Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story
Carter Cross and Josh Lessard are preparing for the arrival of Josh’s grandmother for a visit. As with all of Josh’s family, she is a bit crazy, and Josh is determined to paint the house before her arrival to make it more colorful. Just as they settle in to get painting, however, the guys get a phone call that they are needed on a mission.
Carter and Josh are slayers and a horde of zampies (part zombie, part vampire) is holed up in San Antonio. Right now they are mostly contained because it is daylight, but as soon as it gets dark, the zampies will break out and attack. So far the hordes have mostly been contained to isolated areas, but finding this group in a big city with tons of people around is an unimaginable threat, and Carter and Josh rush to join their team.
The fight to eliminate the zampies is their hardest yet. Josh and Carter barely escape with their lives, and not everyone on the team makes it. But the horror may not all be behind them as more nightmares await when they get home.
I was blown away by J. Fally’s Bone Rider last year, and so I was really eager to pick up her latest short story. I am really impressed by just how much the author packs into about 50 pages here. We start with the domestic, as Josh and Carter bicker and banter about plans for Josh’s grandmother’s arrival. It is clear how much they love one another and how devoted they are to each other, just by the way they interact. Then suddenly that peace is shattered as they are called up to join their team in slaying duties. Fally does such a great job with this transition, as we go from easy domesticity to a high alert, near death situation. We see right away that every time these guys take on a mission, their chances of survival are low. They are brave and heroic and still so clearly bonded to one another.
The battle scenes with the zampies are well done and exciting, and Fally does a great job with the world building in such a short amount of time. I was impressed with how she was able to detail this paranormal world in a way that made it feel rich and well developed without an info dump. This isn’t easy in a long novel but is especially hard in a shorter page count. The battle is scary and we really feel the true threat of this plague on civilization, as well as the dedication of Josh and Carter and their team.
I really liked the way Fally mixes the thrilling and the mundane here, going back and forth from Carter and Josh’s quiet life together to their job as slayers. It really highlights the danger and their bravery to see it alongside routine things like preparing for a relative’s arrival. The ending was a little bit confusing for me as a lot of folks are introduced in a short time and it took me a little while to totally understand what was going on. But I did like the way Fally gives us such a nice feel for these guys’ home life.
So I really enjoyed this short story and continue to love Fally’s writing. The world building is great and Josh and Carter are a great mix of sweet and loving, along with strong and brave. Very enjoyable.
P.S. I think this story may suffer a bit from its rather awkward title. Once you read the book it makes total sense and fits completely with the story. But coming in cold I found it a little hard to wrap my head around, and it may discourage some from giving the book a try. But definitely give this one a chance, I think you will find it worth it.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.