marilyn peake

Review of ‘The Other’

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Cora Frost is a PhD, studying UFO phenomena and their impact on cults. Jade Whitaker is a social worker; adopted, she is trying to find her birth mother. The paths of these two women cross in New Mexico where Cora has gone with a colleague to study The Astral Plane cult, a group of UFO enthusiasts living on in a secluded compound.

Upon arrival, Cora learns that one of the cult members has murdered her two infants, and the compound is surrounded by heavily-armed police and military forces. She manages to sneak in, where she’s introduced to two green-skinned creatures who are not aliens, but time travelers. She’s asked to secrete them away to keep the authorities from getting their hands on them. One of them, Paloma, has a special affinity to Cora.

The Other by Marilyn Peake follows these three women as they get to know each other and try to avoid the authorities.

An interesting story, it ends on a depressingly inconclusive note, and, while it provides ample background on the three characters, leaves many questions unanswered. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, which wasn’t exactly a cliff hanger, but more or less just an end to a story that was just getting interesting. The author writes extremely well—the prose is enjoyable in itself, but in this story, she ended far too soon.

I received a free copy of this book, and I give it three and a half stars.

Review of ‘Mutation Z: Desperate Measures’

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With the US military and violent militias targeting everyone trying to find a cure for the Zombie Plague, survivors are fleeing to China seeking refuge in Mark Chen’s bunker. An unlikely ally is found in Dr. Cheng Wu, AKA Wei Chen, Mark’s cousin. The wife of the main militia leader, distraught after he shot their daughter who became infected, is now seeking help for her son who has also become infected.

The tension created in the previous books continues as the survivors race against the clock and deadly enemies to find a cure to a disease that threatens the globe. While the story is still fascinating, the execution of Mutation Z: Desperate Measures by Marilyn Peake doesn’t live up to the preceding books. A bit choppy in places, it almost seems that the author, seeing the end coming, is rushing to finish it. I still enjoyed it, just not quite as much as the earlier books.

I’ll have to give this one a mere three and a half stars. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Review of ‘Apocalyptic Fears I’

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Apocalyptic Fears I is a box set of 14 apocalyptic stories, edited by David VanDyke, and containing his story, ‘Reaper’s Run,’ as well as 13 other stories by authors such as Marilyn Peake and David Beers.

I’ve previously read and reviewed Peake’s stories of a secret government program to create an army of zombie soldiers, and the first two in the series, ‘Mutation Z,’ are included in this collection.

Each author comes at the post-apocalypse world differently, with stories that are as fascinating as they are far-fetched. And, each gives readers a chilling look at what things will look like when civilization fails and life as we know it ceases to exist. Whether it’s a takeover by a superior AI with the aim to create the perfect—and totally subservient—human, or when those hungry for power overreach in their efforts to take and hold it, fans of the genre will find a story here that will tap into whatever is his or her greatest fear.

A few of the stories could have used a bit more proofreading, but the few gaffes that were missed don’t detract from some great storytelling.

I received a free copy of this set in exchange for my unbiased review. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Mutation Z: The Dragon in the Bunker’

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Still working hard to uncover the truth about the origins of the zombie virus that is threatening the world, journalist Hunter Morgan gets an unlikely ally when Mark Chen, youngest son of the co-owner of Chen-Zamora Pharmaceuticals provides him with information showing that his father has been part of a long-standing plan to cull the earth’s population.

Moving from the desert at the Texas-Mexico border to a remote bunker in China, Mutation Z5: The Dragon in the Bunker by Marilyn Peake continues the saga of a secret government plan to create an army of zombies that backfires as the zombie virus gets out of control and threatens to destroy life on earth.

The story focuses on Morgan’s quest to get his information out to the public while at the same time evading a worldwide manhunt and protecting his newborn daughter, saved from the ambush that killed his wife and older daughter.

Chilling suspense from the first page to the last, it unfortunately does not come up to the quality of the first three in the series, being a bit too choppy in places, and seems to be rushed as the author gets closer to the end. A slower pace would enhance the horror the author describes. Hopefully, the next in the series will moderate the pace a bit to allow the reader to get deeper into the story. My criticisms notwithstanding, this is still an interesting read.

I’m giving this one three and a half stars, but hopeful the next will be better.

Review of ‘Mutation Z: Drones Overhead’

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After an attack by zombie-hunting militia members kills Hunter Morgan’s wife and daughter, he is distraught, but barely manages to survive. He learns, though, that his friends were able to save the baby his wife carried. While visiting the hospital where the baby is being treated, he learns that instead of being treated, those infected with the Mutation Z virus are instead being sent to a secret government program where terrible things are being done.

Hunter is determined to bring the truth to light, but he must evade the militia and the authorities in order to do so.

Mutation Z: Drones Overhead by Marilyn Peake is the fourth in the Mutation Z series of chilling stories about government overreach and the unleashing of a deadly virus upon the world. While not quite up to the standards of the first three books, this story of Morgan’s efforts to get at the truth behind the government’s nefarious program and expose it to the world is still a welcome change from the usual zombie stories. A minor character in the first story, Morgan has quickly become the central focus of the stories, and as usual, even though many of the conflicts raised in this book are reconciled, the author has ended on something of a cliff hanger, which makes me anxious for the next book.

I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Mutation Z: Protecting Our Own’

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As the crisis continues war breaks out between militias and those seen as protecting the newly transformed zombies. Hunter Morgan, whose daughter has somehow been infected by a variant of Mutation Z, finds himself in the crosshairs of Clay Dixon, a militia leader. With a near breakdown of law and order, Morgan, now allied with survivors of a government test lab in Liberia, must go on the run with his family if they are to survive—if anyone is to survive.

Mutation Z: Protecting our Own by Marilyn Peake is not the usual zombie apocalypse story. Instead of focusing on shambling zombies roaming the night eating human brains, the author shows how zealots, unregulated government actions, and corporate greed can all contribute to a breakdown of order in a society. She also shows how a few individuals with strong spirit can fight back.

Another interesting addition to the Mutation Z series that ends of something of a cliffhanging note—now the author will have a challenge to deliver a satisfying ending to this series—or, will she? I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Mutation Z: Closing the Border’

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When mutilated bodies start turning up on both sides of the US-Mexican border, journalist Hunter Morgan starts looking into what could turn out to be the most important—and dangerous—story of his career. In the meantime, health volunteer Emma Johnson and her friend Dr. Chibueze Koroma are still being held in the Ebola camp in Liberia where they’re experimented on with the compound, Mutation Z. From Texas to Liberia, Morgan chases a story, revealing that the government is in league with a pharmaceutical company to produce an army of zombies, and it is willing to kill to keep the program secret. Worse, as the mutation gets out of government control, it sparks a reaction from fringe elements in American society that further add to the chaos.

Mutation Z: Closing the Borders by Marilyn Peake picks up where the first book left off, and the suspense is ratcheted up several notches as new characters and plot lines are introduced. Wild, conspiracy theory related, unbelievable; all these descriptions can be applied to this book—this entire series. But, it’s presented in such a way that a reader doesn’t really have to suspend disbelief—it’s only necessary to take the current headlines or those of the recent past and ask, could there be more to this than meets the eye—and then realize that, yes there could.

Quick reads, competently written. If you’re into zombie thrillers, give them a look-see. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘MutationZ: The Ebola Zombies’

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Emma Johnson, a 24-year-old recent nursing school graduate, decides to volunteer to work in an Ebola treatment camp in Liberia. Once there, she not only discovers just how different West Africa is from her home in the U.S., but that the government officials in charge of the camp are conducting secret experiments on the patients; creating zombie soldiers. When she becomes one of the test subjects, she is determined to tell the world—but, can she survive.

MutationZ: The Ebola Zombies by Marilyn Peake is a chilling novelette that could, in today’s politically polarized world, have been ripped directly from the daily headlines. Though short; it can be read in an hour or so; it is filled with rich detail. You can smell the rot, hear the moans of pain, and feel the desperation and desolation of a place where people are not just taken to die, but to be experimented on like lab rats.

This is the first in a planned series, and it ends on a bleak, warning note that makes it impossible not to want to read more.

I give this one five stars.