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Book Review: Undead L.A. – Volume 2 – Author Devan Sagliani

Undead-la-vol2-book-coverUndead L.A.
Volume 2
By: Devan Sagliani
Laughing Crow Media
121 Pages

A collection of short stories with a central theme surrounding a post-apocalyptic realm and the city of Los Angeles.

Fever Dream: Dora and Jamal two transients vie to stay alive in harrowing conditions.

Black Crow Laughing: It’s true love when Tyler risks all for Emily.

We Are the Hunters: Adam, a reluctant hero does what it takes to try and save Sarah, a young girl from an unspeakable fate.

Californication: Samantha, a XXX starlet conquers the p**n world but soon finds her fame comes at a ghastly price.

The Chose Ones: Chad and Skylar struggle to flee the inevitable clutches of an interplanetary force.

Ghosts in The Machine: Jeremy, a celebrity has a most bizarre encounter with the president and realizes his evolutionary destiny.

May They Not Be Forgotten: Kathleen realizes there is life after cancer and reflects upon the loss of all the citizens in the City of Angels at a memorial.

I’ve had the sincere privilege and honor of reading a handful of this author’s efforts and find that each release is more compelling that it’s previous. With fresh, innovative and crisp ideas, it’s every bit as much of a milestone witnessing this gifted wordsmith hone his craft just a little more with each novel. Undead L.A. of course is no exception. Fear not constant reader, for if you had neglected to pick up the predecessor’s edition one can still follow the foray with each spell binding page.

Sagliani appears to understand his market well and targets not specifically any genre demographic. On the surface this effort appears to appeal strictly to the fanaticism of zombie fans. Undead L.A. is much more than that. In fact the zombies, in a way are characters almost on a secondary level. They lurk, roam and feast in the shadows, a certain subtext if you will. The real action is revolving around the characters and how they manage to coexist in a world come undone.

A psycho social look at how society fares after virtual Armageddon is highlighted. We get a glimpse into the psyches of varying characters. It matters not if the protagonists are male or female. This author has an uncanny precedence for making us empathize with their collective plights. We relate to each on a subconscious and also much more tangible level. We cheer them on without even fully realizing it even if we know their demise is awaiting them ominously around any corner.

Perhaps Sagliani’s greatest gift is the ability to epitomize the point of view expression. Although each of these tales are told from a third person perspective, we are still drawn to the characters. We get a feel for their emotions, their hopes, their dreams and of course last but certainly not least their fears through inner monologue. It creates a suspended sense of belief, plausibility and rationale even in a far-fetched atmosphere. An undeniable sense of sentimental nostalgic is high-lighted. It’s interesting to witness each character reflect on their past, their very recent present and how each had dreadfully taken their future for granted. We question not the tale’s authenticity and ravenously trek on through each chapter.

At times the levels of exposition appears to be on the brink of over indulgent. My primary concern was perhaps the reader may get distracted in chartering into the past repeatedly. It would be an awful shame to deter away from the maximum impact of each story. As the sentences, paragraphs and pages unfold however, the fine blend of exposition, action, and dialogue seems to be mixed just right. A glimpse into each character’s life prior to the outbreak only solidifies the person they’d become in the here and now.

One of my favorite elements was the chapter breaks in between each tale. The reader is treated to a barrage of factoids about the history of Los Angeles. This seems to deliver another element of realism between takes of surrealism and is a formidable combination to the avid reader. Overall an exquisite read from a constantly flourishing writer. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead on the horizon for Devan Sagliani.

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