Mutterings and utterings of a budding novelist

Posts tagged “Sharon Van Orman

Book Review: Season of the Dead

Here is my review for ‘Season of the Dead’ by Sharon Van Orman, Paul Freeman, Gerald D. Johnston, Lucia Adams

Zombies – how we love them.

How is it the simple premise of a human returning from the dead to walk amongst the living can inspire not only a multitude of tales and scenarios, but a diverse array of comedy and horrific genres.

So with this in mind I guess it’s hard to create something truly original when you fill a book with undead flesh chompers.

‘Season of the Dead’ is one of these books. Written by four authors, each from their own viewpoint as zombies take over the world. Two from America, one from Canada, one from Ireland. It’s a unique blend of cultures that fits remarkably well in the telling. I’ll have to admit the cover reminded me a little of the game ‘Left 4 Dead’, but aside from having four protagonists, the similarities end there.

What’s great about this book, without giving away any spoilers, is that the four seperate experiences truly give the feeling of this being a worldwide event, and that you secretly hope throughout the book that these characters will meet one another (I think I beamed with excitement when they finally did).

The twists and turns the four take as they carve, blast and chop through hordes of munching zombies leads towards an epic finale, beautifully crafted by the four writers who even though speak in their own voice, manage to keep the tale from diversifying into a jaunted quartet of seperate novels. Everything moulds seamlessly together like a literary synchronised swimming session. Even better is the fact that they use their own names for their characters, hinting further that they have actually used their own personalities to flesh them out.

All in all a great book, with thrills, chills, chuckles, and a sprinkling of gore. Well worth a read.

And one tip – should you ever encounter a zombie apocalypse – a full size squirrel outfit trumps full military body armour against the undead anyday!



Blurb:  “It is said that unto everything there is a season…these are the stories of a group of survivors during the season of the dead.”

Four individuals fight to survive as the zombie apocalypse crashes over the world in a wave of terror and destruction. Color, creed, and social standing mean nothing as the virus infects millions across the planet.

Sharon: a zoologist from Nebraska, USA, has worked with the virus, and has seen the effects on the human mind. She knows more about the virus than nearly anybody alive, and far more than she wants to. Gerry: from Ontario, Canada, he gets his first taste of the virus from inside a prison cell. Locked up after an anti-government riot, his prison guard transforms before his eyes into a flesh craving zombie. Lucia: a chemist from Pittsburgh, USA, flees from a furry convention dressed as a giant squirrel, and escapes from the city in a Fed-Ex van. She’s a girl who knows when to run and when to fight. Paul: thinks he can sit out the apocalypse in his apartment block in Dublin, Ireland, until the virus comes to visit, bursting his bubble and leaving him with no choice but to face reality or perish.

All four begin perilous journeys in mind and body as they face daily trials to survive: Four threads, four different parts of the world, one apocalypse!


Amazon US link

Amazon UK link:





Book Review ‘Lykaia’ – Sharon Van Orman

I remember years ago getting dragged to watch Twilight at the cinema by my ex girlfriend. Being a fan of Vampires and supernatural movies I assumed I’d love it! Boy, was I soooo wrong. The rules we had come to love regarding our favourite blood suckers had been rewritten, or should I say canaballised and twisted to the extreme. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when writers put their own spin on things (who doesn’t love The Lost Boys?) but when supposedly concrete rules like sunlight killing vamps have been changed to simply making them sparkle, boundaries have definitely been crossed.

What’s worse is that countless copycat authors got involved in the whole ‘teen-angst-supernatural-cringarama’ movement. Gone is the horror and mystery we all loved, replaced with veiled 90210 drama.

My rant here does have a purpose though, not purely to annoy Stephenie Meyer fans! I love it when writers bring back the beasts and monsters we all love and cherish! And Sharon Van Orman’s ‘Lykaia’ is no exception.

From the first page we are pulled into the world and mythology of Lycanthropes (Werewolves to you and me), setting a very believable world and back story in which the tale unfolds.

The story centers around an American female pathologist named Sophia Katsaros, who receives a call telling her that both her brothers are missing in Greece, and then promply jets off to find them. Straight away we have a conflict of science versus supernatural as Sophia tries in vain to find logical reasons whilst she becomes embroiled in the myths and legends of werewolves and ancient rituals. Sophia indeed remains likable and relatable throughtout the tale as she struggles to seperate fact from fiction.

Whilst this is going on, another two story arcs from different points in history are revealed to us, twisting and wrapping around each other until the superb climatic finale.

I love the free and uncluttered style of writing that keeps the momentum moving at a perfect pace, leaving each chapter with a ‘what happens next!’ feeling. But what I really adore is the fact that Van Orman isn’t afraid to go back to the roots of the legends of these beasts and bring back the well-missed tension and horror, rather than conform to the saturated market we see daily, and tie it all into a well-written contemporary setting.

A great book, and going off the sub title ‘BOOK ONE IN THE SOPHIA KATSAROS SERIES’, I look forward to further novels being released. 🙂


Blurb from Amazon:

“We are the terrors that hunt the night. And we have never been human”

In Greek mythology there’s a story of King Lykaonas of Arcadia and his fifty sons who were cursed by the father of the gods, Zeus, to become wolves. The very first Lycanthropes. 

Forensic pathologist, Sophia Katsaros, receives a cryptic phone call from Greece telling her that her brothers are missing and leaves to search for them. With the help of Illyanna, her brother’s girlfriend, Sophia examines the evidence but cannot accept a bizarre possibility: Has one or both of her brothers been transformed during the Lykaia, the ceremony where Man is said to become Wolf?

Who is Marcus, a dark stranger that both repels and excites her? And what is the real story behind the 5000 year old curse of King Lykaonas?

Lykaia copy

You find more about Sharon Van Orman here.