Book Jacket

 

rank 357
word count 18859
date submitted 25.10.2011
date updated 30.01.2014
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Horror
classification: universal
incomplete

Take A Breather

Splinker

Sometimes a zombie apocalypse is the least of your problems.

 

Comfort, Colorado is a sleepy little village nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, just beyond the Eisenhower tunnels. Surrounded by a forest of gold and orange, it’s a picture-perfect paradise on sunny, autumn days like today. Right now, the meteorite destined to slam into poor George Potts’ head and begin the zombie apocalypse is still weeks away, Fred and Timmy are happy and breathing back in Jersey, and the Turnpike … well, the Turnpike is still shit.

The prequel to "I've Been Deader," "Take A Breather" brings us back to a simpler time. A time before zombies, crazed children and civil servants. Okay, so some horrors never go away. Find out how the residents of Comfort, Colorado got along when the only things they had to worry about were each other.

But don't despair, like the Division of Motor Vehicles, the story still has plenty of zombies. So stock up on canned goods, lock the cellar door and come along for a ride to see how it all started.

 
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JGalt wrote 737 days ago

Very entertaining, if not a little sloppy in parts. The typos and punctuation errors became distracting at times. Fun read though.

Robert Wingfield wrote 19 days ago

Nice writing, well polished but I'm afraid it didn't grab me in the first few paragraphs. You have to start with fireball in this sort of novel and then once you have the reader hooked, you can do flashbacks etc. I'd start with the murder and then backtrack to show how it all came together, but then that's just me. Keep up the good work though (still deserves 4 stars).

nenno wrote 161 days ago

Saw the heartbroken thread and decided to have a gander... Great bait, btw. Probably one of the most polished stories on this site, so would give it 6 stars for that, then take away three because you made me throw up, sigh. If you had a woman, as you declare in your heartbroken thread, I am sure she is putting a continent between the two of you. You make King look like a newbie.
Well done, i think.
The Tomorrow Thief.

Lighter wrote 39 minutes ago

FCCG2 REVIEW TAKE A BREATHER

1: Did the story have a strong hook? Yes. the sound of the sirens is a good announcement there is danger in the neighborhood. The pounding on the door re-enforces this.

2: Was the writing quality comparable with published writing? Yes, I think people who like zombie books (me) will enjoy this a lot.

3: Were the characters compelling? It's refreshing to see a book begin with a senior citizen type of character. I think you tell us he's old a few too many times , tho. Maybe cut back on so many references to that.

4: Was there sufficient tension and conflict in the opening scene? Yes. Between wondering what's happening outside and having to pee, there's a lot of tension.

5: What were the strengths of the first chapter? I like the way it takes George so long to get to the door. Provides tension all the while he's slowly shuffling that way.

6: What was the weaknesses of the first chapter? As above, I could have used a few less references to how old George is. (a little overkill)?

Overall, a good first chapter, especially with the lead-in to the prologue at the end or an announcement that wasn't really the beginning. Clever writing.


Zoe Morgan wrote 5 days ago

Hi, Splinker :-)

This is a review for FCCG2

Short pitch - How could I could a Zombie apocalypse be the least of my troubles? How the hell can I not read this book after this?

Chapter 1

I already feel at ease with your narrative one sentence in....it had been three wars and six elections since he'd slept through the night without peeing"

You set the scene confidently, the darkness, the blurred red and blue lights washed over the windows and the way your narrative matches George's carefree and sarcastic voice.

Then the very closing sentence jolted me. You cheeky git! I expected the hall to be full of blood soaked Zombies, or possibly the little girl, not our current min character. Well played sir, well played.

So, as a first chapter you've nailed it. Black comedy, a quirky narrative, excellent pacing and a good hook. No typos and nothing to trip over. I want more so it's on the watch list.

I've loaded it up with stars and wish you the very best.

Zoe x

PhilippaS wrote 15 days ago

Okay - I am HOOKED. Haven't even "opened the book" but I'm sitting here laughing at the end of the long pitch, so that must be good. Congratulations for being shortlisted on the First Lines competition - you certainly deserve it with pitches like these.

Robert Wingfield wrote 19 days ago

Nice writing, well polished but I'm afraid it didn't grab me in the first few paragraphs. You have to start with fireball in this sort of novel and then once you have the reader hooked, you can do flashbacks etc. I'd start with the murder and then backtrack to show how it all came together, but then that's just me. Keep up the good work though (still deserves 4 stars).

vee8 wrote 151 days ago

For your cheek!
Chap.2. Great opening. A jolly Santa sort of character, who then talks like a total asshole. Nice switch, and raised my first chuckle.
A whole bunch of miles away. Detached and glib description. Good way of showing the actual distance is irrelevant. Don't tie the reader down with minor inconcequenses like distance!
The political DNA pool, great lines again!
So far I'm loving the irreverent style of humour, and piss-taking of politics. The Whitehouse had it coming!
Chap.2. Minor typo. 'Before she could raise her hand to ring the bell 'and' a reedy... the 'and' is out of place.
Dark ending to the chapter. Bit of the old 'Psycho' there.
Chap.4. One word. Disturbing! This town already has enough problems, and you want to hit them with a plague of zombies? That's cruel!
Well, this is a first for me, a zombie book. Not much for horror and gore, so I elected to stop when the blood started flowing, but the humour is, for me, though dark, still a strong point. Style is very good and pace is cracking. Character development, well, so far half of them are already dead! This will be a terrific read for those who are so disposed towards this genre, I can see this doing very well on the bookshelves, given the current topicallity of all things un-dead!

nenno wrote 161 days ago

Saw the heartbroken thread and decided to have a gander... Great bait, btw. Probably one of the most polished stories on this site, so would give it 6 stars for that, then take away three because you made me throw up, sigh. If you had a woman, as you declare in your heartbroken thread, I am sure she is putting a continent between the two of you. You make King look like a newbie.
Well done, i think.
The Tomorrow Thief.

Tracie Podger wrote 311 days ago

Saw this on a thread and decided to take a look. Chaper one had me thinking, OK, another zombie book, chapter two threw me. And continued to throw me until chapter 15! There is a great mix of seriousness and humour and your story is so well written and addictive it kept me turning page after page. I have only stopped because I have to be somewhere but will read more later.

I noticed a couple of things, chapter 8 & 9 are the same
every instead of ever in chapter 11
not instead of no in chapter 11
is instead of in in chapter 14

Be back for more. :)

Tornbridge wrote 522 days ago

I was just about to log out when I spotted this. Can I say that normally given the choice between reading horror and gluing my forehead to a tramp’s backside, I would probably be under a railway bridge right now attached to an irate hobo. I’m so glad I had no glue because I stumbled onto this read and laughed so much a little bit of wee came out.
Really funny, really well written. It has razor wit and bundles of contempt and sarcasm.
It’s on my watchlist and highly rated.

Tornbridge

The Washington Adventure

tarasimone wrote 544 days ago

This was a fascinating read. I found some parts of it made me positively squeamish. Your bad characters are bad indeed.

The point at which you stopped uploading the MS is brilliant, and I can't imagine what is going to happen next. A great unseen twist.

I'm sorry that my review is not in more detail, I've been sick since reading the story and didn't take notes.

If the prologue is anything to go by the rest of this book is going to be a fun read.

Ch1
I'm guessing the misspelling of Crichton is on purpose?

Ch2
both covered with the tarps which
both covered with tarps which

***
Outside the car, she paused to enjoy the crisp autumn air and apply her professional smile for her unseen audience. She gave the house the once over, finding it to be more or less what she expected. Eight years as a "clean up therapist" taught her to recognize the familiar signs -- two storage sheds, unkempt lawn, cars in the driveway instead of garage, all the window shades drawn down; nothing unusual there. Several creepy garden gnomes flanked a small stone walkway leading away from the front porch. Over-cheery bearded little trouble makers, used by some of the “shanty Irish” and first generation Italians to scare off fairies and brownies. There must have been more than twenty of the things.

That’s something new.
I'm fairly sure the new thingies the gnomes. But it wasn't clear to me.
***

It’s doctor Smalls
Doctor (though earlier you used Dr.)

The first thing she noticed newspapers
was newspapers

They filled almost the front room. Beyond were magazine and books,
They filled most of the front room/ They almost filled the front room. Beyond were magazines and books,

cheeks and stared at his feet
cheeks and he stared at his feet

(she’d have bet her last dollar he didn’t own a dog),
This felt a little harsh/judgmental... Not in character for her...

Any attempt to cook anything
Any attempt to cook something

why your son was concerned.”
why your son is concerned.”

JGalt wrote 737 days ago

Very entertaining, if not a little sloppy in parts. The typos and punctuation errors became distracting at times. Fun read though.

AudreyB wrote 738 days ago

Yo, Splink!

What an engaging yet utterly terrifying first coupla chapters. I did not see the good doctor's fate coming. I like how you spell out the exact nature of what's about to happen so effectively in the first chapter, which was really Chapter 3. And I loved the interaction between Dr. and Client in chapter 4. I particularly enjoyed the client's hesitance...made the ending so much more satisfactory.

Congratuations on your well earned victory!!

~AudreyB
Forgiveness Fits

Mindy Haig wrote 751 days ago

Hi Splinker,
Hey I took a look at your book today, and well, I was not a big fan of the President, but once I got past that, I breezed through 12 chapters before I even knew it! There are a few typos, but nothing really glaring. The book is exciting and keeps pace well. I look forward t finishing it!
Thanks!
Mindy
The Wishing Place

Tori Cross wrote 756 days ago

Congratulations on nearly winning March Madness. This is a fun and clever book. I'm just a reader, so I'm no good at helping with critiques.

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 758 days ago

Dear Splinker

So, okay this is not my usual kind of read, but I saw that Sue had backed it, so I thought, "Take a look". And I had done, ages ago. Took another look. Revelation. The first part was so funny, I was grinning and sniggering. Comedy - yay! I could do with that. The next couple of chapters, though. are just horrific, though, they make me feel ill.

The thing is, I had underestimated this read. It is funny, and punchy and so atmospheric...gives me goose bumps. I didn't leave a comment last time, but this time I want to say that I admire your style. It is very vivid and involving. Just a pity about the subject matter, is all.

I have put your rating up because this is so original and colourful.

All the best

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped" :-)

Cara Gold wrote 759 days ago

The pitch caught my eye… and so far this has been a very enjoyable read! The storyline is catchy, the writing polished, and the reader is easily drawn in!

I particularly like your writing style with the modern flair - the Twitter sequence and murder particular stood out for me!

You have a lot going on and I’m excited to see how everything is going to come together.

All the best with this :)

Cara
The Awakening: Dawn of Destruction

ClaireLyman wrote 759 days ago

Not a fan of zombies so I've been avoiding this, but what someone should have told me was that you can really write! Love your voice. "just enough fat to make him look honest" - brilliant little touch! And it's the Tea Party incharge, with a shallow but not empty DNA pool! I might have to back this regardless of who wins March Madness!

Winston Chad Emerson wrote 760 days ago

Like a zombie version of Dr. Strangelove. Hilarious, fast-paced, engaging. I love it and would definitely buy this based on reading a page or two in a bookstore. Great stuff.

See the March Madness thread shortly for results.

Verse_Artiste wrote 760 days ago

Hi Adam,
Sorry it's taken so long to get round to reading the latest additions to this. It continues to develop as a tense and thrilling story, with the plot becoming more complex. You are still leaving the reader hanging in suspense at the end of each chapter. Still delivering exactly what this reader wants from your story and still slipping the odd typo in for good measure. I think I've said it before, but your writing has matured in a lot of ways since IBD - and I believe this should do well too. (If not even better.) Keep me posted on later developments. You have a permanent place on my shelf anyway as you always pay your rent upfront.

Lilian

Brian Bandell wrote 762 days ago

There's a lot going on here and all of it is gory entertainment. I found the Twitter murder particularly good, although you have to explain how the killer was able to mask his identity while using Twitter. It has to be tied to an email account, I believe, and then relayed through a cell phone tower. So there are two ways to track it. How could he have an email that can't be traced? How would he send a signal on his cell phone without them tracing it? It's possible that he used a stolen cell phone, though.

Another quality specimen of writing. Well done and backed.

Brian Bandell
Mute

Anton Cross wrote 765 days ago

Easily the best, funniest book since I've Been Deader!

marfleet wrote 770 days ago

Take A Breather
http://www.authonomy.com/books/38376/take-a-breather/


Love the pace and humour in the beginning, then it gets pretty creepy and quite believable (unfortunately for today’s world where I hope it doesn’t give anyone ideas)
Although the writing is great my concern is that it doesn’t all tie in quickly enough. This may e because I haven’t read the other book but I felt even at Chap 10 that I was waiting to see what relevance the President bit and the hoarder had to the tweeter. Maybe getting a link in earlier would help.
Comment made at C5:Great spooky twist at the end of C4 , C5 very creepy but I tended to wonder about the relevance and hoped C3, C 4 and C5 link in soon.

Aside from that small thing the book is excellent. The dialogue smooth and believable and great character development - it is certainly a gripping story. High stars.

Some editing/typos

Chap 3
- …calming breath.” || the (“) is an error
- “wake up in Michael Crichton novel” - love it!
- ...that Dobbs. ||…than Dobbs.

Chap 4
- “He was most likely looking at her from somewhere inside the house.” || this exact sentence is duplicated in paragraphs one and two so you may want to re word/cut one of them.
- …out of dime light… || …the dim light…
- …alphabetically , by title… || …alphabetically, by title… (extra space)
Chap 5
- And not even he couldn’t tease them out || ...he could..
-
Chap 8
- “Let’s home so, smart aleck.” || … hope so…



Andrew
A Fatal Misuse of time
Short pitch: Ever tried waking up yesterday instead of tomorrow? That is just the beginning of Tristan's troubles as his life is hijacked to reveal the future.
(Not a time travel novel really, more a mystery/philosophy comedy :-)

Eric Laing wrote 774 days ago

Good stuff.

A positive...liked the descriptions regarding the war room and the line from the POTUS about waking up in a Crichton novel.

A nit...the "in his merry fucking eyes" felt like too much authorial intrusion.

All the best with this. I believe it will do well here.

Janet T wrote 782 days ago

After reading "I've Been Deader," i thought i would never read again. Now this masterpiece falls into my laptop. I just want to say thank you for this wonderful gift, Mr. splinker. Whoever we are.

Greenleaf wrote 791 days ago

Wow, Splinker. This is scary, creepy, and totally entertaining. I didn't get a chance to read I've Been Deader, but I read all the chapters you have posted for Take A Breather. I love your writing style. Can't wait for the rest of the story.

It's on my watchlist right now, but I'll try to back it very soon.

Susan/Greenleaf (Chameleon)

DaisyFitz wrote 797 days ago

Um, I got a little carried away reading, despite the fact I was in the house alone, it's dark outside... and those serial killer scenes are very creepy. I was hoping to have the presidents dilemma to feature a bit more, but what the hell, the Seeker bits were ace.

Happily shelved. ;)

Cx

Stellajr wrote 805 days ago

I was suffering from insomnia last night and decided to read a bedtime story to help. Not a wise choice reading "Take a Breather" when I was trying to lull myself off to sleep. I was awake until 3:00 a.m. - just so I could finish all of it. Pretty scary stuff; you even mention the Jersey Turnpike. It doesn't get much scarier than that!

I agree with the Stephen King comparison. And like SK, you kept me reading long past when I'd left my comfort zone.

Did you intend to say "Purple Harem" instead of "Procol Harum" in Chapter 5? I wasn't sure if you were being clever - or were a victim of autocorrect. I found a few typos scattered throughout - I didn't take time to write them down. It was dark, and I was reading on my phone. Which, BTW, was the perfect way to read this for maximum affect.

Best of luck with this-
Stella

DaisyFitz wrote 805 days ago

I jumped in at Ch6 - Daisy. For obv reasons. I like. I still think the italics are unness. The narrative is so his that the internal thoughs sit utterly naturally with it.

Am off to do Ch1... or 2, wherever it starts.

Laters.

str8 wrote 856 days ago

Splinker-
You posted about reading one of your books on the forums, so here I am, reading your book. All in all, I like it very much. The idea of a zombie apocalypse obviously isn't new itself, but the concepts surrounding it and the way you bring it in to play are ingenious. Very well done. The only thing I would change is the cursing. It just seems to be forced, and sort of detracts from the book. Other than that, very well done.
-Nissim

LuvsikPuppy wrote 868 days ago

OK - you know I'm a fan of your writing, but reading this again today, it occurred to me that I haven't properly commented on Authonomy before - so here goes:

As time goes by your writing and storytelling skills have become stronger. This is building beautifully and is exactly the sort of story I've been hooked on for years. I love the way there are so many 'little' stories making up the whole. It kind of reminds me of the way Stephen King structured some of his, notably 'Under the Dome' and my all-time favourite 'The Stand', but your writing has something else about it that I can't quite pinpoint which makes it uniquely yours. Your characters spring to life from the page through their actions, thoughts and dialogue.

At this point, I am left wanting to know not only what happens next, but also worrying about characters I'm getting to know and what will become of them. (Of course, having read IBD, I already know how some of them end up!)

I know that you made great headway with this during NaNoWriMo, so I hope you can keep up the impetus now that it's over. I'm sure that many others will be dying to see this as a published work. It's on my shelf for as long as it takes.

"Eve"

Stephanie King wrote 872 days ago

This is brilliant. I've read it all and await the rest of it with bated breath, Can't stay breathless for too long - the brain cells start to die off so please hurry up and post more, or take full responsibility for a young woman's demise into helpless insanity.

K.T.Bowman wrote 876 days ago

This is a lot of fun :) I know it's a prequel and maybe I should have read the original first, but I liked it regardless.

Your style is interesting - at first it feels like several short stories that are unconnected. Instead of detracting from it though, it made me want to read on and see how they all end up relating to the central story. You've also got a good mix of horror and comedy. The scenes with the tweeting murderer were fascinating, grisly but impossible to look away from, and I really liked the internal thoughts of the man who lures his girlfriend into thinking he's got a hidden secret in the basement.

The only part I found implausible (in a story with talking dead people, possible zombie infections and men who hoard bodies....) was that the police couldn't trace someone tweeting a murder. It's not like I've ever tried to get away with something like that myself though - maybe it's easier than it sounds to cover your tracks!

I hope you're writing more of this, because I'll definitely be looking out for new chapters :)

KT

Danile Night wrote 880 days ago

I like the way the story runs. The way it jumps from person to person is both a nice change of pace, creative, and unique. This is something that is going to make it to the top just like "I've Been Deader" did.

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 891 days ago

Your writing is good. It feels convincing, relaxed and real. I like the first "short" though even I could tell that the basement would hold something a bit out of the ordinary. Your descriptive passages are rewarding. I can feel myself there.

Having read on I want to run away as fast as I can from your macabre scenes. I just don't have the stomach for them. I feel your talents are being wasted here. Why not write something we could enjoy? D'you enjoy writing this? I know what it is to have a wicked sense of humour....

All the best,

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped"

Zombie Sock Puppet wrote 894 days ago

This is very good. But were are the zombies?

Fred Le Grand wrote 894 days ago

Very well-written gory stuf this.
Reminds me a bit of 'Swimsuit' which has similar fright inducing characteristics.
The pace is good and the character portrayal is excellent.
Backed.

Sharahzade wrote 896 days ago

TAKE A BREATHER
Splinker

OMG! This is more than a cliff hanger. I am already plunging down the ravine. That last bit in Chapter Two was pure horror. I felt as confused as Lisa not knowing who is actually there and talking to her. I am not sure I can read on, yet I want to. What an excercise in suspense. Well done.

Colorado is my home and I live here now. The beginning was authentic to the locale.

I think I will back this because you pulled my chain real good, Splinker.

Mary Enck
A King in Time

LivingChallenged wrote 896 days ago

I lived in Colorado for a bit of my life. I have been through the Eisenhower tunnel many times. :-)

"Comfort, Colorado was a picture perfect, a paradise on" A picture perfect what?

Too many doors too close together. Maybe a few entrances are needed. She smiled at the wood barrier maybe. A pile of unread newspapers waiting at the entrance maybe.

Wichita instead of Wichata, unless you meant for him to be mispronouncing it

I remember this from FFF, so I will skim and go onto the next chapter. :-)

Lisa Scullard wrote 896 days ago

Awesome :)

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