Series: Zombie Uprising #1
Published by William Burke on June 17, 2016
Genres: horror, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Buy on Amazon
The forces of darkness are out to destroy mankind… Too bad they never reckoned on facing Maggie Child!
Army chopper pilot Maggie Child has a reputation for being fearless, professional and, above all, rational. But when she's shot down over Iraq her well-ordered life spirals into a paranormal nightmare. Alone, wounded and surrounded by hostile forces, Maggie is rescued from certain death by a demon straight out of Dante's Inferno. Then, barely alive, she's abducted by a private military corporation conducting insidious medical experiments. Her escape from their covert hellhole lands her on a Caribbean island where an evil voodoo spirit and a psychotic female dictator are conspiring to unleash an apocalyptic zombie plague. Then she uncovers the most terrifying secret of all—her own destiny. It seems a Voodoo oracle has ordained her the only warrior capable of saving humanity from a supernatural Armageddon … whether she wants the job or not!
But saving the world isn't a one-woman job, so she teams up with a trio of unlikely heroes—a conspiracy obsessed marijuana smuggler, a Voodoo priestess with an appetite for reality television, and a burnt out ex-mercenary. Together, they'll take on an army of the walking dead, with the fate of humanity resting in their eccentric hands.
Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising is the first novel in a new horror series packed with supernatural thrills, rousing adventure, dark humor, Voodoo lore and plenty of zombie stomping action. But a word of warning; don't shoot these zombies in the head … because that just makes them mad!
It's the legions of hell versus Maggie Child … and hell doesn't have a prayer!
Zombie Uprising #1
FIVE FUN VOODOO CHILD FACTOIDS
My name is William Burke, the author of VOODOO CHILD, BOOK ONE: ZOMBIE UPRISING. For this guest blog I wanted to share the ways 1970’s PULP NOVELS, SUICIDE SQUAD, SKINEMAX TELEVISION and MARIJUANA SMUGGLING all came together to help shape VOODOO CHILD.
IT BEGAN LIFE AS A VERY RAUNCHY TELEVISION SERIES. The novel Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising started out as a television proposal for CINEMAX… or as its unofficially known SKINEMAX; that legendary broadcaster of late night erotic frolics. Over the years I’d produced three of Cinemax’s steamy After Dark television series – Sin City Diaries, Forbidden Science and Lingerie; that’s probably why I’m rarely invited into nice, respectable homes. After Lingerie’s cancellation I developed a new series for them entitled FULL MOON BAY, but sadly Cinemax rejected it. In my defense this rejection coincided with Cinemax suspending production on all their late night crotch operas… so I don’t feel too crushed. After the rejection I stuck the pilot script in a drawer I’d christened the “Land of the Misfit Projects” But Full Moon Bay kept whispering to me in the night, so I decided to adapt it into a novel. In the process I altered about eighty-five percent of the concept, until it bore almost no resemblance to the ever so naughty original. Now all that gratuitous sex and nudity is gone and I’m much happier with its new form. Maybe some day I’ll post the old pilot script on my website http://www.williamburkeauthor.com/ in all it’s hot smoking glory!
IT IGNORES ALMOST ALL THE POPULAR ZOMBIE LORE. In writing Voodoo Child I intentionally discarded almost all the current zombie fiction tropes and took the living dead back to their original supernatural Voodoo roots. This approach might mark me as a heretic in some people’s eyes, but I was more influenced by Lucio Fulci’s classic Voodoo gore fest Zombie (sometimes known as Zombie 2) than George Romero’s living dead movies or The Walking Dead. I even threw away the genre’s ultimate sacred cow- the shoot-em-in-the-head method of re-killing zombies. In Voodoo Child a bullet to the head just makes zombies mad. This change of perspective allowed me to experiment with different, and (I hope) innovative ways of dealing with zombies. One of my favorite moments is when a decapitated zombie picks up its discarded head and uses it as a club to bludgeon one of our heroes. So far reviewers have enjoyed the change of pace.
THERE IS A REAL RIP FLOWERS. One of the more eccentric characters in Voodoo Child is Rip Flowers, a blackballed army pilot turned Caribbean Marijuana smuggler. A real life ex-pot smuggler and friend of mine named Brian O’Dea inspired the character. Back in 2007 I created a paranormal television series entitled Creepy, which is now running in the USA on Destination America as Hauntings and Horrors. At that time Brian was in the process of reinventing himself- this time in the role of television producer and took the reins on the show. While working together I became privy to all his past exploits, including his bad luck with aircraft. Though he was never a licensed pilot Brian still managed to crash a pot-laden four engine DC-6 off the coast of Columbia, and then barely escaped being eaten by sharks while swimming to shore. He’s a colorful guy and you can read about all his outlaw adventures in his autobiography High: Confessions of a Pot Smuggler.
IT’S STYLED AFTER A SEVENTIES PULP PAPERBACK. I’m a shameless fan of pulp action novels, my personal favorite being Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir’s Destroyer book series. THE DESTROYER was an action adventure series that mercilessly satirized its own genre. I could spend pages extolling the virtues of these inventive books… but that’s for another day. I was always impressed by the author’s knack for blending action with satirical humor and I wanted to recapture that spirit in the horror genre. I’d always felt that science fiction and action seemed to go together very nicely- The Terminator being a perfect example. But very few writers had melded supernatural horror with action adventure and humor, so I thought I’d give it a shot. As a result Voodoo Child’s sarcastic heroine Maggie Child not only has to contend with zombies, but must also survive renegade mercenaries and military coups. So in it’s own way Voodoo Child is indebted to Remo Williams and The Glorious House of Sinanju– that’s an inside joke for any Destroyer fans out there.
I WROTE THE BULK OF VOODOO CHILD IN MY CAR. It’s not the most glamorous writing place, but it works in a pinch. After producing the Cinemax series Lingerie I paid my bills by working in the locations department of big budget feature films like SUICIDE SQUAD and television shows such as The Strain. These jobs usually involved intensive setup, followed by endless hours of standing by. Rather than sit idly I broke out my laptop and wrote until my eyes hurt. Seeing that I was making genuine progress I volunteered for the dreaded “graveyard shift,” on Suicide Squad, allowing myself even more time to write at work. After three months I completed the first draft of Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising– all written between midnight and six in the morning while jammed into the passenger seat of my Honda. I must confess that most of the rewrites and fine adjustments were done at home in a nice, normal office chair. To maintain authenticity this blog is being written in that very same car seat!
Those are just a few of the strange things that inspired my book VOODOO CHILD, BOOK ONE: ZOMBIE UPRISING, now available on Amazon.
ISLE DE FANTOMAS
Isle De Fantomas was a nation born in blood and forged in suffering. Its citizens were the descendents of slaves who, after generations in bondage, had broken their chains. These slaves, who had never known mercy, showed none to their masters. On the first night of the rebellion their scythes and cane machetes slaughtered half the slave-owning colonists; the remaining half were less fortunate.
For a brief moment the long-suffering people of Fantomas were free; but from that newfound freedom sprang even more brutal masters. For two centuries Fantomas endured an endless cycle of homegrown tyrants lusting for power. The latest of these despots, General Manuel Ortiz, followed the violent traditions of his predecessors, filling the island’s cemeteries with innocent victims.
Though countless lives were lost, the human spirit endured, fueled by the people’s unwavering faith in Voodoo. The citizens of Fantomas clung to their beliefs, knowing that someday the Voodoo spirits would crush their oppressors and set their children free.
Despite two centuries of bloodshed, the jungles of Fantomas remained lush and primordial; unchanged since the dawn of time. But tonight the sleeping parrots were awakened by brush rustling beneath their roosts, and they sang out a warning; men had invaded their domain.
Six armed soldiers crept through the jungle. Swarms of fruit bats circled overhead, following their path, gorging on the insects they disturbed. A bat swooped down to snatch a dragonfly hovering in front of the last man. As he slapped frantically at the invader, the startled soldier’s foot landed on a dry branch; the cracking wood echoed through the jungle like a gunshot.
Their leader, Lieutenant Miguel Ortiz, spun around and glared at the man. “Quiet, you idiot!”
The soldier stood frozen under the lieutenant’s stare until Ortiz turned and continued moving forward. The men followed him cautiously, fearing their commander more than any enemy.
Lieutenant Ortiz hated the jungle. To him it was a steaming, mosquito-laden nightmare of tangled brush and poisonous snakes. But despite the discomforts, Miguel loved his job as commander of the island’s Special Operations Team, an elite military unit the locals referred to in hushed tones as Escuadrón de la Muerte—The Death Squad.
Fantomas’ supreme dictator, General Manuel Ortiz, had handpicked each man, entrusting them with eliminating anyone who opposed his regime. Miguel was chosen as commander in part because the general was his uncle, but it was a job he was truly born to hold. After a childhood measured in escalating acts of sadism, Miguel seemed destined for the hangman’s noose. But all that changed a year ago when his uncle assumed power after a bloody military coups d’état. With Manuel recognizing his nephew’s rare talent for brutality, Miguel instantly rose from being just another violent felon to a vital arm of national security.
Since then he’d hunted and killed dozens of potentially dangerous opponents to his uncle’s regime. The fact that most were unarmed peasants or intellectuals only added to Miguel’s job satisfaction.
His trained ear was attuned to the endless din of insects when he distinctly heard coughing in the distance. He gestured for his men to halt. Slipping on a pair of night vision goggles he studied the trail ahead but saw no one. He heard it again, like a man sneezing, quickly followed by another. Following the sound he looked up into the trees. A troop of Mona Monkeys stared down at him, their tufts of white facial hair giving them the appearance of angry old men. The sneezing sound was their warning call to other monkeys. Miguel fought the impulse to shoot them for fun. Instead he knelt down, allowing his men a moment to drink from their canteens.
His second in command, Corporal Sosa, crept forward. In hushed tones he said, “Sir, the men are nervous. We’re killing a Voodoo priestess tonight and they’re afraid of the spiritual consequences.”
Miguel resisted the urge to strangle Sosa. “Trust me, if there’s such a thing as spiritual consequences we’re already going to Hell, so stop worrying.” He glanced back at his men, sensing their tension. He hoped when the time came their natural bloodlust would overcome any fear, but he knew a little added incentive wouldn’t hurt. “Remind them we are on a personal mission for General Ortiz, and he will probably give us each a generous bonus.”
Corporal Sosa’s innate greed won over any concerns. “They will be happy to hear that,” he said and scuttled back to the men.
The men’s fear of the priestess disgusted Miguel. To him Voodoo was the kind of superstitious horseshit that personified the old Fantomas; an impoverished land full of ignorant peasants and stinking manure. Miguel proudly embraced the modern world of social progress. To him progress meant snorting cocaine off the dashboard of his pearl white Escalade while listening to deafening rap music. Miguel was looking forward to tonight’s mission. The target’s name was Sarafina, and her lofty title of Voodoo Priestess made this a rare pleasure. Miguel had spent the last year working night and day to crush the people’s will. But women like this Sarafina gave the locals hope, and that only made his job harder.
Miguel pulled a GPS unit from his pocket. It indicated that they were less than a hundred yards from their target. He stood, signaling his men to move forward.
As they drew closer to the target, Miguel heard drums and rhythmic chanting drifting through the trees.
“Do you hear that?” Corporal Sosa hissed.
“Of course, I’m not deaf,” Miguel shot back.
“She was supposed to be alone but what if there are there are more people? What if they’re armed?” Sosa whispered, nervous at the prospect of facing someone who could actually fight back.
“Armed with what, drumsticks? If there are more people we’ll just kill them too.” Miguel turned away, wondering if America’s Navy Seals had to deal with this kind of whimpering. Then again, Navy Seals didn’t recruit their men from Death Row.
Miguel crept forward till he could make out a clearing ahead. The drumming was now clear and distinct.
He reached out and slowly pulled aside the branches blocking his view. The moment he did the drums and voices fell silent, leaving only the endlessly buzzing insects; it was unnerving. Probably just more monkeys, he thought.
He looked ahead and his concerns melted away. The priestess stood alone in the center of her compound, surrounded by gnarled posts decorated with animal skulls and weird talismans. Burning torches cast a flickering light on the ghoulish tableau. These Voodoo trappings were eerie enough, but they couldn’t hold a candle to the chapel building itself.
It was a barn-sized structure crafted from wood and mud brick standing in the shadow of a sixty-foot Banyan tree. Over decades, or perhaps even centuries, the ancient tree had grown into the building, entwining it in hundreds of exposed roots and vines until they merged into one organic structure. The firelight cast moving shadows across the chapel, and its network of roots seemed to undulate like some monstrous jellyfish.
Sarafina was stirring a cooking pot suspended over an outdoor fire. The aroma drifted through the air, but it was hard to tell if she was preparing some occult potion or just the typical swill the peasants called food. She sang to herself softly in a French patois.
Miguel took a moment to admire Sarafina. She was tall, her lean body wrapped in the colorful fabric favored by priestesses. She moved with the grace of a dancer, her dark skin glowing in the firelight. Miguel found her attractive, in that peasant sort of way.
She stood and walked gracefully to her chapel, still singing. As soon as she was inside, Miguel reached into his rucksack and pulled out a satellite phone. He whispered, “General, we’re in position with the target in sight. Awaiting your orders.” He pressed the phone to his ear awaiting a response.
His uncle’s voice came through. “Hold your position and await my instructions.”
“Understood sir.” After checking the ground for scorpions, Miguel sat down to wait.