Category: Authors

Get the Digital Plague

The Pitch: “D.O.A” meets Avery Cates with the world in the balance.

The Overview: In Jeff Somers‘ sequel to The Electric Church, Avery Cates is kidnapped and injected with nanobots that infect and slowly kill anyone near him. First it’s his friends who begin to get sick and die. Then people who have come into contact with his friends. Cates must find someone with a cure and then figure out why he was chosen to be the source of the outbreak. If he can do those two things, there’s a good chance he can save himself and the world. If he can’t, he’ll die trying… and either way, he plans to kill a lot of people.

The Good: Jeff Somers‘ writing. Avery Cates. The opening line: “I was going to have to kill a whole lot of people.” The story moves. Happling and Hense. The twists. How zombies are worked into the story and the explanation for them. The reason behind Cates being selected for the source of the plague. Jae Lee is back with a cover illustration.

The Bad: What happens to those infected with the nanobots. What Avery Cates is put through.

The Ugly: What happens to city populations as the plague runs rampant.

The Summary: I predicted that The Electric Church would make my list of Best Books of 2008. I liked the The Digital Plague even better!

I can’t wait to see what Jeff Somers has in store for Avery Cates in his next adventure, The Eternal Prison. In the mean time, I have Jeff Somers ‘ blog to tide me over.

Updated Links

I’ve updated my blog and artist links sections with a bunch of really cool sites. I’m sure that you’ll find at least a couple that you’ll bookmark for return visits. [Hopefully not at the expense of visits here.]

Joe Ain’t the Pitts

The Pitch: Updated Raymond Chandler meets Stephen King.The Overview: Vampyres live among us. The world doesn’t know that they exist, but they do. They can’t turn into bats or mist. Crosses don’t kill them; in fact bullets don’t either… usually. They’re strong; they’re fast and victims of a vyrus. Most are members of one of the many clans… safety in numbers and all that. Word is that a clan war is brewing, and that’s the least of Joe Pitt’s problems.The Good: Charlie Huston can write. Joe Pitt’s attitude [which is bad]. Stretch the midget vampyre. What Joe is willing to risk for Evie. The attack at the side show.

The Bad: The vampyre freaks. The side show. The beating Joe takes.

The Ugly: Joe Pitt’s vengeance.

The Summary: Half the Blood of Brooklyn is an excellent example of why Charlie Huston is one of my favorite writers. He’s created a world of vampyres that could exist outside my window NOW. The only caveat is that the books are best read in order: Already Dead; No Dominion; Half the Blood of Brooklyn.

Look Out for Femme Noir

Next month, the first issue of Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries, written by Chris Mills and drawn by Joe Staton, will be listed in Diamond Comics Distribution’s Previews. If you get Previews, I’d like you to check it out. My guess is after doing so, you’ll want to order a copy. If you don’t get previews, then please ask your local comic shop owner to take a look at it.

Femme Noir is a cartoon crime comic inspired by Eisner’s The Spirit, Gould’s Dick Tracy, plus a healthy mix of cliffhanger serials, B-movies, pulp magazines, and more. Each issue will feature a 28 page standalone story [how rare is that!] plus two pin-ups by guest artists!

Issues #1 and #3 are inked by Horacio Ottolini, issues #2 and #4 by Mark Stegbauer. Colors are provided by Melissa Kaercher and Matt Webb. As an added bonus, each issue is offered with two covers: one pencilled by Joe Staton and then digitally painted by Alfredo Lopez Jr, with the second by a guest artist. Those guest artists are Brian Bolland, Matt Haley, Phil Hester, and the late Mike Wieringo. [Some fans will buy the issues just for the guest covers!]

The official Femme Noir website is Check out the website and if you like what you see, help me spread the word. [And no, I’m not getting any kickbacks. I like Chris Mills’ work — especially his crime comic Gravedigger — and I’d like to see Chris and Joe Staton get the audience they deserve on Femme Noir. If it wasn’t a worthy comic, I wouldn’t be talking it up… and you wouldn’t still be reading this.]

The Electric Church

The Pitch: “Blade Runner” meets “The Dirty Dozen”

The Overview: In the near future the two most powerful organizations on the planet are the United Federation of Nations and The Electric Church. The United Federation of Nations controls the population through the use of their brutal and corrupt System Security Force [think elite military police]. The Electric Church is a new religion growing at an exponential rate due to its promise of salvation through eternal life [as a cyborg]. Avery Cates is a “gunner” – hired muscle available for a price – trying to stay under the radar of both groups. When he mistakenly kills one of the SS cops he finds himself given one option for survival: break in to the stronghold of the Electric Church and assassinate it’s leader.

The Good: Jeff Somers‘ writing. Avery Cates and his band of outlaws. The story moves. The cover illustration by Jae Lee.

The Bad: What happens to converts to The Electric Church.

The Ugly: The way most of the population lives.

The Summary: My guess is the The Electric Church will make my list of Best Books of 2008. I can’t wait to read its sequel, “The Digital Plague.”

Matt Hughes: Legacy?

We may have seen the last of Matt Hughes as far as MMA fighting goes. Still there are other options that would keep him active in the sport. Hughes would make an excellent commentator. He has already written one well-received book.

But if Matt Hughes decides to retire totally from the limelight, how will he be remembered? I think Dave Doyle sums it up perfectly HERE.

We’re All Fans

Duane Swierczynski is one of my favorite novelists. Recently Duane got the opportunity to write some comics… specifically the Punisher. In this interview he talks about his first experience with the Punisher:

“It was Steve Grant’s Circle of Blood epic from 1985, which opens with Frank in the slammer, squaring off against Jigsaw and his goons, and ends with a punch in the gut right out of a Mickey Spillane novel. I don’t want to ruin it for you if you’ve never read it, but man. That Jeep. Perched on the side of the bridge. In the rain. It doesn’t get any more noir than that.”
Most ZONErs probably know that my buddies, Mike Zeck and John Beatty were the artists on Circle of Blood. So one of my favorite novelists is a not only a fan of comic books but also of two of my buddies. Stuff like that is cool.

7 Deadly Wonders

Reading books written by Mathew Reilly is like watching an all-out action movie while riding a rollercoaster. His books are bigger than life, move at breakneck speed, keep you turning the pages — and just when you then there is no way out for the hero, Reilly kicks it up a notch and comes up with another over the top set piece as the story hurtles forward.


Reilly’s books are fun and his latest 7 Deadly Wonders is no exception. A rare solar event called the Tartarus Rotation is set to occur shortly. Several teams are racing to gather 7 pieces of a capstone hidden around the world. If they can recover and join the pieces in time for the Tartarus Rotation they will be given power such as the world has never before seen. There’s a team from the United States, a team from England and a team of multi-national adventurers. [We’ll be pulling for the multi-national team not because they’re outgunned and out manned, but because they’re the good guys.]

And that’s all you really need to know. If you’re in the mood for an adrenaline-charged roller coaster ride that’ll make you put down the video game paddles and keep turning pages, then give Mathew Reilly’s 7 Deadly Sins a try.

PS – I just discovered that Amazon has it on sale at a HUGE DISCOUNT — click HERE for full details!

Not Much on Futuristic SciFi

I’ve never read anything by Jeff Somers. I rarely read scifi. Especially futuristic scifi. Yet, I think that I might really enjoy The Electric Church by Jeff Somers. It’s described in THIS REVIEW as “BLADE RUNNER meets THE DIRTY DOZEN, with a dash of Sergio Leone” — so I ask, who wouldn’t like that mix?

I decided to READ THE FIRST CHAPTER FOR FREE. The I decided to read JEFF SOMERS’ BLOG. I’m still interested in reading The Electric Church so my next Amazon order will probably include it… even though I’m not much on futuristic scifi.

Secret Dead Men

Nothing is as it seems in Duane Swierczynski’s first novel Secret Dead Men. Del Farmer appears to be an FBI agent investigating a mob hit. In reality Farmer is a dead reporter trying to discover the reason behind his own murder. Yeah, you read that correctly. Farmer is a dead guy. Well…

…he isn’t just a dead guy.

See, Farmer has the ability to collect souls of the recently departed. In his quest to discover the secrets behind his own murder, Farmer has collected the souls of about a dozen others…

… and they live in his brain hotel.

See, the brain hotel is a mental construct, that appears like a typical hotel and allows the recently departed to have a semblance of life. People in the brain hotel go on about living [although it’s just their memories for the most part] but they can also interact with each other. Sometimes, if their skills are better suited to getting him out of whatever jam he’s in, Farmer even uses them to pilot the body that he currently inhabits…

…and if you’re still with me, then my guess is you’ll enjoy the novel.

I loved Swierczynski’s The Wheelman and The Blonde. And although Secret Dead Men falls a bit short of being as good, we should remember that Secret Dead Men was Swierczynski’s first novel. It’s definitely worth a look.

The Blonde

I loved Duane Swierczynski’s The Wheelman which opened in the middle of a bank robbery gone wrong and was a fast paced, violent, at times humorous and always unpredictable story. So I couldn’t wait to read Swierczynski’s next novel The Blonde. I’m happy to say that I was hooked from the opening sentence [one of the best in recent memory]:

“I poisoned your drink.”

From there we are taken on a wild ride as Jack Eisley attempts to learn why he was poisoned by a beautiful blonde named Kelly White and why she is infected and on the run from a covert government agency’s hitman. The Blonde is fast paced, lean and will keep you on the edge of your seat as the pages fly by. Duane Swierczynski has another winner that left me excited to start on Secret Dead Men!
Update: Duane Swierczynski just posted up the paperback cover to The Blonde which will be available October 30th!