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Apocalyptic Organ Grinder by William Todd…

Apocalyptic Organ Grinder

by William Todd Rose

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For a novella length story, there is a lot going on in Apocalyptic Organ Grinder.

There's the back story of the evil wizard who created the pathogen which kills off most of the world's population, there are two groups of survivors, those not killed outright, but are diseased carriers who refer to themselves as The People, and those known as Clear Skins who call the infected Spewers.

Tanner Kline, a Clear Skin, is also a Sweeper, it's his job to seek out Spewers and eliminate them. I found Apocalyptic Organ Grinder to be interesting in that there are no clear-cut good guys and bad guys, both groups want the same basic things. Food, shelter, and safety for their loved ones.

Of course, if you are a Clear Skin, you can understand why the Spewers would be a threat, "He could see the greenish yellow pus within the stone-sized blisters that covered their bodies. The blisters were membrane thin and the pressure of infection made them pulse and throb as if tiny hearts were submerged within the cloudy liquid. Portions of the Spewer's bodies were marked with deflated blisters that had yet to scab over; directly below these festering wounds. new bubbles of flesh filled with contagion and strained against the skin."

Apocalyptic Organ Grinder seems a bit hampered by the novella format. I would have liked to have read this in a novel sized treatment with more about life in each of the survivor groups, as well as more about the evil wizard and the events leading up to the way things are now.

As it stands, Apocalyptic Organ Grinder is a good story and an enjoyable read from Random House. It's set for publication on June 17, 2014, but I see the ebook available now at Amazon.com. ( )
  FrankErrington | Jun 10, 2014 |
At only 86 pages this is an intense novella, with chapter breaks, focusing on characteristics and feelings of two differing post-apocalyptic species and certain members. A typical hypothesis that I enjoy with post-apocalyptic novels: the evil virus that wipes out the population, at least most of it. The lucky ones die, the not so lucky ones live and the least fortunate ones become something mutated, less than human. Rose brings a unique vision to the table here though that makes for some fast paced, heart-pounding, sickening feelings and a reader looking for a moral high ground can not find one. Written in alternating viewpoints, first from a man who is a Sweeper. His job is to keep the settlements clean from the remaining infected ones who carry the disease, show all symptoms of it, but it does not kill them, though they still are highly infectious. These people are wild vermin who must be exterminated before they can infect the last of the pure human race left.

The other view is from an infected female warrior leader, a Spewer, covered in huge boil like lesions which fill with puss and burst frequently spewing the infectious swill wherever it lands. The Spewers may have the disease but it is only a condition to them not life-threatening. They live their lives in tribes, hunting, gathering and staying away from Sweepers who will randomly come out and shoot and kill them on sight. The Spewers are an intellectual society, with a religious and moral order that they follow before making any decisions, while the "clean faces" think them savage and unable of reasonable thought.

Yet, each side is driven by pure fear for the very existence of their own people, they each become just as vile and torturously murderous as the other. These Spewers can be compared to the zombie but they are much more intelligent and dangerous. The unaffected humans are too scared and fearful to put forth any kind of harmony agreement. While reading the story, both main characters were ethically repulsive to me but I did waver between having more concern for one than the other back and forth through the story. Until the end. Righteously so, at the end of life one can only get back what one freely gave away to others. The end is a fitting one and stunning. Will look for this author again! ( )
  ElizaJane | Mar 20, 2014 |
Link to review: http://taylorsawesomebookreviews.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/book-review-apocalypti...

Review's text:

Book Review: Apocalyptic Organ Grinder
Apocalyptic Organ Grinder

Apocalyptic Organ Grinder by William Todd Rose

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

This is a book that I received a free e-copy from net galley to review. All I can say is “wow.” The book went by really quickly – a lot quicker than what I thought it would. Some gross stuff – but nothing too bad (though if you get queasy with the idea of “pus” then stay away!). What prevented the book from getting 5/5 stars was the fact that I could (and did – though not because I really wanted to..) skip some parts / sections and still figure out what was going on. Ok, maybe that’s not a bad thing, but to me that says that parts were not necessary. Anyway, the book itself was really good and different than a lot of other things that I had read.

This is not a zombie book really. I’ve heard/seen a lot of people want to label it as such, but I hope no one picks this up and thinks it will be your every day zombie book.

What also might have influenced my rating was the fact that I had a lot of other things going on in my personal life while reading this story. This is not the fault of the book or anything, but it just influenced my highly subjective rating.

This is also the very first ebook that I have read. I read it on my laptop and didn’t enjoy the layout too well (the idea of reading on the computer itself, not the book’s layout). I definitely will try to get used to reading via a laptop / reading e-books as quite a few things are available in that form. I only mention this because it is something else that might have skewed my rating.

So, with all of these things working against the book, why 4/5 instead of 3/5 or even 2/5? Well, I used the goodreads rating and I really did like the book. Simple as that. Despite parts seeming unnecessary, the book itself held a very interesting idea/theme. I am going to be taking a class on trauma and literature in the fall and I think this would have been an excellent addition to the reading list. The book overall was more than “ok.”

I recommend this book to anyone who likes some of the unconventional creepy things (I LOVE Stephen King, so that might influence me a bit… and the Saw movies….). I would say that adult readers would be the best audience for this (or maybe late teens even). I really did enjoy it and hope that my review has been helpful to potential readers, etc.



View all my reviews


What I would like to add:

I would gladly reread the book again (if I had the time I would do it immediately!). I felt bad that this was the first book that I had to read via e-copy, but I would have felt bad for whatever my first book would have been. It’s definitely a different format than what I am used to.

However, I don’t think my opinion of the book would have changed too much had this been a printed copy. (I just wouldn’t have gone on and on about e-copies within the review itself I guess…)

Very cool book and it had a different perspective than what I was used to… I recommend it (as I stated within the review above) for more mature readers.

My rating: 4/5 stars



Have questions, requests, etc.? Then please feel free to contact me at taylorreadingblog23@yahoo.com ( )
  taylor.troncin | Aug 5, 2013 |

Book source ~ Many thanks to NetGalley and Hydra for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Centuries ago a virus caused a great divide in the people of the United States. The virus caused many people to die, but those that didn’t became carriers capable of infecting others. The sick and carriers were separated from those uninfected and made to live in prison camp conditions. Eventually those infected escaped and built villages far from the others. The infected came to be known as the People amongst themselves, but the others called them Spewers. Spewers called the others Clear Skins, but the others called themselves Settlers.

Tanner Kline is a Settler and a trained Sweeper. He goes outside the settlements and sweeps for Spewers. If he finds any he shoots them. Lila is a protector for the People. She has no gun and uses a spear, her wits and her physical prowess to protect herself and her People from the Sweepers. The meeting between Tanner and Lila creates a spark that ignites a deadly war between the two factions and obliterating the uneasy balance maintained for so many years.

This is a compelling story told from two polar opposite points of view. You have Tanner who is trained to protect the Settlers from the deadly Spewers and you have Lila who is trained to protect the People from the deadly Settlers. Both think they are noble and doing the right thing and yet they are on opposite sides. Who’s to say which group is right? If they had just left each other alone then the ending that comes to pass could have been avoided. Though I have to say I was quite impressed with that final scene. Very clever!

The writing flows smoothly and the tension ratchets up with each page until the grand finale. This is a story that will stick with you when you are finished. ( )
  AVoraciousReader | Jul 31, 2013 |
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Book description
William Todd Rose reinvents the zombie story with a thrilling novella of a post-apocalyptic America where saviors are heroes . . . and heroes are killers.
A fatal virus—a biowarfare experiment unleashed on an unsuspecting world—has reduced the once-mighty United States to a smattering of tribes dueling for survival in the lawless wilderness. The disease-free folk known as Settlers barricade themselves in small villages, determined to keep out the highly contagious Spewers—infected humans who cannot die from the virus but spread the seeds of death from the festering blisters that cover their bodies.
Tanner Kline is a trained Sweeper, sworn to exterminate Spewers roaming the no-man’s-land surrounding his frightened community. As all Settlers do, Tanner dismisses them as little more than savages—until he meets his match in Spewer protector Lila. But when hunter and hunted clash, their bloody tango ignites a firestorm of fear and hatred. Now, no one is safe from the juggernaut of terror that rages unchecked, and the fate of humanity hangs on questions with no answers: Who’s right, who’s wrong . . . and who’s going to care if everyone’s dead?
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