Go ahead, try and hack into Gameland. I dare you.

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Into zombies?  Got a few good hours to spare?  Then please check out the Gameland series by S.W. Tanpepper.  I just finished episode one of this crazy intense series, and I think I might still be shaking…

This book is outside my normal genre of preferred reading, but I was hooked in regardless.  I mean, how could I not be fascinated by this idea of a futuristic America, torn apart by an outbreak that turned people into zombies?  Of a New York City where Long Island is quarantined off because it’s inhabited by these haunting monsters?  All the while a group of teenage hackers decide to foolishly break in and explore, apparently too young to realize just how dangerous a conquest they’ve undertaken.  Pretty damn cool, I must say.  And I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the next one!

Here’s a description of the first episode in the series, Deep Into the Game:

Jessie and her gang of game jackers discover a way to break into Gameland, but it requires the assistance of outsider Jake Espinosa. His inclusion raises tensions within the group, particularly between Jessie and her boyfriend, Kelly. After a nearly-fatal accident during preparation, emotions run dangerously high, but it only makes them all the more determined to succeed. What they don’t know is that one of them has a secret reason for going, and it doesn’t involve any of them returning any time soon.

And here is my FIVE star review:

I think I still have chills!  Saul Tanpepper’s Gameland:  Deep Into the Game is one wild, intense ride.  I have never read a book about zombies before, and so I jumped into this one with only movie zombies in my mind.  Let me tell you, my opinion about zombies is forever changed!  The way Saul described the monsters is so haunting, I was pretty much shivering with fear just reading about how they walked, shuddered, rasped…their gaping dark eyes and the way the old ones’ heads exploded like bags of flour when hit with a bullet!  Wow!  I still can’t get over that, it was insane.  And my favorite chilling scene where there’s a lone zombie standing still as a statue in the distance, so far away that the characters can see the heat waves coming off the concrete, was very well written.  I was pretty much laughing at how freaked out that made me.  The images he described will be with me (in my nightmares, probably!) for a very long time, which is the mark of a great writer.

Overall, this book is very, very good.  Saul’s writing style is impeccable, and the characters he has created are fun and unique, believable as late teenagers.  The book is written from the POV of Jessie, a teenage girl, and Saul does a good job of using her as the catalyst for how we get to view the other characters and the dystopian New York City he’s envisioned.  It’s very easy to slip into Jessie’s shoes and walk around in them, exploring a future we had all better hope never happens, where government control is absolute and we are nothing more than slaves, taught from an early age to accept our fate.

The series’ premise is based in what I think is roughly thirty years in the future, but I could be a little off.  The country is broken apart, and an outbreak of zombies years before has now caused the government to quarantine off Long Island and other areas, keeping the zombies contained.  Zombies are also used by the government and by private corporations, as a mix of janitors, soldiers (there are no more wars fought by the living!) and the scariest and unfortunately most believable use, as Players.  The Players are used to compete in Gameland, which is a competition where Gamers control the zombie Players in some sick, twisted game.

If you are looking for an exciting read and you are fascinated by the Zombie Apocalypse, then please check out the Gameland series.  I very much look forward to Saul’s prequel, Golgotha, as well as the next installments in this eight part series!

If you want to learn more about Saul’s books, check out his website.
You can purchase Gameland: Deep Into the Game HERE.

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” – Apocalypse Now

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