Monday, June 23, 2014

Dead Earth: The Vengeance Road by Mark Justice and David T. Wilbanks

Dead Earth: The Vengeance Road
by Mark Justice and David T. Wilbanks

This review was also published on The Bookie Monster. For more great book reviews written by a variety of reviewers, check it out!


When you’ve lost everything, the only thing left is vengeance. 

Invaders from another world have used demonic technology to raise an unholy conquering army of the living dead. These “necros” destroyed Jubal Slate’s home and everyone he loved. Now the only thing that matters to Slate is payback. No matter how far he has to go or how many undead warriors he must slaughter, Slate and his motley band of followers will stop at nothing to end the reign of the aliens.

I gave The Vengeance Road 4 out of 5 Stars on The Bookie Monster.

The Vengeance Road is the second book in the Dead Earth series by Mark Justice and David T. Wilbanks. In this installment, the main character, Jubal, takes on a lesser role as more characters are introduced. Though his role is not as prominent as it is in Dead Earth: The Green Dawn,  Jubal's determination to avenge those responsible for the death of his friends and family is stronger than ever. Jubal journeys back to the United States with other survivors who have the same objective: to do all they can to hinder the aliens and their undead army, no matter the cost.

Jubal and his group are not the only ones making their way north to Nevada-- a vile group of bikers led by a twisted individual named Luther Kemp is also making the journey. This group is not seeking revenge, however. Kemp's objective is to gain followers and soldiers for the alien lords. Those who refuse to follow as one of the living are forced into service as one of the walking dead. Kemp's ability to control the dead allows him to add more "soldiers" with each town he and his group encounter.

There is a lot to like about The Vengeance Road.  I'm glad the authors added more characters to the story line as compared to the first book in the series. The characters are well-developed and believable. I found the protagonists to be endearing and the bad guys to be especially scary. There is plenty of action and some very tense moments in the story, making it an exciting read. There were a couple missing paragraphs in my copy of the book, which may be due to the format in which I received it. Aside from a couple minor errors, the editing is well-done.

There are a few things I did not like about The Vengeance Road.  My biggest issue with this book has to do with inconsistencies in the story line.  During a couple of the zombie attacks, one character is surrounded by the undead, engaged in the fight of his/her life. Meanwhile, the other characters in the immediate area are left alone by the hordes. How does that happen?!

The biggest inconsistency in the book involves the character, Mike. At one point, it's implied he is hiding a big secret from the rest of his group. I kept waiting to find out what this secret was, but by the end of the book, it was still a secret. I know there is a third book, but for reasons I won't get into, I doubt this character will be part of that story.  It will be interesting to see if the third book addresses Mike's secret. If it does, I will revisit this review and remove this paragraph. If the paragraph is still here, well...

Overall, I liked Dead Earth: The Vengeance Road.  I gave it four stars because it is well-written, eciting, somewhat original, and the characters are well-developed. The reason I did not give the book five stars is because of its inconsistencies.

Buy Dead Earth: The Vengeance Road on Amazon.

David T. Wilbanks is a writer, editor and publisher. His short stories have appeared in Horror Drive-In, Postscripts and other publications. He and Mark Justice write the DEAD EARTH series, the latest and third book being SANCTUARY (2013). With Craig Clarke, he edited and published LIVING AFTER MIDNIGHT, a dark fiction anthology from their own Acid Grave Press. David lives in Minnesota with his wife. 

Mark Justice is the author of Looking at the World with Broken Glass in My Eye, and co-author of Dead Earth: The Green Dawn and Dead Earth: The Vengeance Road, both with David T. Wilbanks. His short fiction has appeared in Damned Nation, In Laymon’s Terms, Legends of the Mountain State 1,2, 3 & 4. The Horror Library Vol. 2 & 3, The Avenger Chronicles, The Green Hornet Chronicles, Dark Discoveries and many other anthologies and magazines. He co-edited the holiday horror anthology Appalachian Winter Hauntings. The Dead Sheriff, a supernatural western prose and comics series, will debut from Evil Eye Books in 2011. 
Justice also produces and hosts the popular genre podcast Pod of Horror. He lives in Kentucky with his wife and cats.