Reviewed By Phillip Tomasso for Zombie Guide Magazine
THE GRAVE: A ZOMBIE NOVEL -
One of my favorite writers was Michael Crichton. I devoured his books. Loved how they comprised of a gathered team sent to investigate some oddity. It happened in Sphere, and Jurassic Park, in Congo and Timeline. Russ Watts’ The Grave reminded me of a well-crafted Crichton novel.
The Grave is set nearly 200 years in the future. The earth has been punished. Much of the land is dead. Nothing grows on it. There is limited water . Droughts are like a plague. In a knee jerk reaction to reverse the global decay an artificial water known as “Aqua-Gene 119″ is introduced. While it is 99% like real water, the 1% chemical produced undesired side effects; long term use and consumption killed people. They didn't stay dead. They returned from the dead and were then known as the “Deathless.”
A team of scientists and journalists are assembled by the American Museum of Natural History to look for a Deathless cure in the Antarctic. Their plane goes down on an island by New Zealand known as The Grave. This ocean-surrounded plot of land has been used to stash the Deathless. With a perimeter heavily protected by the military and UN ships, nothing –not even birds– leave the island. Regardless, the survivors of the crash hold onto hope that a rescue to extract them from the dangers that surround them.
In need of food, drinkable water and shelter, the band of survivors realize they are unable to stay by the remains of the wreckage. They are forced to maneuver the island in search of a way to safety. They soon learn that political plots and governmental secrets may prove twice as dangerous as the hordes of flesh eating Deathless that outnumber them thousands to one.
Russ Watts impressed me. I am not sure what else to say. It is not that I did not expect an entertaining novel. It is that I rarely expect one as smooth, intense, and compelling as this. With well-defined characters, and believable plot, crisp dialogue and a barrage of action . . . I started the book and finished it in just a few sittings. Other things that needed to get done around the house were neglected. I am anxious to read Watts’ other zombie novels. The Grave is right up on top as one of my favorite zombie novels.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
THE OCEAN KING is a horror novel written by Russ Watts. Don O'Reilly is an
ex-Navy SEAL who is currently the head of security for Wild Seas Park.
His service in the Navy has left him with a recurring nightmare about a
failed operation in Somalia. His lifeline is his young friend, Amanda, one
of the animal trainers at the park. Her boyfriend, Hamish, works with his
father, Curtis, on his fishing sloop, and the two encounter a strange
prehistoric creature floating out at sea. The creature seems lifeless, so
they decide to bring it aboard. When they arrive back on shore, the
creature is stirring and Zola Bertoni, the director of Wild Seas, quickly
offers Curtis a hefty price for it. She's planning a grand event where
Diablo will be introduced to the public.
Russ Watts' horror action novel, The Ocean King, is a clever, modernized
homage to the Godzilla movies of the fifties. I had a lot of fun reading
this book and even did a Google search to see pictures of the dinosaurs
Amanda thought might be the ancestors of Diablo. The psychological
aspects of The Ocean King were also riveting. Don is a marvelous main
character who is clearly tormented by his past. His childhood was cut
short by his dad's premature death and his mother's physical abuse, and
his tour as a SEAL ended in tragedy. The images of him quietly depositing
thousands of dollars into an account to support the mother who despises
him are haunting and sad. The Ocean King is an exciting, fast-paced and
enjoyable story and is recommended reading.
Reviewed by Tanja Jurkovic for Readers' Favorite
ZOMBIE EMPIRE -
What would you do if you woke up in the middle of nowhere, alone, and with no recollection of how you got there? It was a quiet day in the small village of Kinver in western England...almost too quiet for Ursula, a young investigative reporter who found herself in the middle of a government secret experiment that took place in the nearby Drakelow Tunnels, barely getting out of there alive. She roams the abandoned streets of the village, with a bloody knife in her hands, trying desperately to remember what happened to her. All of a sudden, she realises that she is not alone, and that the inhabitants of the village are not as friendly as she thought.
Russ Watts creates suspense with every word he writes in his novel Zombie Empire, leading the reader through this apocalyptic story in a very innovative and unusual way. He makes us care for the characters, using elaborate tellings of their stories in the process, imagining what would happen if all of a sudden the whole world found itself on the verge of an apocalypse, facing a threat bigger than life itself. Russ Watts' Zombie Empire offers an intriguing version of an apocalyptic scenario, inviting the reader to become completely immersed in this dystopian story of epic proportions, each time following a different character and witnessing their destinies first hand, observing how the world gets more horrific and smaller by the minute. It is impossible to put down this novel before reading it through to the very end!
Reviewed By Sefina Hawke for Readers' Favorite
ZOMBIEKILL: A POST APOCALPYTIC THRILLERby Russ Watts is a fictional horror, fantasy, thriller, and science fiction novel of a zombie apocalypse that will appeal most to an audience of young adults and adults with a stomach for horror and gore in the extreme, as well as a love of all things zombie. Zombiekill follows three main groups/families; one group is a family that has barricaded themselves in their home, another is a millionaire in his mansion, and another is locked in a motel. The three groups are waiting for the rescue promised before the television broadcasts cut out. They tell themselves that the major cities are being cleared first and they just have to keep waiting, but for how long can they wait?
Zombiekill by Russ Watts has all the necessary elements of a horrifying zombie apocalypse tale and is without a doubt a horror story in that the main characters live in fear, the detailed descriptions of gore, and the huge numbers of people who are dead or dying. Zombiekill also has its moments of sadness when fear is absent. At the beginning of the book there is a family of three living trapped inside their own house when the mother sees a woman fleeing from the zombies. She runs to let her into the house, only to end up dead with the father hitting and blaming the daughter for his wife’s death. The book has a somber feeling to it in many of the moments that are not filled with horror. I personally found that these moments offered a good balance to the book
Reviewed by Cheryl Schopen for Readers' Favorite
HAMSIKKER: A ZOMBIE APOCALPYSE Novel by Russ Watts, Jonas
Hamsikker returns home to Kentucky, where a not-so-pleasant past is there waiting for him. While trying to deal with memories he’d rather forget, he soon realizes he must face something far worse: the zombie apocalypse. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the dead are rising, attacking and killing or infecting people. Jonas, with his axe, his weapon of choice, must keep his wife and the rest of his group safe while trying to survive this horrifying new world they now live in. Faced with difficult choices and witnessing and being a part of some gruesome obstacles, Jonas must do everything he can to protect the people who have come to depend on him.
I’m a sucker for a good zombie book and this one did not disappoint. It had me on the edge of my seat, not even realizing how tightly I was gripping the book, focusing on the carnage that was taking place right before my very eyes. The violence and the bloodshed were definitely riveting, which is an absolute must for this type of novel. I found myself having to look away a few times, as if I were watching a disturbing scene in a horror movie, which is exactly what I’m looking for in a zombie book. I was also invested in the characters’ lives, which is bittersweet in these circumstances because there’s a good chance that a lot of them will die.
With a frightening yet entertaining plot, excellent writing by Russ Watts, and a surprising ending, Hamsikker is certainly a must-read. I cannot wait to read more from this fantastic author.
Reviewed By J. Aislynn d Merricksson for Readers' Favorite
ADRENAL7N: A POST APOCALYPTIC THRILLER - Adrenal7n follows Bashar, a Syria immigrant to England, as he desperately searches for a job. No matter how qualified Bashar is, as soon as potential employers learn he is Syrian, they shut down. After another failed interview, Bashar stops in a café for a cup of tea. As Bashar sits listening to the other patrons, and thinking of his wife Nurtaj, on her way to join him at last, a fog begins to creep down the street. Now this is London and, like San Francisco, fog is par for the course. But as it spreads, the fog grows darker and darker until it has turned day to night and obscured everything it envelops. As the others discuss leaving, or if trains will be delayed, they begin to hear noises carrying through the fog. Eerie cries, moans, shuffling, and then a ground-shaking thud that rattles the building.
As they all peer out the café windows, the inky fog swirls with the approaching sound, revealing a massive scaly foot as some impossibly large creature passes by. Panic ensues, but attempts to leave prove fruitless, as are all attempts to call 999, reach family members, or access the internet for news. Two are snatched through the opened doorway when people try leaving. Then, a woman from the outside enters, looking dazed and bearing grievous wounds. She soon proves dangerous, as she attacks several of the others. Angie, a young girl snatched away, returns and also attacks the patrons. It's clear something is very, very wrong. Before all is said and done, only three of the original nine in the café remain alive, and the building is on fire. Bashar, Lulu, and Tony set out to find Tony’s van, encountering numerous bodies and several more of the possessed dead. They find only a single person still living. Neale joins the three as they attempt to escape the fog zone. But there is no escape. The fog seems endless, and filled with corpses, the undead, and impossible things far more dangerous. Where did the fog come from, and what is creating the zombies? Where is the owner of the massive leg that shook the ground? Can Bashar and his companions find their way to loved ones?
Living in a fog zone, as I do, this story creeped me out! Our fog is so prevalent, it even has a name - Karl. If you live in fog-prone areas too, you'll be giving the fog a second glance or two, listening into the abyss for the sounds of shuffling, moaning, and the fantastical footsteps of kaiju after reading Adrenal7n. I was strongly reminded of the BBC Sherlock episode The Hounds of Baskerville, yet on a much grander scale than just Duir's Hollow and the moor. Watts does a great job of getting you invested in the main characters. I really feel for Bashar most of all. It's so sad to realise how hard it must be for immigrants from “terrorist” nations to get jobs, and it saddens me to think of the cruelty they must endure from ignorant people. These lessons are particularly timely, given the current ignorance-based prejudice that is so prevalent in the US right now. The writing is quite engaging, reminding me of Dean Koontz's and Hunter Shea’s works. This was my first introduction to Russ Watts' writings, and I went and threw a few more of his books on my TBR list.
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