the children who suffer. Then again, maybe it's just a gleefully dark and twisted tale of a uniquely American suburban nightmare. Either way, it's definitely worth your time and money. 5 stars.
About Stevie Kopas:
Stevie Kopas was born and raised in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. She is a gamer, a writer and an apocalypse enthusiast. Stevie will never turn down a good cup of coffee and might even be a bit of a caffeine addict.
Stevie is the author of THE BREADWINNER TRILOGY. Books 1 and 2, THE BREADWINNER and HAVEN were originally self-published in 2013 and 2014. THE BREADWINNER TRILOGY was picked up by Permuted Press in May of 2014 and the second editions of both the first books were released in March and April of 2015. The third and final installment in THE BREADWINNER TRILOGY, ALL GOOD THINGS, debuted in May of 2015.
Kopas also participates in the AT HELL'S GATES horror anthologies and all profits are donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Her short stories, "Nefarious" and "Patient 63" can be found in the first two volumes of AT HELL'S GATES.
She currently resides in Panama City Beach, Florida and tries to spend as much time as she can in the sun.
Stevie is also the Managing Editor of the website Horror Metal Sounds and a writer for the site. She is an avid reader of horror and post-apocalyptic fiction (especially zom-poc) and reviews for The Bookie Monster. Offline, Stevie is a telecommunications professional.
You can connect with her on her official website, Facebook, and Twitter.