EDEN RESURRECTION by Tony Monchinski

Permuted Press
Publication date: July 12, 2011

I love zombies. I love zombie movies. I love zombie books. I have zombie tattoos. And I love Tony Monchinski’s zombie novels. Over the last few years, with the resurgence of zombies in mainstream entertainment, there has been an explosion in the number of zombie novels. Some are good, while most suck.

Tony Monchinski most definitely does not suck. His Eden series has been released through Permuted Press. Permuted has been at the forefront of zombie/apocalyptic novel epidemic. Yes, it’s an epidemic. Part of the reason I love zombie novels is that you take a basic idea and run with it in whatever direction you please with no regard for anything in your path. I fucking love that.

Tony is an interesting guy. He writes a column and does photography for Musclemag International as well as being a bodybuilder himself. A Special Education and Social Studies teacher, he has also written a few books on education. Throw in a bone sleeve tattoo and a PhD in political science, and you’ve got yourself a cool individual.

Originally, the series was meant to be a trilogy but during the writing of the current book Monchinski realized it needed to become a quartet to do the story justice. I’m very pleased he went that route.

The first book, Eden, takes place in a walled compound in Queens, New York in the months after the shit has hit the fan. The story travels back and forth in time between the first days of the zombie apocalypse and the present, explaining how the current group of survivors inhabiting the compound got to be there. I loved it. It has this rock and roll/horror/Sam Peckinpah/action movie vibe to it that I clung to. You could feel the claustrophobia and grit that covered the characters themselves. I caught little details that he added to the story that made me go, “Right on.”

The second book, Eden: Crusade, opens with a prologue taking place in the future that will kick your ass before going back in time and picking up immediately following the events at the close of the first book. It follows the remaining survivors on the road through the wasteland looking for a place to rest and be safe. This book has a more focused vibe to its writing: the story is tighter and has a level of detail to it that again makes me go, “Right on.”

That brings us to the third and newest book in the series, Eden Resurrection. I have to admit that upon picking up the book I had certain expectations for what I was getting into. You know when you listen to certain bands and you come to expect a certain sound from them? Well, Monchinski pulled a fast one on me. He took my expectations and set fire to them – and I couldn’t be happier.

Resurrection goes into an entirely new realm of survival and apocalyptic fiction that I am thrilled by. The story takes place 25 years after the zombie apocalypse. The world has changed. When you read Monchinski’s descriptions of what civilized society has evolved to…you will have quite a bit of food for thought. In this world, civilized society lives in walled compounds. Everybody else lives out in the wasteland. The hills have eyes out there…and teeth, and hands.

The story follows a group from the polite, walled-off society as they go out into that Hell in search of Bear, a righteous fucking badass and leader of the mythical army that led the fight to take America back from the dead. As they search, they are also seeking answers for recent events in their community. The book reads like a cross between Apocalypse Now and Deliverance, with elements of a John Ford Western thrown in. The story is thick with tension and towards the end you can smell the fear and sweat of the few characters still breathing.

In the new book, you can clearly see Monchinski maturing as a writer. I personally want this man to keep writing. I want to see where he can take me. I’ll read anything he puts out, and there aren’t many I can say that about. I would love to see what he could do in a genre like crime or western. That would be cool.

Dave Wahlman