The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3) by Justin Cronin #bookreview

In “The Passage” and “The Twelve“, Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity’s 26891429desperate fight to survive. Now all is quiet on the horizon but does silence promise the nightmares end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? At last, this bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale.

“The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?”

The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy – humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate. –

The City of Mirrors is on my list of most anticipated books of 2016 – and with such a long wait after The Twelve – it was soooo worth it.

After over three years since the last book in this series was published, I needed reminders about what had happened to these characters and the author worked that into the beginning chapters in a clever way – things filtered through that foggy curtain in my mind and I couldn’t wait to get on with the story.  And what a story this is.  I don’t know if I can do it justice.

Peace, war, family, friendship, revelations, death, life, sacrifice, love – all are contained within this epic novel that’s such an incredible, bittersweet ending to The Passage trilogy.  All questions are answered – where did Amy go and what happened to the world?  What happened to Zero in his human life that spawned such hatred?  What about Peter?  Alicia?  Sara and Hollis?  I’d forgotten how deeply I care about these characters and although I hate to see the series end, I feel as if I had closure in learning their fates – good or bad – by the last page.

This is a hefty chunk of a book, but what a journey it is.  I laughed, cried (and it takes a lot to pull the tears from my ducts), put off most household chores for nearly a week while reading this, and I’m pretty sure my heart stopped a few times.  Unparalleled characterization, thought-provoking concepts, and brilliant writing.  If you haven’t started reading this series – what are you waiting for?  The City of Mirrors is scheduled for publication May 24th, 2016.

Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.


#BadMoonOnTheRise Day 30 Rotter Apocalypse by Scott M. Baker @vampire_hunters #books #zombies

bad moon on the rise

Welcome Scott M. Baker!  Today is release day for his book, Rotter Apocalypse!

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The zombie apocalypse is about to reach its inevitable conclusion, but not before it unleashes a few more nightmares on Natalie Barzagan, Mike Robson, and Windows.

After breaking away from the rest of the group, Natalie and her Angels succeeded in getting the vaccine to the government-in-exile in San Francisco where Natalie joins the military effort to clear the West Coast of the living dead.

Robson destroyed the rape camp that had kidnapped Windows, but not until after she had escaped. Along with the remaining vampires and a band of camp stragglers, he sets off to build a new compound.

Windows and the ten-year-old girl she rescued from the camp are taken in by a kindly widower who gives them the opportunity to start over and heal their wounds, emotional and physical.

Just as Natalie, Robson, and Windows are settling into their new lives, each will be confronted with a final life or death decision that will decide their fates.

How long have you been writing horror/thrillers and what drew you to the genre? 

I’ve been writing horror since 2003 when I began The Vampire Hunters trilogy and published my first zombie-related short stories—“Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” and “Cruise of the Living Dead.” I’ve been working on the Rotter World trilogy, which concludes with Rotter Apocalypse coming out on 30 October, since 2010.

This is not the first genre I’ve written in. I worked for the CIA for twenty-three years so, when I first started back in the 1990s, my first books were about espionage. The first two manuscripts were amateurish and mediocre, and I never got them published, although I did hone my craft while working on them. The third book was a techno-thriller about North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons and blackmailing the United States. I had an agent and several New York publishers interested in purchasing the book; however, after the terrorist attack on 11 September, the market for that genre dried up overnight.

Switching genres was easy for me. I’m a Monster Kid from the 1960s/1970s. You know the geeky type. I had a stack of Famous Monsters of Filmland in my desk drawer, all the Aurora monster models on display, and a poster of Godzilla on the wall right beside Farrah Fawcett in a bathing suit. Making the transition into horror also gave me more freedom. When writing espionage and techno-thrillers, I had to follow certain guidelines and keep the plots feasible. I don’t have to worry about those same restrictions with horror, and I’ve had fun with it. Over the years, I’ve launched a vampire apocalypse in Washington D.C., had an alcoholic mall Santa battle zombie reindeer, and terrorized New Mexico and Florida with giant insects. I’m not even close to being finished yet.

How did you come up with the idea for your book? 

Coming up with the concept for the first book in the trilogy, Rotter World, was difficult because I wanted to provide an aspect on the story not found in every other zombie novel. I eventually settled on a plot involving vampires releasing a government-created Zombie Virus on mankind, only to have the living dead eat their way through both human and vampire species. A small group of humans and vampires who made it through the outbreak have put aside their differences and joined together in order to ride out the apocalypse. The détente lasts for several months until the doctor who created the Zombie Virus shows up at their camp and claims he has a vaccine that will nullify the outbreak, but it’s located in an underground military facility half way down the East coast. This small band that barely trusts each other now embarks on a road trip from Hell.

[SPOILER ALERT] In the sequel, Rotter Nation, the group returns to their base camp with the vaccine, only to find that the camp has been destroyed by a rape gang and everyone (except for one woman taken hostage) has been murdered. They split into two: one group travels west across a zombie-devastated country to bring the vaccine to the government-in-exile in Omaha, and the second attempts to rescue their friend from the rape gang. [END SPOILER ALERT]

For Rotter Apocalypse, I wanted to do something that is not frequently done in the genre, which is to show the final battles between humans and zombies. This is my favorite book in the series, and not because I cranked up the body count and gore to an all-time high. In a lot of the novels and films in this genre, the main characters fight until they’re eventually over run by the living dead. In Rotter Apocalypse, I explore how the survivors would reorganize and take the war to the living dead. The novel is violent, graphic, and depressing—which is exactly the feel I was going for.

If you could erase one horror cliché, what would it be? 

There’s once cliché in horror that I’ve always hated (although it’s mostly confined to film), and that is the female character being a helpless, screaming victim. Thankfully, it’s a cliché that has been correcting itself over the past fifteen years. It’s the main reason I find it hard to enjoy slasher movies. Yes, there will be women (and men) who will fold under pressure in a horror situation, but they’re the exception, not the norm. In my vampire and zombie trilogy I have several characters that are weak, cowardly, and easily manipulated; it wouldn’t be realistic without them. However, I include strong female protagonists in every one of my books. If I have to battle aliens or the living dead, I want Ripley and Alice by my side.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two projects that I’m very excited about. The first is a series of young adult novels set in a post-apocalyptic world in which a failed anti-matter experiment renders the world’s electronic devices useless and opens several portals between Hell and Earth, allowing hordes of demons to pass through into our realm. The story focuses on a small group of survivors who have figured out a way to reverse the process and travel around the world to close the portals. The second is an adult-oriented series that takes place during World War II and pits Allied intelligence officers against Nazi Germany, which is waging a secret occult war against the West. I received my Master’s Degree in modern German and Soviet Studies, and am a huge history aficionado, so this is a project I’ve been planning for years.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m done with zombies. I’m working with a close friend to flesh out (pun intended) a concept about a U.S. covert operation that uses programmed zombies as weapons, a project which of course goes FUBAR and leads to the inevitable apocalyptic consequences. Think of it as a cross between Night of the Living Dead and Zero Dark Thirty.

Favorite horror movie and book? 

Only one? That’s like asking me to choose who is my favorite child.

Favorite zombie book: World War Z by Max Brooks. I loved the way that he breathed new life into the genre (again, pun intended) by covering the zombie apocalypse from the initial outbreak to the end of the war, and doing it an oral history format.

Favorite zombie movie: Resident Evil. It’s the combination of setting, building tension, and kick-ass action that makes this my favorite zombie movie. If I stumble across this movie while flipping through the TV channels before going to bed, I’m watching it no matter how late it is.

Author bio

Scott M. Baker was born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts and spent twenty-three years in northern Virginia unnamed (24)working for the Central Intelligence Agency. Scott is now retired and lives in Gainesville, Florida as a full-time writer along with his wife and fellow author Alison Beightol and his stepdaughter. He has written Rotter World, Rotter Nation, and Rotter Apocalypse, his post-apocalyptic zombie trilogy; Yeitso, his homage to the giant monster movies of the 1950s that he loved watching as a kid; The Vampire Hunters trilogy, about humans fighting the undead in Washington D.C.; as well as the novella Nazi Ghouls from Space (the title says it all). He is currently working on a series of young adult post-apocalyptic novels and a second series about Allied intelligence officers fighting Nazi occultism in World War II.

Scott has also authored several short stories, including “Cruise of the Living Dead” (a zombie outbreak aboard a cruise ship), “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly” (an alcoholic mall Santa battles zombie reindeer), “Last Flight of the Bismarck” (steampunk zombies), “The Hunger” (cannibalism during a zombie apocalypse), “Lebenden Toten at the Gate” (Nazis versus zombies at Stalingrad), “From Space It Came” (a giant spider from space), and the novella Dead Water.

When not writing, Scott can usually be found doting on the two boxers and two cats that kindly allow him to live with them.

Where to find Scott
Twitter: @vampire_hunters

Buy link




Blood of the Lamb by Sam Cabot

The Historian meets The Da Vinci Code in this exhilarating supernatural thriller set in Rome. Rival 16158492groups are searching for a document that holds a secret that could shatter the Catholic Church.

While in Rome, American Jesuit priest Thomas Kelly is called upon to reclaim a centuries-old document stolen from the Vatican. An enigmatic letter leads him to the work of a 19th century poet, where Thomas discovers cryptic messages that might lead to the missing manuscript. His search is unexpectedly entwined with that of Italian art historian Livia Pietro, who tells him that destructive forces are threatening to expose the document’s contents. As they’re relentlessly chased through the heart of Rome by mysterious men who quickly demonstrate they would cross any line to obtain the document for themselves, it becomes clear to Livia and Thomas that the pages hold a deep, devastating, long-buried truth. Livia, though, has a secret of her own: she and her People are vampires. But all this pales in light of the Secret that Thomas and Livia discover together—a revelation more stunning than either could have imagined.

Sam Cabot is a pseudonym for:

S.J. Rozan is the author of many critically acclaimed novels and short stories which have won crime fiction’s greatest honors, including the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Macavity, and Nero awards. Born and raised in the Bronx, Rozan now lives in lower Manhattan.

Carlos Dews is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature at John Cabot University where he directs the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation. He lives in Rome, Italy. –

I absolutely loved the The Da Vinci Code, not so much The Historian, but after reading the description of this book and a great review on another blog, and I had to have it.  Oh, and a priest and vampire working together?  That’s not something you see every day, right?

In adding vampires to this story, I thought the authors were taking a big risk – it could have gone either way.  But the scientific explanation of the origin of vampires and how they weren’t so different from humans was believable and handled well, adding a whole new dimension to the plot.  I particularly enjoyed seeing how Father Thomas Kelly processed and learned to deal with that information.  His reactions were completely authentic and he was a highly charismatic character, as was Livia.

The book wasn’t overloaded with religious information to detract from the plot line, which allowed the novel to progress at a good pace.  The differing points of view also added to the character development and allowed me to peek into supporting character’s minds and see their motivations.

The last chapter of this book revealed some shocking information – what a great ending! – although some people may be offended by it.  Overall, I enjoyed this book because of the secrets, fresh take on vampires, and how some characters dealt with questions of faith and prejudices.  A fast-paced thriller that deserves a read.

This review is based on a digital copy from the publisher through NetGalley.