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Book Review: Dead Hunger IX: The Cleansing – Author Eric A. Shelman

dead-hunger-ix-the-cleansing-author-eric-a-shelmanDead Hunger IX:
The Cleansing
By Eric A. Shelman
Dolphin Moon Publishing
354 Pages

Our merry band of swash buckling survivors have managed to cope and stay alive in a world well beyond when the zombie apocalypse was first unleashed. Now residing in the relative save haven of Kingman, Kansas, Flex, Gem, Hemp, Charlie and company must have their defenses up at every turn. The undead have seemingly evolved and threaten to infiltrate their community at any given moment.

What can possibly be said about the Dead Hunger Chronicle series that hasn’t already been said? Truth be known I’ve sat on this review for much longer than I’d care to admit. Not because I diligently put the pro back in procrastination or always find innovative, new ways of being lazy. While corresponding with the author Eric A. Shelman sometime ago, when he’d initially forwarded me this volume, he’d stated that this was it, the final story in the Dead Hunger series. An end of an era.

With a walloping nine volumes and surpassing a combined thirty five hundred pages it goes without saying the kind of impact this series has had on its audience. One quirky aspect of Shelman’s style is he takes the carnal rule of writing what you know to the next level. More often than not this author creates and molds characters into his stories that are directly transcended from his own personal life. If you’re familiar with the concept of seeing a little of yourself in a fictional character then you get where I’m coming from. The difference in this case is the attributes, personality traits and even flaws are very real found within a vast number of protagonists within the series.

The Dead Hunger series has brought people together who may ordinarily never have met. A resounding fan base has been established, anxiously awaiting the latest zombie runaway smash hit. A certain sense of vicarious expression has been celebrated and regardless of the future holds in our realities, many of the characters have felt a certain sense of being immortalized. Those who have enjoyed The Dead Hunger series are best advised to savor. After all this is the last edition.

The Cleansing, part nine of these chronicles is as equally profound and arguably the greatest in the collection. This volume picks up after Nelson’s Peace, Love and Zombies chronicle beginning January 1 2029. A certain sense of suspended plausibility is achieved. Readers’ will no doubt, on an almost subconscious level ponder what the world holds in thirteen years. At first glance it appears like something out of a science fiction synopsis. Perhaps what heightens the sense of dread is so many science fiction tales eventually become science fact.

This volume begins with a prologue from Flex Sheridan’s point of view. His sentiments and prose sums up the other adventures, circumstances, misadventures, tragedy and chronicles in a neat, concise, tight exposition. He reintroduces characters, the hungerers, red eyes and how they’d gotten to where they are at the present. Pictorials, maps and diagrams are provided to enhance the audience’s imagination further. The manner in which The Cleansing was crafted is quite ingenious in fact as it could just as easily be effective as a stand-alone novel. For those readers in the horror genre who have been under a rock or cryogenically frozen for the past five years and oblivious to these novels, one can embark upon this edition and fully appreciate it. For best results however, check into the series from the get go. You won’t regret it.

After Flex’s summary the action is ratcheted up a notch immediately in chapter one. The reader is lured deep into the fray whether they like it or not. The Cleansing grows on you, becoming more and more infectious with each passing page. I’m hard pressed to see any readers who won’t devour this book within two to three sittings.
Most of the story is told in dialogue. This is indicative of just how author Shelman continues to flourish and grow with each latest release. Not a whole lot of time has to be wasted on beating around the bush with flowery prose or literary debacle. The characters’ interactions keeps the plot moving at an accelerated pace all the while engaging the reader into the constant, here and now.

Never to disappoint all the variables for a good old fashioned horror tale are prominent. The kill scenes are grisly and inspired. Some of the pages within the underground passages are claustrophobic as hell and will prey upon many common fears.

But I won’t summarize a whole lot more here in fear of disclosing too many plot spoilers. The Cleansing, an end of an era. I’m proud and honored to have experienced this series in more ways than I’m capable of expressing. A game changer and life altering I think I can safely speak for a massive audience in stating we’ll always reflect and from time to time revisit this series with pure exuberance.

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