I thoroughly enjoyed Battle Royale. Initially, I found the writing style a little odd but once I got used to it, I found myself lost in a world similar to the Hunger Games. In a Asia that has cut itself off from the rest of the world, a class of fifteen year olds are abducted each year and forced to fight each other to the death on an island. Like the Hunger Games, only one can survive.
Shuya, the hero, is a sympathetic protagonist with a secret obsession for banned western music. Strong and athletic, he puts himself at risk to protect a girl who is wounded and joins up with a mysterious loner who seems to know an awful lot about the game…
I loved The Hunger Games and I think I am prepared to put Battle Royale right up there. It is a more visceral experience than The Hunger Games, describing how each one of the students meet their deaths, but in many ways just as satisfying when the hero outsmarts the Game creators.
Several free kindle websites picked up on the Dead Tropics free weekend offer. It rose up the Amazon sales ranks quickly, hitting number 1 position in Horror, Adventure and Free Fiction overall! Thanks to all who showed an interest.
My publisher, Permuted Press, is offering the Dead Tropics ebook free on Amazon this weekend. Nook users can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get their free copy.
“Dead Tropics is a 240 pages condensate of pure hell juice!” – Bricks of the Dead
Leaving them, I moved down the hall towards the bathroom. From the bedroom on the right, I could hear steady thumping on the door and walls. It would was an unnerving feeling, knowing there were zombies in the house with us, but, for the moment at least, we were safe.
Rummaging through the bathroom cabinet, I found a bottle of strong pain killers, prescribed for someone with back pain. It should do the trick.
That was the moment when the heat radiating through my back registered with me. Jake’s body heat burned through the thin material of my shirt. “Jake? How are you going, buddy?”
The silence that greeted me was unnerving. Frowning, I unhooked the sling. “Jake?”
My first look at Jake sent a chill right through my body. Eyes bright with fever, he lay limp in my arms. His soft skin was flushed but his lips were tinged with blue.
He’s infected. Feeling suddenly faint, I lowered myself to the floor. My heart pounded in my chest. I stared down at the baby I was cradling. His plump flushed cheek rested trustingly on my chest.
It’s not possible, I rationalized desperately, he couldn’t possibly be infected! He wasn’t bitten. It’s just a normal bug. He’s a baby, babies get sick all the time.
Every word I told myself was true. Yet I was not comforted. My head said one thing but my gut said another. I had a flashback to the moment I’d rescued him, the image of his blood coated face lingering before my eyes. What if some of the infected blood had gotten in his eyes or in his mouth?
Rising to my feet again, I pulled open the medicine cabinet’s door, searching for the bottle of children’s paracetamol I’d seen earlier. If it was just a normal bug, paracetamol should bring down the fever. In about fifteen minutes, you’re going to feel really silly when the fever goes down.
“Mum?!” Michele stood in the doorway. “Can’t you find any painkillers? Gary hasn’t stopped complaining since you left.”
I tossed the pill bottle at her before grabbing the baby medicine. “Here. Take it. I won’t be long.”
Catching the bottle, Michele continued to hover in the doorway, watching me awkwardly unscrew the baby medicine bottle with the baby cradled in my arms. “Is everything alright?”
No. I really don’t think it is. I cleared my throat, avoiding her eyes. “Jake’s a bit sick so I’m giving him some medicine. I’ll be along soon.”
With a slow nod, Michele left. I knew she sensed my distress but I guess she also recognized my need to be alone. A terrible gnawing fear hovered just beneath my veneer of calm. The thought of losing someone else…no, I wouldn’t think about it.
Carefully, I dripped the medicine into Jake’s open mouth. Eyes half closed, he swallowed unresistingly.
“Good boy.” I murmured, sitting on the edge of the bath. “You’ll feel better in no time, you’ll see.”
Oh God, please let it be so. He had to be okay, he had to.
Jake whimpered. I tightened my hold on his hot body. “Hush, it’s going to be okay. Although I’ve got to say, your timing really sucks. I bet you used to wake up and cry every time your parents were about to get frisky, didn’t you? My daughter used to do the same thing.”
I was rambling, I knew, but the sound of my voice seemed to calm Jake so I kept talking. “Don’t worry, I’m sure they didn’t mind. They would have laughed about it, just like my husband and I used to. Michele’s timing was so good that it took us another twelve years to conceive the twins!” I smiled down at him, noting the way his too-bright eyes tracked my moving lips. “No, not really, but you should see her face when I tell people that.”
Waiting for the medicine to take effect, I rocked Jake and talked. I talked about the kids, and I talked about my husband. I talked about how nervous Charles had been about becoming a dad and how enamored he’d been with the kids from the moment he’d held them in his arms. “He could rock them for hours, you know, just like I’m doing.”
A memory of Charles with a baby in each arm, happily crooning an old Sinatra song, surfaced. The expression on his face had been so contented that it had stuck with me to this day.
At some point, I became aware of Michele standing in the doorway, listening to me with an unreadable expression on her face. I felt a pang of regret, knowing that my reminiscences were painful for her. But I couldn’t stop, because if I stopped, then I would have to face the truth.
A drop of water splashed on Jake’s bare chest. I realized, dully, that I was crying. The words faltered and dried up in my throat. A sob escaped my lips. Michele straightened, alarmed. “Mum?”
I could no longer deny the truth to myself. He was dying. The sweet little boy in my arms was dying. The scorching heat emanating from his dry skin made it almost unbearable to hold him. I closed my eyes but still the tears dripped down my cheeks. “He’s infected. Jake’s infected.”
“Oh, no.” I heard Michele’s horrified whisper. “Are you sure?”
Opening my eyes, I gazed at the beautiful boy, taking in the plump cheeks, the rosebud lips, the beautiful blue eyes. Eyelids fluttering shut, he nuzzled his face into my chest and I thought my heart just might break. “Yes. I’m sure.”
Everything I’d done to protect Jake had been in vain. He’d been doomed before we even left the highway.
My legs seemed to lose their strength. Slowly, I slid down until I was sitting on the floor with my back resting against the bath. “I’m so sorry, Jake. I’m so sorry I failed you.”
Knowing Michele was watching me, I struggled to hold back the sobs without success. The pain in my heart was too deep. Sobs began to rack my body as I cuddled the dying baby.
I grieved for all Jake had lost. Family. Love. The chance to grow up.
And, as if the tears had unleashed a dam of pain I had not known I was bottling up, I cried for all the companions I had watched die. My friend, Emma. Mike, the amazing man I’d known for too short a time. My sister’s neighbor, the sweet teenager, Skye. Brent and Megan. God, the list went on and on.
How many people would I have to watch die before this was over?
Silently, Michele sat down across from me. I drew a gasping breath, trying to regain control of my emotions. It wasn’t right to do this in front on her. But looking into her eyes, I saw nothing but compassion and understanding. Reaching across, she rested a hand on my leg.
I watched Jake die by slow degrees in my arms. The virus that had lurked quietly in Jake’s system for the last few hours was rapidly taking hold now. His eyes were closed but his hot body was now clammy and rapidly cooling.
There was so much his parents would have wanted to say to him if they were here. So I said it for them. I told him how much he was loved. I told him about the first moment his father held him in his arms and kissed his soft little cheek. I told him about how his mother used to sit by his bed and just watch him sleep, awed by the amazing gift she had been given.
I talked about the dreams they’d had for him. How they’d imagined what he would be like as a teenager, all gangly and voice breaking. I talked about the man he would have become if he’d had a chance, how decent and funny and kind he would have been and how proud his mother and father would have been.
Dimly, I was aware of Michele watching us with tears sliding down her cheek. I hadn’t realized she was that attached to the baby.
Jake’s breathing slowed until I could barely detect the movement of his chest. His body grew heavy in my arms.
Knowing it was time, I brought him up closer to my face and pressed a soft kiss on his cheek. “You can go now, Jake, go find your family.”
I sang him into his final sleep with a lullaby I used to sing to my babies, just as my mother had sung it to me. It was a haunting Mauritian tune that I had always loved and one I would now forever associate with this moment.
And then, with a last gasp, he was gone. I stared at his still body for a long moment before reaching down and pulling out my stake. Poising it above his face, I waited.
“Oh mum, you don’t have to do this.” Michele’s voice broke, thick with tears.
I didn’t look at her, keeping my eyes fixed on Jake’s angelic face. “I owe him this much.”
His body twitched. My hand tightened on the stake. After a moment, his eyes opened. I had planned to drive the stake through his eye but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let that image be my last memory of him. Instead, I slipped the stake into the soft spot beneath his chin and into his little brain.
We sat in a frozen tableau for a long moment. Numb, I gazed at the plump, limp body in my arms. Michele waited with me, her face wet with tears.
Finally, I was ready. With a sigh, I slowly laid Jake down on the cold floor. Pulling a towel down off the rack, I draped it over the small body. Michele reached out and clutched my hand. I gave her hand a reassuring squeeze and then pushed myself to my feet.
Every step away from Jake felt like a betrayal but I forced myself to walk out of the bathroom. I hadn’t been able to save him but I could still save my own babies. It was time to find the rest of my family.
Dead Tropics, by Sue Edge, is a zombie novel for moms.
Lori is like most moms with hectic lives. She’s regularly dashing to keep up with the home and her kids, she drives everyone everywhere and, if she’s lucky, she might even make it to work on time. She’s a widow, so she does it mostly on her own, with some support from her brother and sister. Life is crazy and Lori doesn’t have much time to stop, think, and catch her breath, but it’s her life and, other than losing her husband, she wouldn’t change much about it…
Read whole review at Pink Ray Gun
Dead Tropics by Sue Edge is the first zombie story I’ve read that is strictly from a mother’s POV, and has children present throughout the story as main characters, rather than just passing plot devices. Lori is a mom in Australia who drops her kids off at various places before she goes to work at the local hospital as an ER nurse. On her way to work, the radio reports an accident involving one of the mines. The original victims are taken to the hospital where Lori works, and it’s not long before Lori finds herself in the middle of zombie outbreak. She doesn’t have much trouble getting to her children, but getting them to safety is an absolute nightmare…
Read the whole article at : zombiephiles
Read the whole interview at Swedish Zombie
2) What is it that made you write about zombies?
4) When you first started writing this book, did you have a clear idea of how it was going to go or did you just string ideas as you go?
6) Hahah. This might be the most appropriate questions for this interview. So if you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
7) Which one is more fearful zombies or aliens?