My rating: 5 of 5 stars
*I received a free copy of this audio book for review via AudiobookJukebox.com*
I cannot get enough Jonathan Maberry, so you could imagine my enthusiasm when I found out about this book. It takes three of Jonathan’s worlds and melds them together. Joe Ledger, from his bestselling thrillers, meets Des Fox of the Dead of Night series. That series leads into his run of hit Post-Apocalyptic zombie tales, Rot & Ruin. Rachael Lavin makes her debut as well laying out the adventure of Rachael; a cosplayer who, out of necessity due to the new world in which they now live, turned real life superhero. Having read virtually all of the books from those three series, save maybe a novella or two, I put this at the very tip top of the queue. I also was very excited to see how well Jonathan and Rachael work together. I have very high hopes as Jonathan Maberry is a proven editor, and exceptional one. These ingredients mixed with Ray Porter performing is a recipe for a hit.
The story starts off six months after the events of Fall of Night. Des Fox sets off in hopes of finding somewhere more secure for her people and ends up running into some major trouble, Joe and his dog are doing their best to save a girl from some thugs and ends up running into a situation he may have been better off avoiding, and Rachael sets off to find more survivors to bring back to her base and ends up coming across something only a hero can handle. In a world where the word “safe” has almost no meaning, the three take seperate paths as they battle their way through the dead and the living culminating in a thrilling and intense conclusion fit for a Maberry novel.
Jonathan Maberry’s writing was never in question of course; the man knows how to tell a story and tell it extremely well. Not to mention the fact he can write a very intense and completely enthralling fight scene. Rachael Lavin’s debut was a home run in my opinion. She has a very similar style of writing to Maberry, probably due in part to her time in his writing program, Writing for Teens. That said, she absolutely has a voice all her own and she knows how to use it. She channels her inner hero, intertwines it with her apparent love of comics, through her writing and delivers an enthralling tale. For any that may be concerned with jumping into this book without having previously read any of his other work, do not be deterred. The author does a great job of including backstory and easter eggs for his characters through very well done dialogue. Dialogue delivered with precision by Ray Porter.
Ray Porter is without a doubt my favorite narrator. Every book is a stellar performance. Despite the fact that he reads his books cold (he does no prereading, just jumps in), or maybe because of it, he reads with passion and precision, and speaks as if he knew the characters personally. Very few writer/reader combos can compete with Maberry and Porter; I’m convinced Ray is in fact Jonathan’s “writing voice” come to life. The fact that Rachael Lavin has such a similar writing style to her predecessor made for a seamless and stellar narration of all points of view in the novel. For fans of Jonathan Maberry and/or Ray Porter this audio book is an absolute must have. It brings the authors world together in epic fashion and explores new facets of the characters. It’s an outstanding debut for Lavin and a collision of awesome for Maberry.