Have you ever stumbled across a book and been wowed by it – so much so that you want to get everyone you know to read the book? A few months ago, I saw Weep – The Irish Epidemic by Eoin Brady in a sponsored ad on Facebook. I always ignore these ads. Always! But for this one time… I think it was the picture of the girl on the Cliffs of Mohar that did it. Rejuvenation 1 goes on location to the Cliffs of Mohar too, and I’m just mesmerized by the place. This is the image that drew me in and I hope that Mr Brady doesn’t mind that I’ve used it – sourcing it from his Facebook author page profile. Once the Pandemic is over, perhaps I’ll get over to the cliffs myself and take my own photo!
Now, if you don’t love zombie books, please, please stick with me… keep an open mind… for this is no ordinary zombie story. This is an Irish zombie story – with Irish people, in Irish towns, in Irish weather, drinking Guinness and the zombies wail – like banshees – I mean totally Irish zombies. So please – keep reading – you might just give it a try… It is simply a great story, well told.
Anyway – I was completely pulled in, clicked the link, and was sold by the book blurb:
“There is no evacuation.
Survival will cost your humanity.
Expected death toll: a nation.
Yesterday Fin was a nightporter. Today he is a survivor.
Within days the outbreak devoured Ireland. It started with a fever hot enough to burn away the soul. What remained was violent, deranged and ravenous, no longer human: weepers. At first, they lured victims with anguished cries. Now, the sound causes terror. The sick must hunt.
Death offers no rest from the disease and the infected rise again to spread the plague as zombies.
Fearing pandemic, foreign warships quarantine Ireland, seeking containment at all cost. Chaos and panic engulf a world preparing for the end. While at home, a dwindling population flee ruined cities, forced into a frozen countryside of vacant graves.
Extinction has been stopped — for now.
In what could be the last days of recorded history, Fin must survive amongst the desperate and the dead to find his family — on the opposite side of Ireland, no matter the cost.
How much of yourself would you give to save the ones you love?”
I love the way Kindle lets you read the first few pages for free. Many books don’t make it past this selection – many books – often books by famous authors with big publishers. If I’m ‘Meh!’ by the end of the free section, I simply don’t buy them.
Eoin Brady, from what I could make out on the Amazon page, was an independent author. This dude was going it alone. I wondered if he would have the quality in his product to keep me reading – formatting, spelling, grammar etc., to begin with…
The answer was a resounding YES and then some.
This guy can write! He writes great characters who feel real in situations that are believable on the page, no matter how preposterous.
Weep is no Walking Dead – It’s better!
Fin, the main character is like the kinda boy you knew when you were in your early twenties – ordinary, sweet, liked a pint and scared of the usual stuff – housecleaning, missing last orders, angry girlfriends – not some gun-toting, arse-kicking super-zombie-killer. (Unless you had really strange friends in your early twenties!)
By the time I got to the end of the free read, I was happy to pay for the rest of the book (and let’s face it because we weren’t paying Big 5 Publishers, it was very affordable!)
It’s set in Westport – a seaside town on the West coast of Ireland that I have visited on a number of occasions, so I had a vague idea of the landscape, but not so much as to pick holes in any inaccuracies (if there were any.) The story begins during a named storm between Christmas and New Years. Brady had the setup bang on. I’ve been in Donegal during similar situations. (Minus the zombies – well, I think, minus the zombies, but well, there had been a lot of alcohol consumed, so it depends how you define zombies!)
The story was immersive. Brady has the knack of describing the horror of the situation without an overload of gore. In fact, the most horrific part is Fin’s reaction to the position that he finds himself in and how he continually questions his own humanity as he is forced to make tough decisions to survive.
At the end, I was happy to write a glowing review and post it on Amazon and follow the Facebook page too. I’ve never met the author. We aren’t writing buddies. The only interaction we’ve had is when I was fangirling him on his Facebook page, and he answered my comment! I was thrilled.
Here’s my Amazon review:
“I discovered this book through a FB ad. I usually ignore those but I was intrigued by the concept of the zombies going through a weeping stage. It was a new twist on the zombie theme and it also made me think of the ‘keeners’ who used to cry at Irish wakes. The setting is superb. I’d camped with Girl Guides more years ago than I care to admit to, right in front of Westport House so I knew the lay of the land well enough to feel like I was right in the action. Brady does an excellent job of building believable characters. Fin, the main character, is so realistic in a way that is often overlooked by these types of stories. He’s young, sweetly naive, and not at the peak of fitness. I enjoyed that he wasn’t a gun-toting action hero type. His humanity is a great juxtaposition to the horror that the humans around him turn into.
Brady not only brings the dead to life, he also skillfully brings the Irish landscape to life too. I felt the cold, heard the wind, saw the fog – he makes the weather into another character – another antagonist against which Fin and his friends need to battle.
I also have to mention the low key hum of ironic humour that Brady threads throughout, where he employs everyday objects in a macabre way – I’ll never look at Swan pedal boats the same way again.
All in all a great read that kept me sneaking off to a quiet corner to find out what was happening next.”
All told, I am delighted to see such a well written self-published book on the market and proud it is by an Irish author. He’s done a fantastic job of marketing too.
And guess what – there’s a free follow up novella, A Ring of Oak and Apple
It is brilliant! It continues Fin’s story but doesn’t give away any spoilers, so it’s safe to read this before Weep. In this story, Fin meets other survivors, and in a clever round-the-campfire style, we get to see a few of the other’s accounts of the outbreak. Again the heart of this is how ordinary, how relatable, and how real the characters and their stories are.
It’s free – I say give it a go, sure you’ve nothing to lose. And with the light at the end of the tunnel for our own pandemic, perhaps you’ll have the nerve to read about Fin’s epidemic and be grateful we didn’t get worse!
And if you don’t fancy that – have a look – Brady also writes romance. Not my usual genre, but I suppose I must follow my own advice, keep an open mind and give it a go.