Sunday, 30 October 2011
Swords of the Dead by Danek S. Kaus - Zombie Book Preview
I have recently become aware of a unique sounding zombie book by the name of Swords of the Dead written by Danek S. Kaus. It is unique in that a small Town has not only come under attack by zombies, but Ninja zombies at that who despite being dead still utilise their martial arts to (un)deadly effect. I am pleased to be able to provide a sample of the book to give a taste of its humorous style:
Dozens of people, mostly men, were milling around the entrance to the warehouse. The chatter was coarse, fueled by alcohol and nicotine. The sun had gone down a couple hours before but the heat was still radiating off the pavement. Mike and the woman stepped outside. Several of the men gawked at her, lusting. He pulled on his tee shirt. Mike noticed her watch his muscles ripple with the movement, then she spoke up. "My name is Eva Stratford," she said. "I want to hire you."
Mike didn't want the hustlers and degenerate gamblers nearby to hear talk about money. He put an index finger to his mouth, pointed to the end of the block. Eva understood and walked along beside him, the clacking of her high heels on the sidewalk becoming more evident the farther they got from the noisy warehouse turned illegal fight arena.
When they were out of earshot, strolling along a darker section of the industrial park, Mike finally spoke, the image of the money still fresh in his mind.
"So, why do you want to hire someone like me?"
Eva hesitated, as though trying to construct her argument.
"The town I live in has been invaded by some kind of martial arts experts."
"So, get the sheriff."
"I can't," Eva said. She hesitated again. "They ate him."
Mike wasn't sure he had heard her correctly. He stopped. Eva stopped.
"What do you mean ate him?" Mike said.
"They ate him," she said. "You know, knife and fork, a little ketchup. Ate him."
"Oh, come on," Mike responded, not believing her. She had to be pulling his leg. He studied her face, waiting for a punch line that didn't come.
Finally, he said "You're serious." She nodded.
"They ate him," Mike said, still trying to process what she told him. "All of him?"
"We found a finger inside his pants," Eva said. "It had his wedding ring on."
Mike was able to suppress a laugh but couldn't help commenting on the absurdity.
"I guess they must have used a really tiny coffin for just a finger," he said.
"A dog ran off with it," Eva said. This time Mike burst out laughing. Eva colored, embarrassed, but then she too chortled, succumbing to the contagion of laughter. After a few moments, she was finally able to control herself. She turned serous again. Mike was close enough to smell her perfume. Jasmine? The faint fragrance was tantalizing, made more arousing, as it mixed with her skin and perspiration. He wished his shirt was back off. He imaged slowly undoing each button of her business jacket.
"I really do need your help," she said.
"I don't fight dogs."
"Will you be serious? Please?"
Mike saw the desperation in her eyes. He wished he hadn't been so insensitive.
"Go on," he said, matching her tone.
"The sheriff was the first victim. Since then, several more people have been eaten or partially eaten. People are terrified."
"How do you know that martial artists are doing it?"
"I saw a couple of them through a window. Other people did too."
Mike resumed strolling, thinking. Eva tagged along.
"There's one more thing," she said. "I think they're dead." Mike halted. They were standing near some trash cans at the opening of a dark alley.
"Who?" "Them. The Ninjas," Eva said.
Now he was pissed.
"You almost had me there," he said. It was all some stupid joke.
I'm a doctor," Eva said. "I know death when I see it."
"And I know bullshit when I hear it. There's no dead Ninjas or any other martial artists roaming the earth eating people."
Two blue, glowing circles pounced at him. As Mike's eyes adjusted, he saw a hooded figure slashing at him with two large, serrated knives. Instinctually, Mike pushed Eva behind him, ducked under a sweeping blade and grabbed a trash can lid. He held it up like a shield as the man in the robe slashed and stabbed, the blades clanging and screeching as they punched and scratched across the metal lid. The guy was fast! The ferocity of the attack kept forcing Mike backwards. Without turning his attention away from the attacker, Mike yelled to Eva.
"Get out of here!"
Mike kept backing up. This was no good. Without a weapon to defend himself, eventually there could be only one outcome. It was just a matter of time. These were not conscious thoughts but a sense of knowing welling up. Survival demanded he go on the offense. But how?
Without consciously deciding to do so, Mike ran at his attacker, pushing him with the trash can lid. The blades pounded on the tortured metal. Mike spun around behind the man, jabbed his foot into the back of his knee and pushed. The man dropped to one knee, slashed backward at Mike. Striker twisted the arm palm up and grabbed the knife. Mike slashed the now exposed forearm, cutting a deep gash. He was surprised that no blood gushed out. No time to think about that. The attacker leapt up and spun around, facing Mike.
At least he had a blade now, and a shield. He stabbed at the man, who deftly avoided him, despite what should have been a crippling take down. The attacker's blade clanged several times on the lid. Mike drove his blade in low. He jammed it deep into the gut. The man let out an unholy shriek as Mike drove the blade across the belly area. But the attacker did not go down. Mike yanked back the knife, shocked to see the small amount of ambient light reflect a clean blade. Had he missed the belly? Been only slashing heavy fabric?
The adrenaline that had him operating on automatic in the ring was waning. A hint of fear wormed its way into his conscious mind. He had to finish this guy now. Mike began slashing, driving forward with his shield. The cowl of the robe fell back, revealing a rotting face. Mike was sickened by the site of it. And the smell. Rotting flesh. And those blue, glowing eyes.
His blade found the neck, ripped a deep groove across it. The man stumbled backward, screamed again. It was a ghastly, unworldly sound. Still no blood.
Not knowing what else to do, Mike drove the knife into the chest. Once, twice, again. The man, or creature, howled. It was ear piercing. Then it fell. Mike stood over the body. Breathing hard. He heard the clack of shoes behind him. He spun around, knife at the ready. Eva.
He lowered his guard. She looked him over.
"No cuts," she said, clinically.
"Do bruises count?"
Eva stepped toward the body. She pointed to the rotting face.
"Now do you believe me?"
"I don't know what I believe," Mike said, trying to catch his breath. "Let's say that what you told me is true. What's that thing doing here?" Whatever it was, it was gruesome looking. And a little scary.
"It must have followed me, hid in the back of my SUV," she said
She shook her head. Mike didn't believe Eva, but doubted he would get the truth from her.
"Will you take the job?"
"Do I get paid for this one?"
"You really are mercenary," she said. She opened her purse. "How much?"
"Five thousand dollars," Mike said. "That's the going rate for killing–whatever that is." Mike held out his hand as she counted the money.
"Now will you take the job?"
"How many are there?"
"Three or four," Eva said. Mike knew she was lying.
"Maybe ten." Too many. One was too many.
"It would take a team," Mike said. "I don't have a team. Good luck." He headed back toward the warehouse. Eva called after him.
"I didn't think you would be afraid."
Mike stopped, turned to face her.
"Lady, I'm always afraid when a beautiful woman gives me money."
So there you have it. Zombie books are always welcome and brain eating Ninja zombies are right up my street. A review of the whole Novella will be coming soon. Swords of the Dead is available now on Kindle.