I’ve known of Craig Wallwork for quite awhile. We both frequent The Velvet forums, though him more so than me. A lot like the other writers on The Velvet his work was one that I always meant to check out. His name has sat on that ever growing list of people I want to read. With the publication of Warmed and Bound, an anthology from The Velvet, that finally changed. After reading Craig’s story, Bruised Flesh, I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long to check his work out. Coincidentally, right after I finished reading W&B I came across the pre-order for his first book, Quintessence of Dust. I jumped all over that. It was really cool that while waiting for my copy of the book to arrive Kuboa Press made a few of their titles available for free on smashwords. I was able to download QoD and read it before the physical book was in my hands.
This is a collection of eleven stories, all well written and most are a bit twisted. There is one common factor that binds all these stories together, and that is Mr. Wallwork’s amazing talent. From the emotional impact of a father and his young daughter fighting to survive in Night Holds A Scythe; to one man’s duty to be there for his best friend, who happens to be a Minotaur, in Men of Honor. These stories are original, interesting, and extremely well written. Craig Wallwork seems to have quite the imagination, and he possesses the skills to expertly convey said imagination onto paper.
It would almost be too difficult to pick a favorite from this collection, but if pressed, I really enjoyed Morning Birdsong quite a bit. The character of Ralph was both humorous yet heroic when the time called for it. There could be a larger story behind this short one, and I would be all for reading it.
These stories will pull you into their world and you will know these characters like they are your friends, or your neighbors, or someone sitting next to you on the train. There is no doubt in my mind that Craig Wallwork is a name we’ll be seeing more of, and I for one am grateful. He writes the kind of stories that keeps me reading books, and he writes them better than a lot of the big names.
Buy it Here Quintessence of Dust
Even though the market for the zombie genre is getting over-saturated I’m still a pretty big fan of the living dead. What I mean by big fan is really more toward the visual side, movies, television shows, and video games. It wasn’t until here recently that I started reading books and stories featuring the undead. I used to think that a good zombie apocalypse would be hard to translate to the written word in an entertaining way. I have since realized I was wrong.
This book starts out like a lot of horror movies, with kids out partying and getting into trouble. While out joy riding in one of their dads bakery truck they run over what appears to be a drunk guy. They do the horror movie thing and try to cover it up, because that always works so well. The real meat of the story takes place the next day at a convention center, which is rented to a group called Recipe Days during the day time. In the evening the convention center is rented to pro wrestlers coming to do a show. The two groups over lap when the wrestlers show up early. After intimidating the ladies from Recipe Days they help themselves to some doughnuts from a certain bakery truck. What follows is one extremely entertaining read. Once the action kicks in it does not let up.
SGJ treats us to a unique and interesting Zombie story where the survivors are not your normal one-dimensional horror fare. His characters are very real, intelligent people fighting for their lives. Also, with his zombies he adds some new interesting twists.
Jones is a master storyteller, I have enjoyed everything I’ve read from him quite a bit, and this book was no exception. I have been having trouble reading paper books in a decent amount of time, recently I read e-books because I get through them faster. But I read this as a paper book and it kept me turning the pages and so engrossed in the story that I finished it in about a week. I recommend this book to not only zombie lovers, but anyone who likes action on top of a good story.
Buy it here Zombie Bake-Off on Amazon