by Peter Clines
Published 2011 by Broadway Paperbacks
WHO: The Ex-Heroes: Stealth, St. George, Zzap and Cerebus, all humans with superhero capabilities…
WHAT: continue their vigilance against the zombie (Ex-Human) hoards, organize & execute search & recovery sorties for survivors and supplies, and generally fight the good fight.
WHERE: One night, from the command epicenter on the former movie lots in L.A., the Ex-Heroes orchestrate a celebration for the morale of the populace. Fireworks attract the attention of other possible survivors and very quickly the Ex-Heroes find themselves answering to U.S. military authorities at a proving ground near Yuma, Arizona.
WHEN: The zombocalypse takes place is real time, as in now: Post-9-11, 21st century now. No technology that is described in the novel is invented. Well, other than Cerebus. Maybe.
WHY: The U.S. military appears eager to assume control of the L.A. area in terms of its people, who could possibly shore up the military’s depleted force.
HOW: Under the direction of John Smith and Captain Freedom, brains and brawn respectively, the military’s plans look to have better than even odds of succeeding. Is this a good thing?
+ Ex-Patriots is a fun, action-packed installent in Clines’ Ex-Heroes planned quatrain. In addition to super heroes fighting zombies, we also have super soldiers, a super villain and a daunting nemesis!
+ Peter Clines poses interesting moral and ethical questions, e.g. If a person is wrapped in the Old Red-White-and-Blue, what color hat (black or white) is s/he wearing? and; If you’re forced to do something that you know deep down is wrong, will your head explode? and; What happens, in a disagreement when both parties are right?
+ Because both the characters and the situations that they are placed in are unconventional, resolution must also be unconventional, but still within the realm of possibilities that the author has created. Done. Readers will eagerly burn though the pages in anticipation as to how things works out.
+ Some in-references to former presidents and Superman…
– Characters come a little too close in resemblance to known, trademarked super heroes/villains at times, appearing at best, to be a honorific pastiche; at worst, derivative or unoriginal.
– “Five by Five” – In the book, St. George is trying to think of a “good code phrase” to indicate that a person is on the up-and-up. The keywords that he comes up with are “Five by five.” Originally a phrase meaning “loud and clear” by the military in regard to radio and TTY transmissions, the phrase is supposed to convey the same meaning to a specific non-military person, Zzap in this scenario. The reasoning behind this bit of witticism is that Zzap will understanding its meaning having watched DVDs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But “Five by five” is not a Buffyism. It’s actually in the Angel canon and specifically refers to five groups of torture. If you were a Buffy/Angel fan and you heard that a person was “five by five” you would pee in your pants, cry for your mother and beg for mercy. You would NOT think that the person was okay, on the up-and-up or even “loud and clear”. Am I wrong?
SEX/-UALITY, DRUGS, VIOLENCE. : One crudely attempted seduction; No drug usage; Lots of zombie slayage; Raw language directed at the female protags.
n.b. The first-in-series is Ex-Heroes. Ex-Patriots is the second book in the planned 4-title series.
OTHER: I bought a paperback edition of Ex-Patriots (by Peter Clines) from AMZN. I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.
I have challenged myself to read forty books this summer. Many books will be backlist titles as I’m trying to clear the stacks; but I have no doubt that new releases will make their way in too! 😉