Ginger Nuts of Horror
The Mountain Man series audiobook review
Keith C Blackmore’s Mountain Man series – the proof that giving away free stuff as a marketing tool really works. I downloaded The Hospital, a free short story which acts as a short prequel to the main series. I downloaded it. I listened to it. I was hooked and downloaded the other audiobooks.
My first thought upon listening to Mountain Man was that the hero, Gus, certainly scratches his balls a lot. He seems to do it at every opportunity. This put me off a little but I I had been so impressed by The Hospital that I kept listening, and the story soon got going enough to keep me riveted through three whole novels.
Mountain Man is the first in the series and my favourite. It focuses on Gus, an average guy trying to live in a world gone mad with zombies. There is no attempt by Blackmore to explain how or why the apocalypse started, but that’s okay. It’s not that kind of book. We join Gus 2 years after the “world had gone to shit” and it’s not a story about survival immediately after an apocalypse but about how you would seriously live day to day in a zombie world. It’s a refreshing examination of a familiar genre.
Gus’ ordered world of safety is shaken by the arrival of Scott, a survivor of a brutal attack not of zombies, but by another human being. As Scott convalesces, you can’t help but grow fond of both the characters. I have to reveal (despite hating spoilers) that once Scott is recovered, his burning urge for justice and revenge causes him to part company with Gus, which I thought was a real shame.
The second book, Safari, sticks with Gus and I was a little disappointed as I wanted to know how Scott was getting on. In addition, I thought the lack of a second character to engage in dialogue with Gus would really hamper this book, but Blackmore’s creation of an imaginary friend, the Captain, really makes up for that. While the Captain’s appearance is only just within the bounds of believability, his comments and jokes make up for any suspension of disbelief necessary.
In Safari, Gus faces a greater threat than mere zombies. Whereas Mountain Man was about living, this book truly is about surviving in the face of an overwhelming and hungry enemy. He takes risks in this book which I felt went against the cautious character that Blackmore had carefully built up in Mountain Man, but after the departure of his only friend, I was willing to cut the guy a little slack when it came to sensible motivations. I felt this book was very well paced for both action and mystery.
The same terrifying threat that takes up Gus’ attention in Safari, also makes a significant appearance in Hellifax, which focuses on Scott. At first I was disappointed that this book switched to Scott from Gus (to whom I’d grown very attached by this point), I found that there was actually quite a lot of story to tell and I soon remembered my fondness for this character too. Plus the addition of real people and proper dialogue for Scott to engage in really helped to lift this book.
The narration of all four books by RC Bray is brilliant. He voices Gus with a beautifully gruff yet lazy drawl that really helped fix the character in my mind. And his interpretation of Alice in The Hospital is truly disturbing. I would certainly be looking favourably upon any future books I see narrated by him.
As of November 2014, there is a now fourth novel in this series entitled Well Fed, which has yet to be reviewed.
Boomstick. Samurai bat. Motorcycle leather. And the will to live amongst the unliving. Augustus Berry lives a day-to-day existence comprised of waking up, getting drunk, and preparing for the inevitable day when "they" will come up the side of his mountain and penetrate his fortress. Living on the outskirts of a city and scavenging for whatever supplies remain after civilization died two years ago, Gus knows that every time he goes down into undead suburbia could be his last.
Not only does he face a corpse-infested urban hell, human scavengers, and unending loneliness, but now a new mystery has risen... The undead are disappearing from the streets. A force is gathering, beyond the mountain man's wildest nightmares, even more relentless and terrifying than the roaming tides of dead flesh. And it's preparing to hunt. Mountain Man has been optioned for film. Contains graphic language and scenes of violence.