Biters / The Reborn by Harry Shannon & Brett J. Talley

Retro Review



Biters & The Reborn by Harry Shannon & Brett J. Talley
Horror Novellas, 230 Pages
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The Double Down series continues with two novellas that explore very different post-apocalyptic worlds. 

Harry Shannon's Biters is classic noir set at the end of the world. Buck Ryan can't get enough of Sarah, but she's had more than enough of her husband. To win the girl for good, all Ryan has to do is kill the man, steal his money and survive the zombie apocalypse on the way back. Piece of cake. 

Marcus Ryder ended the Great War with one shot in Brett J. Talley's The Reborn. He comes home to a brave new world where reincarnation is scientific fact and a simple blood test can reveal exactly who a person will be even before they are born. But when he is chosen for an elite unit that punishes people for their crimes in a past life and stops crime before it starts, Ryder begins to question what he knows about morality and justice. And all the while, the mysterious figure that plunged the world into war may be on the rise again.

This novel contains two novellas that are not connected in any way except for the fact that they both take place many years after a world changing event occurs.

First up is Harry Shannon’s Biters. Now I’m not going to lie, I had some problems with Biters. If you loved Biters you might not want to read my words.  Many people are forgiving sorts but I’m afraid I’m not one of them.  So when the protagonist utters the following I find it hard to go on and/or to care about anything he does pretty much thereafter.
She was working him good now, sitting there on the seat all cute and begging. She knew how to charm a man out of his shirt, just like every other bitch he’d ever known.”
Excuse me? What’d he just say?  I realize he’s living in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse and he’s all hardened up and manly man and has scars on his soul but I don’t think that’s an excuse for having such a horrible attitude towards all female kind. Guys can be bitches too but I don’t despise them all for a horrible few. Sorry, it had to be said. I was hoping he’d have some sort of turnaround and I could get over my distaste but it really didn’t happen.

Why can’t he more like this guy?


I mean, would it kill a guy to show a little kindness in his thoughts?

Perhaps it would. What do I know? I haven’t exactly suffered through a zombie apocalypse and been betrayed by bitches of any gender. What I do know is that I did not like Buck Ryan and that’s a problem seeing as he’s the lead character. Honestly, I did not like any of the human characters. Not a one. They’re all jerks. They all deserve to have their brains eaten by zombies or to be extruded through a meat grinder to feed the poor homeless doggies wandering the landscape. Had that happened I might be a little happier.

I admit that I skimmed a little on the way to the end because I just didn’t want to spend any more time with these people. It isn’t really a zombie story and it definitely wasn’t a story meant for the likes of me.  It’s more a story of betrayal that reminded me a bit of the old Tales from the Crypt comics and that’s all I have to say about it. You may love it. I see lots of people did. So don’t listen to me.

I give it 2.5 stars only because of Dog . Dog was awesome.

The other story is The Reborn by Brett J. Talley. Now this one here hooked me immediately. It opens with a shocking and brutal scene that stunned me. I didn’t think it would go there but it did. I had to keep reading and didn’t stop until I finished.
It is the late summer of 2050, seventeen years after the end of the Great War, and twenty-five years after A-Day.
The world is now very different than the one we all live in. Crime has become nearly extinct, so much so that police officers have little to do and are getting laid off.  But underneath the false sense of utopia there is a dark undercurrent of betrayal, corruption and brutality that may be pure evil.

Marcus just lost his job with the police force and is approached by a man who offers him a sweet new position with a top secret organization. He’s kind of desperate and accepts without asking too many questions. What “The Shepherds” do and why they do it are revealed in bits and pieces throughout the story. I’m not going to give it away but trust me it’s harsh and horrifying and it’s awful and by the time Marcus figures it all out he’s in too deep to bow out easily.

This story is action packed. Now I’m not an action fangirl by any means but unlike the previous story I was interested to see what would happen to Marcus. Marcus had compassion and questioned the system and that’s why I kept on reading.  The concept was chilling and creative and I enjoyed it immensely despite all of the action and war talk.  4.5 stars  

*The FTC makes me declare that I received this copy from the author. I hope he doesn't regret it. 

Comments

  1. I think it's safe to say that with the characters in Biters, I'll be avoiding it! They sound dreadful!

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  2. Thanks for the warning on Biters. I have no desire to read books with characters like that. And also thanks for the Daryl Dixon photo - nice way to start the day. I'm glad you liked the second story much better.

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  3. Dang it. My comment disappeared. LOL Yeah, why can't they be like Daryl! He's my man:) I'd like to read these because of your feelings about them, good and not so good. You've got me curious now.

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    Replies
    1. Give it a go, I'd love to read your review!

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  4. We need lots of Daryls in the apocalypse. Love that pic of him :) Sorry biters was a bomb but it sounds like The Reborn more than made up for it.

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    1. The Reborn was terrific. It was such an odd pairing of stories.

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  5. Ummmm, what? I definitely agree with you about the bitch thing. I wouldn't like that character either. I don't like jerky, disrespectful characters like that. The second story sounds interesting though, and you have my curiosity piqued!

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    1. The Reborn was really unique and is worth a read.

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  6. Oh hell yes, Reborn sounds soooo much better than the first! Great review (and any regrets from the author?)

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