Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book Review – Into the Devil’s Reach by Louis Weinberger

Clichés exist for a reason.  That is because they have been found over time to be very applicable to a number of situations to the point where they are overused.  Despite the use of clichés being the cardinal sin of writers, I am going to start this review with one.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  I don’t think I have ever encountered a story that had as much to offer, yet presented itself with a cover that would likely make me pass it up in a bookstore or online, as Louis Weinberger’s Into the Devil’s Reach.

Looking at the current cover of this book, you would expect to see Harlequin’s logo somewhere prominent on the front.  A very attractive woman, wearing revealing leather with one leg over the shoulder of an extremely physically fit man does seem like something they would present.  From this, one might expect that the story within fit the similar formula of many other romance novels, even those that try to spice up the romance with other story elements.  This image does no justice to the story Weinberger tells us in this incredible novel.

Sexy and alluring, Chicago Detective Jennifer Mueller is the perfect bait to catch a satanic heavy metal singer/serial killer.  When the “sting” goes wrong, lives are lost.  Seeking revenge, the killer’s satanic family lures Detective Mueller to a small town where she falls into the devil’s reach.”

If, based on this scant description and the previously mentioned issues with the cover, you passed this book up and went to look for other thrilling tales of suspense, you would be doing yourself a grave injustice.  Weinberger sets up an erotic thriller that matches the talent of any from the genre that have put pen to paper before him.  Make no mistake, this is an erotic thriller.  However, Weinberger sets upon the perfect blend of elements.  The elements of sex in the novel, while definitely present and intense, do not overshadow the rest of the story.  Weinberger skillfully presents intense scene of horror and action that really dominate the tale.
Weinberger’s descriptions of the action and the killing will have you visualizing something right out of a Hollywood blockbuster.  The vivid word pictures extend to all parts of the book.  

The characters are presented both with shining attributes as well as human flaws.  Detective Jennifer Meuller reminded me of John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport from the Prey series.  She is tough, but human.  She doesn’t always make the correct decisions, but has a code that she will stick to above anything else.  She is a gritty, take-no-shit woman who deserves to have her story continued in future stories.  At the same time, her presence does not overpower the rest of the characters, each playing their own part to perfection, no matter how big or small. 

Perhaps the greatest compliment that I can pay to Louis Weinberger after reading Into the Devil’s Reach is that to call him a writer is not sufficient.  Weinberger is a story teller in the grandest tradition of the title.  He draws us in quickly and never lets us go.  I hope to find that this is only the first of many stories that Weinberger will take the time to tell us.

So, let’s take a look at the Rage Circus breakdown:
Story Concept - 4/5
Story Execution - 5/5
Story Flow – 4.5/5
Character Development (give-a-damn factor) - 5/5
Gripping visuals/details - 5/5
Entertainment Value/Story Engagement - 5/5
Editing (including grammar and spelling) – 4.5/5

Overall – 4.7/5 – READ THIS BOOK NOW!!!!

You can pick up your copy at http://www.louisweinberger.com

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Henrique Couto announces new film! Rage Circus blogger a writer on the project!!

Today, director Henrique Couto announced his latest project.  Couto is the director of eight films, including the incredible Babysitter Massacre and Haunted House on Sorority Row.  Couto will be collaborating with three additional writers to bring this project to life.  The film is an anthology style horror fest that pays homage to EC comics and Tales from the Crypt.  The stories are all brought together under a common thread by Amos Satan, a radio shock host who decides, on his last night on the air, to reveal the four scariest true stories he has come across throughout his career. 

All of the scenes involving Amos Satan are being written by Couto himself.  In addition, Couto will pen the segment Worth the Wait  in which a young woman tries to stay sane as she waits for her lover to return with a fortune he stole from the woman he murdered.  Couto is joined by horror veteran John Oak Dalton, who previously worked with Couto as the writer of Haunted House on Sorority Row.  Dalton's segment Fair Scare tells the story of bank robbers who decide to commit a terrible act in the name of splitting their loot only two ways.  Also joining Couto are Jeremy Biltz and Rage Circus blogger Ira Gansler (for those of you new here, that would be me).  Jeremy Biltz is a reviewer for DVD Talk, with 264 movie reviews posted at the time of this writing.  Biltz will be writing the segment Painting After Midnight where an artist goes to devilish length to create paintings to die for.  Ira Gansler is the writer/editor of The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void horror blog as well as the author of two future horror novels, and another in-progress collaboration with Couto.  Gansler's segment, Office Case, presents a former police officer who takes a job as a night watchmen only to be haunted by all the lives he ruined while in the line of duty.

All in all, this promises to be another exciting and entertaining horror film from film veteran Henrique Couto.

You can read Couto's official announcement of the film here:

You can also follow the progress of the movie at:  https://www.facebook.com/scarewavesfilm

You can anticipate additional information as it becomes available here at The Rage Circus as well.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review - "Evil Never Dies" by Mick Ridgewell

Oh, vampires, how I miss what you were always intended to be!  Not sparkling, pre-teen swoon inducing, watered down, brooding dreams cursed with immortality, but rather blood-sucking, virulent fiends whose savagery is matched only by their thirst.  That’s right, if you are looking for a gore-soaked, vampire-filled good time, look no further than Mick Ridgewell’s Evil Never Dies. 
“Only the good die young.  Back in the Spring of 1912, evil blossomed in Kings Shore. Vampire demons with a vicious thirst for blood.  Network newsman Roland Millhouse has low expectations for his current assignment. He is to interview Patricia Owens on her 120th birthday. He envisions a feeble old woman in a wheelchair. He encounters someone with more energy than most people a half century younger. A woman with a gruesome story to tell, and a need to tell it.  Roland went to Kings Shore to get a quote and some photos. What he got was a terrifying tale of death and monsters. A tale that would change his life forever.” (Amazon.com).
From such a simple premise, comes an amazing tale of a horrific summer.  Although we only ever really “meet” two characters, we become quickly attached to them as they set about their trek into the past together.  One has lived through it all and the other will come to feel like he has.  Although the protagonist, Roland, starts off understandably skeptical of the tale he is being asked to hear, we are drawn in along with him as Patricia Owens shares the story of the most horrific summer of her, and just about anyone else’s life.  Although we know what is coming from clues sprinkled throughout the opening part of the book, we still cannot help but shudder and fear as Patricia relives her personal hell.
Ridgewell’s writing is very tight and fast paced.  His descriptions are brutal but concise, giving us just enough and then leaving the rest to our imaginations.    Sight, sound, smell, even taste at times, Ridgewell leaves no sense unviolated during the journey upon which his story takes us.  So intense is the story telling that, even though we know Patricia will come through since she is the one telling the story, it is easy to find oneself fearing even for her in a series of events during which no one seems safe.  The build-up throughout the story is amazing and does not disappoint at the end.
If Evil Never Dies is a good example of what to expect from the writing of Mick Ridgewell, then I will definitely be reading anything else that bears his name.  Evil Never Dies was a masterful mix of horror, suspense, and action.  Ridgewell wastes no time getting right to the action while not sacrificing character development so that we can be invested in the tale when things start to get intense.  If you have not read this and you are a fan of what vampires should be, you are doing yourself a great disservice and should immediately read this novel!
So, let’s take a look at the Rage Circus breakdown:
Story Concept - 4/5
Story Execution - 5/5
Story Flow – 4.5/5
Character Development (give-a-damn factor) - 5/5
Gripping visuals/details - 5/5
Entertainment Value/Story Engagement - 5/5
Editing (including grammar and spelling) - 5/5
Overall Rage Score – 4.8 – I need to state it again, if you are a vampire fan, if you consider yourself a horror fan at all, READ THIS BOOK!
Pick up your copy directly from the publisher:
Or, you can get it from Amazon.com:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Interview with Eric Widing

In the world of horror cinema, most of the big names find something they are good at and stick with it.  John Carpenter is known for directing, Robert Englund is known for acting.  Richard Band is known for composing.  Sometimes, however, individuals come along who branch out and find that they are actually exceptionally good at many different areas of film making and they become known for all of them.  Lon Chaney managed the task until his death in 1930.  Tom Savini continues to this day to act, direct, work on special effects, and do stunt work.  In independent film, this is a much more common occurrence due to the need to keep budgets to a minimum.

Even though carrying out multiple tasks is not uncommon for those in the independent film business, Eric Widing may still give reason to be very impressed given all that he has accomplished.  Widing has worked as an editor, producer, actor, cinematographer, director, writer, assistant director, as well as working in the sound department, editorial department, animation department, as a composer, and even as a set decorator.  With this kind of resume, you know you are in for some interesting stories when you take the time to talk to Eric Widing.  My interview with Widing did not disappoint.

Ira Gansler:  Looking at IMDB, you seem to be an extremely multi-talented person in the indie film industry.  You’ve got credits under actor, director, writer, editor, cinematographer, sound department, composer, and even set director.  With all that going on, how would you say you primarily see yourself heading, or define yourself, in your film career?

Eric Widing:  Well, ultimately directing is my big thing.  The problem is, as far as coming up with ideas, I only come up with one idea I really like and a lot of ideas that get pushed to the side.  My goal as director is maybe 10 to 15 features in my whole career.  As far as editing goes, though, I’ll pretty much edit anything.  I think the most prolific thing that I’ll do to keep busy and keep making money is editing, such as what I did with Haunted House on Sorority Row.  I think that is going to be my future.  Directing is my main focus but editing is going to likely be my most prolific.

IG:  Most of your work has been with horror at this point.  Do you feel a certain attachment to the horror genre?

EW:  You know I do.  Honestly, growing up horror was something I wasn’t really allowed to see, but I was always very curious about from a young age.  In the early ‘90s I would go into the horror section of the video store and look at the cases.  I remember Candyman, Hellraiser, and Child’s Play particularly caught my attention.  So as a kid, I would usually imagine what horror movies were like.  It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started reading Stephen King and catching up with Friday the 13th, Halloween, and all the stuff I had missed out on.  That was the point where I first tried to catch up on horror movies.  It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed.  All of my favorite movies, even if they are not horror movies, have horror elements.  One of my favorites of the last decade is No Country for Old Men, which is generally a thriller, but has a lot of horror elements.  That is my favorite type of movie.  A thriller or drama that has a lot of horrific elements to it is really what draws me the most.

IG:  With the draw being there before you were even allowed to experience it, what is your earliest horror movie memory?

EW:  As a kid, I remember sneak watching Child’s Play at a friend’s house.  One I was allowed to watch as a kid was Alien, which was really cool.  When I was a kid, I would watch by checking out the TV guide and making sure I was able to sneak watch if something was coming on.  I vaguely remember watching Nightmare on Elm Street.  I think the earliest movie I really had a reaction to as a kid was Child’s Play.  I thought Chucky was a pretty cool villain and it was a lot of fun.

IG:  So at this point, you are probably best known for your movie, Hellhounds, which you have stated was inspired by the Robert Johnson song Hellhound on My Trail.  When you look at the lyrics of that song, you can see some places that seem to line up, but there is definitely a vague connection to how they go together from an outsider’s perspective.  How did you go about creating such a unique movie from this song?

EW:  Well, that’s kind of a long story.  I’ll try to keep it simple.  I came up with Hellhounds when I was graduating college and I was having a lot of trouble finding jobs.  I was uncertain about stuff.  I was also unsure of where my life was going to go so I became attached to a lot of old blues songs such as Hellhounds on My Trail.  I like the concept of that song.  Mostly, a lot of the stuff that Hellhounds is inspired by is really the back story of the song.  The back story is that Robert Johnson has supposedly sold his soul for great music ability, whereas in Hellhounds what he sold his soul for is kind of vague.  I just like the idea of a guy being on the run from evil whether it is metaphorical or physical.

IG:  That being the story of where the idea came from, what was your inspiration for creating such a visually unique movie?  Because I think that is one of the things that really stands out for the fans of Hellhounds is the amazing visuals.

EW:  A lot of the visuals came from this experimental film maker named Stan Brakhage.  He’s done a lot of stuff and has been very influential in the music video industry.  A lot of classic MTV videos were influenced by his editing techniques.  One of his most famous works is called Dog Star Man.  It has a lot of really crazy negative visual, negative filters, a lot of various colors, and a lot of quick cutting.  Originally I was going to take a more traditional visual approach to Hellhounds.  One point in the middle of filming, I got kind of burnt out on that and wanted to try something new.  So, I watched Dog Star Man again on YouTube.  It had been several years since I had seen it.  I really liked the primal experience of it and how you can really get lost in the visuals.  So Stan Brakhage is a big influence on the colors and stuff.  I also like David Lynch a lot, his use of dreams and dream atmospheres.  So a lot of that was also influential on the visuals and atmospheres of Hellhounds.  Also, some black metal videos with the images of demons in dark rooms and that sort of thing.  Just the look and feel of black metal videos is an influence as well.

IG:  Something I found very interesting and unusual as I was doing my research for this interview is that, according to IMDB, you are a freelance videographer and journalist for REN TV in Russia, which to me sounds pretty damn cool.  What’s involved in that and how did you get connected with a Russian television program?

EW:  It’s kind of a funny story.  REN TV is kind of like Russia’s version of ABC or NBC.  They’re a big network.  They do a lot of interviews internationally, especially with people who had a scientific experience.  I interviewed a UFOologist, along with a nuclear physicist, and I actually interviewed the hockey player Sergei Brobrowski.  I recently interviewed a professor in West Virginia.  So they are very science based for the most part.  I actually got in touch with them through Craigslist.  They were looking for a freelance videographer in Dayton.  At first, I thought it was some kind of scam.  I was thinking, “What is Russia doing out here?”  Then once I talked to them and they explained what was going on, I thought that was a pretty cool gig.  Yeah, it’s pretty interesting to go just a couple of hours outside my house and film something that is going to air on Russian TV.  I’ve never seen any of the original or completed work that I’ve done for them.  I know the interview with Sergei Brobrowski was for a news report.  The interview with the UFOologist was for a documentary they were doing on UFOs.

IG:  What would your dream project be?

EW:  That’s an easy one.  I have this script I’ve been working on for about fifteen years.  It’s current title is Live for the Kill, but that could potentially change.  That is my ultimate dream project.  I thought about it initially as a kid and then I made it make more sense.  Then as a teenager, I added more to it.  It’s just stuck with me ever since.  It’s never gone away.  I’ve felt a lot of attachment to it.  It’s also one that to do it the way I envision would require somewhat of a budget, like a real filmmaker’s budget.  That would easily be my dream project.  If someone gave me a million dollars to make anything, it would definitely be Live for the Kill.

IG:  Anyone who looks into your work or follows you on Facebook knows that you are a huge heavy metal fan and have actually directed several heavy metal music videos.  So is this a part of your career that you are trying to pursue more?

EW:  You know, when I first graduated school, I thought I would have a lot more luck shooting heavy metal videos.  It’s mostly been for friends because a lot of the metal bands I’ve encountered either don’t have a lot of money for videos, because their focus is on music, understandably so.  I thought I was going to get a lot more into that when I graduated school, but it’s something I really enjoy doing.  I’m a lot more willing to play ball with metal bands to get a video out for them because I feel most in my element when I direct videos like that.  I feel like I can get more creative and use more of a style seen in Hellhounds when I do metal videos.  It’s something I’d like to continue, I just haven’t really pursued music videos in a couple of years.  I would like to do it in the future, though, if the opportunity arises. 

IG:  Anything big, or anything currently in the works for your fans to look forward to at the moment?

EW:  Well, I am working on another script.  I have a lot of ideas going in my head.  I’m potentially going to take a film I wrote called Depravity and write it from the villain’s perspective.  Depravity is another sort of pet project of mine that I am willing to take another direction with.  So, that’s something that will most likely happen in the next few years.  My next project before that will likely be something simpler.  I’m still working on what exactly I want that to be.

IG:  Final question for you.  This is kind of the big, broad one, but I like to get the perspective of different people in the horror industry on this.  How do you define horror?

EW:  That’s a good question.  Horror to me is anything that makes you feel horrified.  Horror explores dark elements.  It doesn’t have to be scary, per say, as long as it portrays dark, horrific elements in some way whether that’s psychological or focusing on blood and gore.  Anything that makes you feel a sense of dread and focuses on causing fear and making you feel uncomfortable based on tapping into your ultimate fear that you would never even want to think about, makes you question certain aspects of your life, or question certain habits that you have so you don’t meet the same fate as the character from the movie.  Generally, horror causes a sense of dread and explores fears.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Movie Review - "The Campground"

There are times when over-the-top effects and splatter-filled, body-parts-flying everywhere, holy-shit-I-didn’t-even-know-that-was-in-the-human-body kills are what you want in a horror movie.  However, with all of the gore fests that are emerging now, it makes you miss the basic things that a movie should have, like plot and good characters.  Sometimes, simple is what you desire.  Sometimes, simple is more effective.  Roman Jossart’s The Campground understands this premise and uses it to deliver a great horror film.

“In 1980 a mother took her son to get a present on his 10th birthday. They went to an old abandoned Campground: Little Farm on the River. She took him to an old camper and asked him to step inside, once he did she reached out and grabbed a screwdriver sitting on the counter and began stabbing him over and over again. Now 30 years later a group of friends decide to go down to the campground to celebrate a birthday party, but the mood soon changes when people start turning up dead. Will the teens be able to check out or stay at camp permanently?”

From the opening scene, the stage is set for a chilling and effective movie.  A basic, yet haunting movie score sets the tone and atmosphere for this slasher right from the start.  The location choices really lend a feeling of isolation needed for the movie to work.  We see from the beginning that the deaths are going to be simple, yet absolutely brutal.  Make no mistake, the kills may not be very inventive, but they will make you cringe.  Writers Jossart and Brandon Prewitt seems to have embraced the idea that there is no way to kill a person that has not been seen time and time again, so instead, he goes for attacks that will make you feel sympathy pains.  That basic intensity is not the only thing which writer Brandon Prewitt and writer/director Roman Jossart seems to grasp.

Ever since Scream in 1996, characters, who most of the time are supposed to be teenagers, seem to be required to wow us with snappy dialogue that makes each and every one of them sound like they have a master’s degree in psychology.  Witty comebacks and snappy one-liners flow like manna from heaven out of the mouths of attractive youth.  Jossart and Prewitt, on the other hand, embrace the background that his characters would be likely to actually have and gives us believable and natural dialogue.  Perhaps two of my favorite lines from the movie show that Jossart and Prewitt can both make us laugh and chill us with words.  Early in the film, two friends are giving each other a hard time in a store.  We could easily imagine ourselves having a similar conversation with our closest friends.  As a closing line, Brandon tells his friend “the chips?  They’re in aisle three by the tampons.”  This is nothing ground shaking or worthy of a standup comic, it is just two friends screwing around with each other, yet the delivery is funny.  Later in the movie, once the protagonists have run into a local with knowledge of the killer, the local informs them “you didn’t get away, he just gave you a head start.”  The line is delivered very non-dramatically and fits well with the mood at that point of the movie.  It is just one example of the solid and believable performances delivered by the cast.

Let’s be clear, horror movies should not be aiming to win their cast academy awards.  Save that for the drama and the comedies.  Good acting in horror movies is as simple as staying in the right mood at the right moment, if you die, doing it believably, and making us accept that the bad decisions you make that will ultimately lead to your death are a natural extension of who your character really is.  Every actor in The Campground delivers on this premise.  My favorite character was Brandon.  Every group of friends had one of these people growing up (if you are saying to yourself “no, my friends didn’t have someone like this,” then it was probably you).  This person was cracking jokes at all the wrong times, displaying a major case of ADHD when everyone else was trying to concentrate on an issue, and generally always doing the wrong thing at the worst possible moment.  Roman Jossart not only co-wrote this character to perfection, but played him just as well.  The shift in the group member’s moods from carelessly having fun, to sadness at the news of a friends “suicide,” to fear and anger is played out amazingly.  You have no problem believing that these are real people in a really bad situation.  I think the only time I didn’t believe that anyone could make THAT stupid of a decision was when some of the characters take refuge in a car to protect themselves from the killer, yet leave the windows down.  Otherwise, all of the bad ideas seem to fit the characters and they even question each other’s mistakes and second guess decisions.  The flashback of Charlie’s death is especially haunting if you focus on the blank look of the mother after she has killed her son, walking from the trailer soaked in blood.  Essentially, none of the actors overdid or underdid their role and kept you in the reality of the movie.

In my opinion, it is the simple things that can make or break an independent movie.  Jossart and Prewitt avoid one of the big mistakes that many independent film makers fall into, which is overreaching the limits of what they have to work with.  The reported budget for The Campground was $3,000.  By keeping his death scenes simple and his effects minimalistic, but believable, Jossart and Prewitt really made the most of that budget to provide a good film.  Their focus was obviously on the minor things that can make or break a movie.  They let the atmosphere do the work.  Perhaps one of the most chilling scenes of the movie is when one of the girls answers a phone left in the bathroom for her and the killer recites a twisted nursery rhyme in a raspy voice.  One of the biggest things that stood out to me was the lighting.  A lot of independent films tend to suffer from poor lighting that ruins the mood of a movie as they try to make the best of what they have available to them.  Jossart handles this very well, keeping the film dark enough to maintain the atmosphere while lighting it enough to keep you from having to struggle to see what is going on.

As you can see, my critiques on this film are minimal.  Sure, you could tear this movie apart piece by piece if you wanted to, but to do so would be to miss the gem that Jossart and Prewitt have created with so little with which to work.  The only flaws I would see worthy of pointing out where two basic things, that, hopefully, they can correct in the future to make an even better production then the highly entertaining movie he has already given us.  My first issue was a basic production complaint.  There are a couple of points during the campfire scenes where the ambient noises seem to loud, making the dialogue difficult to hear.  I’m not sure if this is something Jossart could give more focus during post-production on future projects.  My only complaint as far as the story and its execution on screen go is Charlie’s age.  This is the same issue I have always taken with Friday the 13th.  Why, if the killer died as a child, are they now a full-grown man?  I understand from a horror film perspective that a large man makes a better killer then a small boy, but I don’t think that is something that needs to keep occurring.  Along with that is the actor who played the “child” Charlie.  A couple of times we are told that Charlie was killed when he was ten-years-old.  I understand the choice for this as it is more horrifying that a mother would kill her small child with no clear motivation then it would be for an older teenager to die.  However, the actor who plays “10-year-old” Charlie is clearly much older.  I feel like it would have been better if Jossart had found a child to play the role or re-written it so Charlie’s age matched the actor’s a little more closely.

Minor gripes aside, this was a fantastic movie.  It had a strong story, great acting, effective kill scenes, and (at under 60 minutes long) leaves you wanting more without just filling the time with unnecessary and distracting story elements.  If you want to see what effective and entertaining independent horror looks like, you need look no further than Roman Jossart’s The Campground.

So, what’s the Rage score?  Here it is:

Acting – 4.5/5

 Story - 4/5

 Effects - 4/5

 Camera Work/Production Skill - 4/5

 Overall Entertainment Value - 4/5


 Total Score – 4.1/5 – What are you waiting for?  Go check out this solid and entertaining horror movie!

So where can you get The Campground, you ask?  Check out these options:

Buy it director from the film makers at http://thecampgroundfilm.com/


Even better, you can support Roman Jossart and Brandon Prewitt’s latest project and pick up a copy of The Campground at the same time on Indiegogo:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-woods-within.  Best of all with The Woods Within project is that Jossart and Prewitt have ensured fans that the movie will be made no matter how much of their goal they achieve.  The more support they are able to get, the better film they will be able to produce.  So let’s help them make an even better film then the first and show our support for Independent Horror!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book Review – Wanted Dead or Undead by Angela Scott

Book Review – Wanted Dead or Undead by Angela Scott

Perhaps one of the highest compliments I can pay this book is that I did not realize it was a young adult novel until I saw mention of the fact on the author’s Facebook page.  The story was excellent and engaging and the writing was very impressive.  Nowhere to be seen was the typical over-the-top romance that permeates young adult fiction.  The relationships that develop through the book happen over time and seem to occur in a much more realistic manner.  Best of all, nothing sparkles, except maybe the bullets if the sun happens to reflect off of them on the way to a zombie’s brain.

“Trace Monroe doesn't believe in luck. He never has. But when a fiery-headed cowgirl saunters through the saloon doors, wielding shotguns and a know-how for killing the living dead, he believes he just may be the luckiest man alive.

Trace wants to join Red's posse, but she prefers to work alone--less messy that way. In order to become her traveling companion, Trace has to agree to her terms: no names, no questions, and if he gets bit, he can't beg for mercy when she severs his brain stem.

He agrees, knowing only that Red is the sharpest shooter he's ever encountered. The fact she's stunning hasn't escaped his attention either.

What he doesn't know, is that Red has a very good reason to be on top of her game. She not only has the answer for how they can all outlive the plague taking over the wild, wild west, she IS the answer.”  (Amazon.com)

The novel focuses on a sub-genre that really could use more material, that of a zombie western.  That’s right, this book is not only full of zombie goodness, but also takes place in the Wild West.  The action seems very realistic for the period and is never lacking.  Angela Scott does not hold back from giving us a very descriptive picture of zombie carnage in a world lacking the modern day weaponry that works most efficiently against the undead.  Action is not the only thing that Scott provides for her readers.

The character development in this book is excellent.  Scott uses the action to drive the story while providing us with great insight into the characters and their motivations beyond just staying alive.  These characters seem flesh and blood by the middle of the book and you find yourself on the edge of your seat hoping that the flesh is not chewed and the blood not spilled.  It is very easy to lose yourself in this story and really start caring about the characters.  This aspect of a story is a must in terms of any book, young adult or adult, and Scott is dead on with her aim of accomplishing this goal.  This is not a story or characters that can be contained in a single volume.

Thankfully, Angela Scott does not leave us wanting.  Wanted Dead or Undead is the first in the Zombie West Trilogy.  After closing this book, you will be relieved to know that because you will be left wanting more.

Overall, I find almost nothing to say in a negative light about this book.  The only small issue I had was the occasional mistaken pronoun (he for she or vice-versa).  My experience was with the audio book format, however, so it may not have even been the book itself, but the reading of the book.  If you have not already done so, I would highly recommend picking this book up right away and be prepared to pick up the sequels when you are done, because you will not want to wait to find out what happens next.

So, let’s take a look at the Rage Circus breakdown:

Story Concept -4.5/5
Story Execution – 4.5/5
Story Flow – 4.5/5
Character Development (give-a-damn factor) - 5/5
Gripping visuals/details - 5/5
Entertainment Value/Story Engagement - 5/5
Editing (including grammar and spelling) – 4.5/5

Overall – 4.7/5 – Pick up your copy today and be prepared to not put it down!

You can purchase Wanted Dead or Undead by Angela Scott at Amazon in hardcover trilogy version, paperback, or Kindle e-book at the following links:

Hardcover Zombie West Trilogy - http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-West-Trilogy-Angela-Scott/dp/1622538617/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_har?ie=UTF8&qid=1396391499&sr=8-1&keywords=zombie+west