Mike Naka

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-08-17

avoid like the plague

Any additional comments?

the story started out promising...a call from a colleague about a virus escaping from an isolated military lab, a son away at college, a younger brother with a family...i waited and waited for some action, but it was mostly developing the characters and the plot. the world is unraveling, but there's no drama, no tension to it.

the main character is a retired naval epidemiologist and describes what is going to happen. there's a sense of urgency to get things done, but you never feel it in the seat of your pants.the main character, cole, hints that the infected may become zombies, like the experimental rats did, but those infected just become social and want to party before suddenly dying in mass. so you're then thinking alright, here comes the real fear and action, but no, they just stay dead, and before you know it, 30 days have passed since people started dying, which leads me to the pacing. at first, the story focuses and spends a lot of time on the first few days and hours. then time is sped up, and we catch up with characters a few days later.

everything is a little too easy for the characters. you don't really feel any sense of danger, tension, or impending doom either from the writer or narrator. my only recollection from the narrator was his deep voice and his slow, even reading, even during action scenes.speaking of action, there is no action, no running and fighting for their lives. they just kind of plod along, getting things done w/o any problems

i don't mind character driven stories, but these characters are cardboard cut outs, predictable, and not very interesting.the story is slow, predictable, and not very interesting. so why did i listen to the whole thing? am i a glutton for punishment? no, i almost always listen to an entire book. i like to give an author a chance. plus, i kept hoping the zombies would show up, but maybe in book 2 since it's supposed to be a series, but that wouldn't make sense.

so if you're looking for zombies, then skip...a pandemic threatening and ending the world or a character driven story, there are more much better. i can't believe there are 90+ reviews and a 4+ star rating! let me save you some time...don't get suckered like me!

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4 of 6 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-23-14

good continuation, unexpected development

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

it's one of those types of endings where you either can't wait for the next book or you can't believe the story went in that direction.

Any additional comments?

as the story opens, adrian, gilbert, abby, and her family are setting up their defenses after being attacked by members of the group from the high school that followed abby and her family to the campus.

throughout the main storyline, adrian and his group have skirmishes with the group from the high school until he and gilbert decide something definite needs to be done to end the hostilities. overall, i was satisfied with how the situation was ultimately resolved.

between skirmishes, adrian makes contact with the group at stig, the solar technologies innovative group, where some of the police took refuge.

there are 4 vignettes interspersed throughout the story.

midnight takes place in africa. michele and mike are researchers. they catalog ancient african burial rituals. they are invited to watch a ritual when something goes wrong. the recently deceased person is not accepted, and a spirit warns michele and mike that they are to bare witness to man's trial. after the pronouncement, the recently dead man comes back to life and starts attacking the living.

i almost stopped listening b/c this was such an unexpected departure from adrian's story, but as a glutton for punishment, i almost never give up on a story. plus, i wanted to find out how adrian's current predicament resolved itself.

the second vignette revolves around kevin whitten, one of adrian's friends. kevin and his team safely got the senator to his plane in the last book, and now they're headed to London, in hopes of eventually getting the senator back to the u.s.

guilt is told by abby's parents' perspectives. patty, chuck, and abby's brother decide to move to stig b/c they don't feel safe at the campus b/c of the fighting. what they find at stig is not what they expect.

tyrant is a vignette about sean, the leader of the high school group fighting adrian. we see how his group is surviving and dealing with the skirmishes with adrian.

overall, i enjoyed this story; however, i was not expecting the supernatural twist. yeah, it was kind of a downer, but i will listen to the next installment when it comes out, and then i will determine if i will continue further with the series.

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5 of 9 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-23-14

getting the series back on track!

Which scene was your favorite?

mike, tommy, pork chop, a fire hose, a hoard of zombies, and fire axes wielded with vampiric speed and strength.

Any additional comments?

when the last book ended, mike and his family were prisoners of the dimenci (sp?) group. bt and justin had received a vaccine for their zombie virus infection and seemed to be ok. tommy is no where to be seen. he is thought to be blown to bits when the dimenci group stormed their last location. mrs. denoe arrived at the secret compound with dennis. surprisingly, she is part of the dimenci group b/c of her late husband, who she murdered.

zf8 picks up after zf7's abrupt ending. i won't spoil any of the plot, but it does seem like the extra time between the stories has helped tufo get back on track. either that, or his writing is just so much better than most of the other z-writers out there.

what am i talking about? the dialogue. the dialogue between the characters is great, especially the bantering, and this is where tufo really shines!

most of the characters are given just the right amount of time throughout story; however, i would have liked to see where justin's head is after all he's been through, but with soo many characters, i guess it's hard to manage.

i liked the pacing of the story. it takes place over a couple of days and doesn't seem rushed. the action is intense and even with mike's enhanced vampiric abilities, he's always in a pinch. i'm glad tufo didn't drag out the whole being captured and being prisoners plot line.

overall, an enjoyable and entertaining addition to the series.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-23-14

entertaining collaboration!

Any additional comments?

from mike's prospective, the story opens as he and trip are fleeing from trip's house in a van. mike and trip are on their way to ron's house in maine to head off eliza when mike swerves hard to miss a propane truck. in a flash, they find themselves walking down a desolate, wooded highway, jammed with the world's largest exodus of cars.

from jack walker's prospective, he's eating with his team when he notices his periphery close in, and in a flash, he finds himself standing on the same desolate highway mike and trip are on.

the story is told from both mike's and jack's perspectives, with each chapter flipping back and forth between the two. both mike and jack notice something is off, and their first experiences are with the other's nightmare. mike and trip discover a new type of threat, the nightrunners from jack's world, and jack runs into a hoard of zombies.

the pacing of the story is really good. there's a lot of action with downtime for the characters to reflect on their situation. it's exciting when jack and mike and trip eventually meet up. their meeting is timed well and doesn't seem contrived. they are a good match b/c they are similar in a few ways.

trip is definitely a fun and interesting character. he is zany, and his dialogue is funny. at first, i was worried b/c trip is soo out there that i thought his character would be overexposed, and i would tire of his outlandishness. but tufo is a genius in how he uses trip. i truly enjoyed his character in this book. trip shines in this story. i won't spoil anything, but there definitely seems that there's more to trip than meets the eye!

there are interesting implications of having both zombies and nightrunners hunting you, especially when zombie 3.0 shows up- 1.0 being shamblers, and 2.0 being runners.

together, mike and jack try to unveil where they are, how they got there, and possibly who brought them there. by the end of the story, the mystery deepens as they find bodies fused with the land and a new enemy to deal with, the whistlers. i won't spoil what they are, but they are just as horrific as zombies and nightrunners.

sean runnette as always does a fantastic job narrating the 3 characters.

overall, a very entertaining story.

note: i have listened to all of tufo's zombie fallout series, but i haven't listened to mike's other adventures. so, i don't think tufo has overstretched mike's character. i have not listened to the jack walker series, but i might give it a try now even though the reviews have been bad.

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17 of 21 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-11-14

good continuation

Any additional comments?

after the first book ended so abruptly, i wanted to see where the story was heading so i downloaded book two. surprisingly, book two is 50% about adrian and 50% vignettes.

the vignettes are really good, especially the opening one, one mistake, the last stand of hall b. all i can say is wow! horror at its best! it's gory, sad, and extremely tragic. it's definitely an emotionally gripping story. that's all i'll say. i don't want to spoil it for you. ok...i'll say one more would win zombie short story of the year in my book!

putting a name to a face is a story about sabrina, a 40 year old nurse as the dead and those bitten turn into zombies at the hospital.

exodus tells abigail's story during the initial outbreak at the school. in the first book, adrian ran into abigail when he was cleaning the school of zombies. she's the one who decided to drive home.

jerusalem tells the story of kevin whitten, one of adrian's best friends. kevin works for a private military contractor and is part of a protective group for a senator, who is in jerusalem. this vignette is linked to one of adrian's journal entries, and through them, we get more of adrian's background in the military.

the chief tells the police chief's story after his father is bitten by a zombie at moore's gun store.

all of these vignettes add depth to adrian's story and provide some details of what else is going on outside the campus.

the publisher's summary mentions adrian meets gilbert so i'll mention him. he's an old green beret, and thankfully, he's not one of those hard charging, all guns blazing characters. that wouldn't match the story. gilbert is kind of crotchety, but he's wise and deliberate. he's also kind of a mystery, never revealing all of his cards. gilbert is a good addition to the story.
adrian also gets some additional company, but i won't say who. the additional company makes sense- it doesn't feel contrived.

once again the book ends; however, not as abruptly as book one. the book ends at a good place because it nicely sets up the next book.

overall, a good second book- no sophomore slump!

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-04-14

northern exposure meets zombieland

Any additional comments?

northern exposure meets zombieland? let me start with the northern exposure part. northern exposure was one of my favorite shows b/c it was odd and quirky with a great cast of characters, one of which was john corbett. he played a philosophical ex-convict who was a disc jockey and between songs, he'd comment on all kinds of things. his comments were funny and at times very insightful. anyway, adrian reminds me of john corbett's character on northern exposure. the narrator's voice also reminds me of john corbett's voice- easy and smooth to listen to.

i don't know if you've ever seen zombieland, but it is a pretty good zombie comedy. jessie eisenberg plays a geeky guy named columbus. he's survived by making rules, such as cardio (you have to be faster than the slowest person), double tap (always make sure you shot a zombie in the head), beware of bathrooms, etc... adrian also reminded me of columbus because like columbus, he started to come up with rules as he survived certain situations.

as the story opens, adrian begins journaling because he's lonely. he starts his journal, who he calls mr. journal, in september. as he opens up, we learn that the zombie outbreak started like 3 months earlier in june. adrian is a resdence advisor at a small but elite private school. basically, he works the night shift in a dorm watching over the students.

the story swings between time frames. adrian will describe what he has been presently doing and how he got to where he is. the present entries describe his activities scavenging and securing the campus. his other entries recount the initial outbreak and the choices he made.

there are a couple of extended vignettes that are told from the perspective of people that encountered adrian during the initial outbreak. one is phil, a gun store clerk, and the other is soccer mom, a mom who encountered adrian at a grocery story. both are really good stories.

the story is kind of slow, but that's ok. this is not an action-packed run and gun shot 'em type story. the zombies are shamblers with kind of a twist- they don't moan, which if you think about it has some scary implications, but you can listen about them when you download the book!

overall, this is a funny yet at times emotionally gripping story. i'd classify the humor as dry humor, and at times, guy humor.

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16 of 18 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-13-14

another enjoyable installment

Any additional comments?

i have enjoyed the previous 3 slow burn books, and dead fire is another good episode. i call it an episode b/c the stories are so short. i'm glad they released a box set so others, who may not be hard core zombie aficionados, can see what all the excitement is about. but like i mentioned in an earlier review, these short stories / episodes are expensive! but to me, they're worth it!

the publisher's summary does a good job detailing where the story picks up. i can't say much without spoiling your listening experience so i'll say why you should pick up this book, either now or when the next box set comes out.

as we've found out, zed's smarter than we thought, and his philosophy degree is finally paying off! LOL anyway in previous books, zed has noticed an emergent behavior among the whites. in this episode, we finally get a look into how this has developed and who has started it! and an old enemy is back, and zed is out for blood!

what i like about these stories and this one in particular is that even though you can see where the plot may be heading, the author resolves the situation in an unexpected and unpredictable way, which keeps the story fresh.

overall, this is another action-packed episode of slow burn. the author does a good job pacing the story and keeping it fresh and interesting. this episode ends at can't wait for the next one to come out!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-13-14

much better than expected!

What did you love best about Hellifax?

the palpable tension in parts of the story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Hellifax?

there were several memorable moments, but i can't say without spoiling parts of the story. but i did find myself cheering for somebody unexpected. 'nuff said!

What does R. C. Bray bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

r.c. bray is the man! he can do all sorts of voices, from a regular joe to deep and gravely to a confident, young girl to a great canadian accent.

Who was the most memorable character of Hellifax and why?

tenner definitely gets more developed, but i'd have to say amy. who is she? listen to the book to find out!

Any additional comments?

at first, i wasn't to sure about this story. i liked scott's character from book 1, but i wasn't sure if he could carry a story bby himself, without gus. also, i wasn't sure if a whole 12 hour story about hunting for a serial killer would be that interesting. so if you're wondering the same things, then let me put those worries to rest. this is another great story.

as the story opens, scott is traveling to hellifax in search of tenner, the serial killer who brutally tortured and killed his 2 friends and mistakenly left him for dead. there's one problem though- a blizzard. the snow is really piling up, and scott must find a suitable place to hole up before he and his suv get stuck.

the beginning is kind of slow. tenner lures somebody to their death. at first, i thought it was just another torture scene, but that person's death plays a pivotal role in the direction of the plot later in the book. throughout the story, parts of the story are told from tenner's point of view. these are like short vignettes, and i enjoyed them.

there's also another group introduced in the beginning. they call themselves the norsemen. they are a hardened group of men ordered to head east to find out what's going on and to look for supplies. like tenner, i wasn't to sure about them, but their story is woven nicely into the overall arch of the story.

i must say the author has once again done a good job of creating a lot of tension in certain parts of the story. i was actually holding my breath in parts, trying not to make to much noise as i listened. LOL no, i won't spoil your listening experience and tell you what was happening. but it does involve scott meeting a girl named amy at the most inopportune time!

once the story starts to pick up, it moves quickly to end. yes, the ending is a little sad but satisfying. the author nicely wraps up the major plot lines, and you don't get the feeling that the author rushed to finish things. i would say the pacing is excellent. at the end, there is a possibility of another book, but if not, the story definitely wrapped up in a satisfying way!

overall, i highly recommend this book! it could be read as a standalone book, but i really enjoyed it as the 3rd and final? book.

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11 of 12 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-14

destroyer is the right title!

Any additional comments?

this is my favorite of the 3 books! wow! zed really loses his $hit and goes crazy! i really liked that the author finally got to the hospital. there's a lot of action, and zed really needs a dose of the ogre and the harpie to get through what he has to do! the hospital scenes are really good.

destroyer focuses on zed. murphy kinda takes a back seat for most of the story. a few new characters are added to the story. the casualty rate is high, and you never know who's going to survive, which is always a plus in my book. the hoard scenes are intense and well thought out. i like how nothing comes easy.

overall, a good continuation of the story!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-14

good continuation of the story

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

the ending was pretty shocking! i definitely wasn't expecting that!

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

the narrator is still hyped up, still doing william shatner! lol

Any additional comments?

this is a good continuation of the overall story. the banter between zed and murphy is pretty entertaining.the plot progresses in a believable way, and the author manages the tension of the story well. i like how zed and murphy continue to experiment with their slow burn status. it's definitely an interesting plot device.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful