Monday, 29 June 2015

REVIEW: Steven Jenkins - Rotten Bodies: A Zombie Short Story Collection

Genre: Horror / Zombies
Publisher: Different Cloud Publishing
Publication Date: 27th April 2015
Pages: 101

MY REVIEW:

Author Steven Jenkins put a call out on Goodreads a while back for any reviewers who would be willing to pick up Rotten Bodies: A Zombie Short Story Collection for the purposes of giving an honest review. Being a conscientious sort of a person, Confessions of a Reviewer offered their services and thankfully got a copy. This is the review.

Guess what? I’ve never read Steven Jenkins before. I thought this would be a good way to introduce myself to his writing. I wasn’t wrong.

This is a collection made up of six short stories all about zombies. A genre I haven’t really been keen on over the years but I am slowly getting to like it even more. This is my take on the six tales in this collection.


I AM DEAD

A very short – short exploring the mind of a man who knows he is dead. He doesn’t know why or how or even who he was before. All he knows is he is getting hungry. Very hungry. For flesh. Human flesh.

He has one rather large obstacle in his way though.

This is a perfect introduction to a collection. You feel confusion, despair and……hunger with this nameless character. A good insight into what it “could” be like to be awake when you are dead.

★★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.


ROOM 503

Dave is an accountant. It is a boring life and things are tough with him and his wife Clare. Their only constant is their daughter Katie. She is their world. The world outside the arguments.

It is all over the news about an infection spreading throughout the country but they don’t pay the coverage much attention. Dave has to go on a course with an overnight stay the next day. He is “occupied” in his hotel in room 503 when a crowd of infected gather outside.

The infection is worse than first thought. Dave is beginning to wish he had stayed at home.

The most frightening thing about this story is that it demonstrates very clearly that absolutely no one has any idea when the zombie apocalypse may occur.

Everyday lives just fall apart in the blink of an eye. This story is a perfect example of that. Full of suspense, fear and “shit what would you do” moments.

★★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.


RUN

Sarah is a fitness instructor. She has completed a couple of marathons. She needs all that experience right now with a zombie hot on her tail. Problem is he has been hot on her tail for seven miles now.

An example of just how far you would be prepared to go if your life depended on it. This story delves into the mind of someone literally running for their lives.

★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


BURNING AMBITION

Rob has a busy job. It’s non-stop twelve hour shifts. He spends his days loading bodies into a furnace to destroy them. Each time he starts to load a new body he opens the black body bag to see who he’s got. They always stare at him.

Some try to fight their way out but they are already dead. Victims of the plague.

On one busy shift, to his horror, he recognises the face of one of the bodies.

Bit strange this one. I suppose it could be a job that someone, somewhere would have to do if it came to it but it was a bit surreal.

★★.5 for general.

★★ for horror.


THE PIT

Howard Thomas works in a coal mine. He is the only one left. The rest are all dead. The problem is the rest are all after him, even though they are dead.

With a dwindling battery for his helmet light, next to no water left and no weapon, he must find a way out before it’s too late. He doesn’t want to join the legions of undead in The Pit.

Simple plot for this one. One man left in a coal mine struggling to find his way out before he dies. Think The Descent. Think of any other frighteningly scary scenario you can where one person is left alone with their thoughts and their panic as they battle for survival.

Again full of tension and fear, you can almost smell the atmosphere and taste the horror in this one.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


SIMON DUNN: FORMER ZOMBIE

Simon Dunn is a “former” zombie. Someone that was dead but ate enough human flesh to regenerate. He is in trouble at work and has to go see his boss.

He is in big trouble. His boss has reason to be particularly angry with him.

This is another short – short. Lots of dark humour in this one describing what it’s like to be a zombie then not be a zombie. This was one of my favourites.

★★★★ for general.

★★ for horror.


So there you have it, a short story collection all about zombies. This is a good mix of stories although all of the same type. For me, that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I like to see a bit more variety in collections.

The stories are well written. They do get the point across in very few words. I liked the fact that Steven Jenkins doesn’t need a huge cast of characters in his stories to make them effective. He is also very good at getting you gripped and interested in the story very quickly and has mastered the art of making a very short story very effective.

A good collection that won’t take you long to get through.


General rating:

★★★.5 overall.

Horror rating:

★★★.5 overall.


You can buy Rotten Bodies here:




Book Synopsis:

We all fear death’s dark spectre, but in a zombie apocalypse, dying is a privilege reserved for the lucky few. There are worse things than a bullet to the brain—much worse.

The dead are walking, and they’re hungry. Steven Jenkins, bestselling author of Fourteen Days and Burn The Dead, shares six zombie tales that are rotten for all the right reasons.

Meet Dave, a husband and father with a dirty secret, who quickly discovers that lies aren’t only dangerous…they’re deadly. Athlete Sarah once ran for glory, but when she finds herself alone on a country road with an injured knee, second place is as good as last. Working in a cremation facility, Rob likes to peek secretly at the faces of his inventory before they’re turned to ash. When it comes to workplace health and sanity, however, some rules are better left unbroken. Howard, shovelling coal in the darkness of a Welsh coalmine, knows something’s amiss when his colleagues begin to disappear. But it’s when the lights come on that things get truly scary.

Six different takes on the undead, from the grotesque to the downright terrifying. But reader beware: as the groans get louder and the twitching starts, you’ll be dying to reach the final page.


Born in the small Welsh town of Llanelli, Steven began writing stories at the age of eight. His inspiration came from his love for '80s horror movies, and novels by the late Richard Matheson.

During Steven's teenage years, as well as being a black-belt kickboxer, he became a great lover of writing dark and twisted poems - six of which gained him publications with Poetry Now, Brownstone Books, and Strong Words.

At twenty-two, Steven started his own personal training business, teaching everything from fitness to self-defense. During that time he met his wife Vicky, who has supported him every step of the way.

Over the next few years, and after becoming a father to his beautiful daughter, Steven spent his free time writing short stories, gaining him further publication with Dark Moon Digest: an American horror magazine. His terrifying tales of the afterlife and zombies gained him positive reviews, particularly his story, Burning Ambition, which also came runner up in a Five-stop-story contest.

Finally, in 2013, after years of hard work and familiarising himself with the publishing industry, Steven got his debut novel, Burn The Dead, published by Black Bed Sheet Books, followed by Fourteen Days, published by Barking Rain Press (coming soon)


You can see more of Steven at his website.

Steven’s author page is here.

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