Sunday, February 1, 2015

Review: Z Plan: Blood on the Sand (Book 1), an Red Tides (Book 2) By Mikhail Lerma

Z Plan series by Mikhail Lerma
Published by: Permuted Press
Genres: Adult, Horror, Zombies

Synopsis book 1 - Blood on the Sand
Cale was sent to Iraq with the usual thoughts any Soldier going to war might have; being lonely away from his family, not wanting to take another human’s life, and above all, the fear of never returning home. Although well trained, nothing could have prepared him for the horror he was about to face.

Cale never thought the thing that could keep him from ever seeing his wife and daughter again would be a zombie apocalypse. As he and a handful of fellow Soldiers escape their base after a massive zombie attack, becoming deserters in order to survive, he begins the long and unexpected journey home through the harsh terrain of the desert; a barren landscape now swarming with not only undead cannibals, but also the enemy he was originally sent to fight.

The newly formed group plans to travel west, find a boat and maybe, with a bit of luck, make it back to America. Cale is tested beyond his imagination and brought to the brink of insanity as he loses friends while fighting the flesh eating masses. He risks his life for weeks, focused on holding his wife and daughter in his arms again. It seems all hope is lost when he finds himself alone and adrift at sea … but is hope really lost?

Inspired by my experiences as a U.S. Army Soldier in Iraq, BLOOD ON THE SAND delves into the idea of not just surviving a zombie apocalypse but making the seemingly impossible trek home. It is the first book in the Z PLAN series.

Synopsis book 2 - Red Tides
After barely escaping the Middle East alive in Z PLAN:BLOOD ON THE SAND, Cale finds himself on a journey not many men could endure. When he deployed to Iraq he never could have known the world would soon be overrun by a deadly virus, turning the human race into a walking nightmare. His story picks up right where it left off in BLOOD ON THE SAND. After days of drifting alone in the open sea, he is sure the chance of rescue is hopeless. His thoughts nearly drive him mad until finally a voice crackles over the boat radio. Only his rescue isn’t quite what he imagined it would be. Cale will have to trust his instincts, and let his wits aid him as he continues his grueling mission to make it home. Follow Cale as he travels land and sea in book two of the Z PLAN series.

Z Plan: Blood on the Sand by Mikhail Lerma is a great example of the zombie-induced, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it survival and horror genre. Lerma, an Army veteran, uses his experiences in Iraq and knowledge of the writing craft to fashion an intriguing adventure that covers the physical and psychological horrors present in this horrific scenario. Z-Plan follows the journey of Cale and his buddy on their devastating discoveries of their new world and their desperate race back to the United States. This is a must read for horror/survival/action genre lovers.
The reader is quickly immersed in the protagonist’s world- the harsh desert environment with short periods of excitement followed by longer periods of boredom. He paints a vivid picture of a soldier’s life in Iraq which is then turned upside down as the unthinkable happens. Rumors of a devastating virus explode into a horrifying reality- zombies.
Lerma, in his debut novel, demonstrates his storytelling skills by producing a quality novel which he teamed with Permuted Press to present to readers. This novel is not for the squeamish, but it is not one of those gore-fests that is completely divorced from any kind of sensibility. It provides a reader with not only the visual visceral horror, but the psychological trauma of a zombie outbreak.
This novel is the first in a trilogy, but it provides a conclusion while hooking a reader. What are you waiting for?

Great novel if you are into war and zombies.

4 Stars

Red Tides, the second book in Mikhail Lerma’s Z Plan Series, picks up right where the first book left off.
We find our main character, Cale, being “rescued” (if you wanna call it that) by what’s left of the Egyptian Navy.  Cale is taken aboard their submarine rather than left for dead in the middle of the sea, and he soon becomes sort of “enlisted” with them….which basically means that he’s forced into making scavenger runs for them because his captors are too afraid to do it themselves.  Bound by chains to a fellow captor by the name of Naeem, the beginning of Red Tides follows these two in their troubles as they fight the dead on their forced scavenging trips and manage to escape at the last moment when things take a turn for the worst.
I found that Lerma’s decision to pair our main character with someone that spoke absolutely no English was very interesting.  Cale and his companion Naeem have no trouble communicating using everything but words.  In the apocalypse, survival is a universal language and Lerma does this well, never over-complicating the communication between the American and the African.
After the two part ways, Cale continues his journey, through France this time, on a quest to return to America and make it home to his wife, Lauren, and their daughter, Marie.  A huge part of Cale’s driving force is not only getting home to Lauren and Marie, but the constant reminder that his best friend Zach is dead, and Cale still blames himself for it.  It also doesn’t help Cale out that Zach has now become sort of a “ghost” and appears from time to time to keep Cale company or give him some sh*t.  Zach’s appearance is more of a manifestation from Cale’s ever increasing mental instability than a ghost, but I like to pretend that Cale isn’t crazy.
What Lerma does with the second book that I really enjoyed was switching perspectives between Cale and his wife.  We jump from time to time from Cale’s adventures across the world to Lauren’s experiences State Side.  Lauren has managed to survive, holding on, day by day and pushing forward; unwilling to let go of her husband and somewhere deep inside, she knows he’s coming back to her.  She’s with a whole “colony” and together they all work together to make it in the apocalypse.  There are dangers lurking for Lauren, and I’m not just talking about the undead.  Without giving away any important plot points, let’s just say I was extremely satisfied when those dangers were laid to rest…
All in all, Red Tides was a fantastic follow up to the first novel, which I absolutely loved!  I’m always nervous when I read follow up novels to books that I adored because they’ve really gotta prove themselves to me, but Lerma has done it again with Red Tides; a non-stop zombie adventure that any horror fan will enjoy.

Great flow that follow from the first book cant wait to see the next in the series

4 Stars

 Mikhail Lerma was raised in the small town of Holdrege Nebraska. In the third grade he wrote his first short story, in which the main character was a monkey. Not taking his career as a writer too seriously after that, he finished his high school years by joining the army when he was only 17.He spent 10 years in the army starting as a truck driver and eventually becoming a combat medic.

While deployed to Iraq in 2007 he spent missions in a turret as gunner. In his free time he began writing a story having nothing to do with monkeys. Only time will tell if this was a good career move. With encouragement from his friends and family he decided to start taking his writing seriously. Storytelling has become a passion of his, with a strong interest in horror and science fiction.He is currently going to school to become a paramedic, and finishing his first series for Permuted Press.

He lives in Iowa with his wife and three daughters. He does not have a pet, but if anyone would like to donate a male dog to level out the hormones in his house that would be much appreciated..

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