Permuted Press - April, 2012 – A new action sci-fi horror novel answers the burning question all fans want to know.
With the rise in popularity of zombie fiction, readers have been dying to know which monster can beat the walking dead. Novelists Thom Brannan and D.L. Snell answer one of those questions in their newest book, PAVLOV’S DOGS (Permuted Press).
PAVLOV’S features genetically enhanced werewolves designed to operate as spec ops soldiers. They can transform at will and are fearsome killing machines. When the dead rise, the mastermind behind the Dogs wishes to unleash his creations against the undead hordes and send them on rescue missions to bring survivors back to his island. But many members of the doctor’s team raise critical questions: The Dogs are still prototypes, untested. What happens if they’re not ready for battle and their systems fail? More importantly, what happens when a Dog gets bitten by an infected human? Can the werewolves win out against the hordes?
“As a kid I remember catching black widows and scorpions together in a coffee can,” says co-author D.L. Snell. “We wanted to see which bug would win. It was a fascination of ours. So that’s kind of what Thom and I have done with PAVLOV’S DOGS. We just threw a werewolf and a zombie into a coffee can and placed our bets.”
While tackling two well-established monsters, Brannan and Snell have observed some traditions while subverting others. The zombies are standard shamblers at the start, with power in sheer numbers, but the werewolves are unique to the genre from the beginning: they can transform at will; they are genetically engineered; most of them are human friendly; and they are equipped with an advanced Brain-Computer Interface that allows for not only a pack mind, but also for conditioning and a fine degree of control—thus creating worthy opponents of the walking dead.
“I’m excited for it,” co-author Thom Brannan says, “because while there are some traditions we stuck close to, there are others we blew away, and when the two collide, it’s a load of fun. And gore. And fire.”
But who will win? Zombies, or werewolves? PAVLOV’S DOGS will be available to answer that question April 2012 in every popular format, including Kindle, Nook, Audible.com audio, and trade paperback. Details at werewolfnovel.com.
Here is a little taste for you:
SMELL OF SCORCHED OIL and metal came as a relief, con-sidering the whole world was rotting under Paulo’s nose. He and Marie hid behind the remains of an overturned Blazer, its trailer twisted around the hitch.
“I can no hear them,” Marie said.
Normally at this point Paulo would have poked fun, lovingly, at her poor English. Normally.
He took in the dark, wavy hair framing her face, took in the strands of it stuck in her tears. Paulo decided to never make fun of her again, for as long as they lived.
Leaning down, he kissed Marie’s forehead. “Amorcita, if we can’t hear them, maybe they can’t hear us.” He took her hand and put it to his lips.
Marie smiled, knowing they were in bad trouble and he was go-ing out of his way to comfort her, and loving him for it.
They moved together, stepping around the overturned Blazer.
Each of them had seen so much death in the past month. In the past hour. A whole world full of death and pain. So neither of them had paid any heed to the body pinned underneath the trailer, mainly because the corpse hadn’t been of the variety that moved. But now it was.
The crushed woman looked at them without any eyes and moaned. It didn’t take long for others to join in. They came out ofnowhere and everywhere all at once: alleyways, shattered store-fronts; one even jumped off a roof. Its legs shattered on impact, but even that was not enough to stop it.
At the sight and smell of the couple, arms shot up, jaws sprang open. Rheumy eyes zeroed in.
And the moaning.
The endless moaning.
Like people dying at a hospital, groaning for help.
Paulo ran with short steps, giving himself shin splints so Marie could keep up. She could only run so fast. Not nearly fast enough.
He looked back, cursing their pursuers. Even the best horn players had to take breaths, yet these things could go on and on. Tireless. Ceaseless. Rolling out their monotonous one-note dirge.
Paulo steered them down an alleyway.
Suddenly Marie was falling down, dragging Paulo with her and crying out. She had rolled her ankle in a pothole.
No world, no public services. No DOT.
Marie sobbed as Paulo helped her up. He cringed and glanced down the alleyway. If any hungry corpses lurked ahead, they had just been called to dinner, certainly no thanks to the walking horn section behind them.
“No puedo, Paulo. I can’t go on.”
“No.” Paulo hunched and pulled her arm over his shoulders. “We keep on moving, and we do it together.”
Somewhere ahead, the forever moan was answered. By a single woman, from the sound of it. Otherwise, the alley seemed clear.
Paulo looked back, gauging the speed of the graveyard dragging itself along behind them.
Dead men ahead.
Dead women and children behind.
Paulo realized they didn’t have much of a choice.
He and Marie hobbled forward together, and Paulo’s eyes dart-ed about, looking for anything they could call a shelter.
As if by some answered prayer, he saw a door ahead of them, slightly ajar. Paulo laughed once, and Marie lifted her head.
He pointed out the door, and they altered their trajectory to-ward it.
Just ahead, a few dead men came around the corner. They in-stantly locked onto the couple.
“Van a caer,” Marie said as Paulo moved faster, dragging her along. “If we fall...”
“Then we won’t fall,” Paulo said.
He and Marie moved almost as fast as the men. Judging by dis-tance and speed, he worried they would reach the door at the same exact time.
Die in the street?
As they drew in, the dead men lunged, snapped, then ran into the metal door just as Paulo slammed it shut behind him.
“I didn’t hear it click.” He bent down to study the moving parts. “Baby, there’s no latch.”
With a wave, Marie directed his attention to the room in which they now found themselves. She leaned against one wall, and the other three walls weren’t far away. It was a small space, bare, completely empty: hall, tiled floor, a bit of debris that must have blown in with the wind.
“¡Nada!” she said. “No block, no nothing.”
“We should go farther—”
The door jumped against Paulo’s shoulder. He jammed his foot against the base of it, into the crack, and pressed harder with his upper body. It felt as if he were holding back the pounding, swell-ing of the sea.
His cowboy boots slid. Not by a lot, but they slid.
“Marie, por favor...”
He didn’t have to say the rest. They had been together so long—on the run for so long—some things could be left unspoken.
Marie nodded, then limped from one wall to the next. It had looked like such a small space, but crossing it felt like three hun-dred feet. She practically fell into the far wall.
Sweating, whimpering, favoring her one foot, Marie shuffled over to the hallway.
“Here!” she said. “¡Una puerta!”
The door stood at the end of the short hall, leading into an ad-jacent room.
“Keep going!” Paulo called, shouting over the constant drum-ming of bones and dead skin on hollow metal. “Find us something, Marie, por favor!”
She reached for the knob, but hesitated. How many times had they gone through one door only to turn back, chased by the dead?
It didn’t matter though.
There was only one choice left.
Marie turned the knob.
Beyond, she saw another empty room, but the outer wall had crumbled to a pile of mortar and brick. She could see out into the alleyway, which was completely packed with the living dead, all trampling and climbing over each other like frenzied ants.
Marie put her hand over her mouth. So this was the force Paulo was holding back with a single metal door and a cowboy boot. And she knew the slightest sound would attract their wrath. Like red ants attacking a bug.
Luckily the dead didn’t notice her as Marie quietly closed the wooden door. She noticed that the knob could be locked, if only they had the key.
Marie hobbled over to Paulo, who met her eyes briefly as she leaned back against his metal shield. He blinked and shook his head.
When would it ever end?
Even though they knew the answer to that, they sometimes wished to just get it over with. But then their common sense got the better of them because sometimes even death was not the end.
Paulo started to ask what Marie had found, but stopped. The fresh tears on her face answered his question.
She took a shuddering breath. “This is it, mi vida.” She reached out and caressed the pocket of Paulo’s jeans. “Do you still have them?”
He lowered his head and pushed harder on the door. A dark look had come over his face. “I wish we still had the gun.”
Caressing his cheek, Marie smiled. “Do you still?”
“Yes,” he said, “I have them.”
Staring into his eyes, she dug into Paulo’s pocket and pulled out the small cardboard sheath.
“I lost the other one,” he said.
“But one is enough, no?”
He couldn’t wipe the grave expression off his face. A gun would have been much quicker. Just two bullets and it would all be done. But a single razor blade? He imagined having to cut her, watching the light go out of her eyes as her life leaked onto the floor of this filthy little room.
Paulo blinked hard and swallowed. He thought about cutting himself after, but while he was still dying, and too weak to move, the dead would finally get to them.
Paulo caught Marie’s hand and kissed her fingertips, tasting a bit of salt and grit.
“It is,” he said. “It’s enough.”
They leaned in to share one last kiss, and as their lips parted, they heard it. Something new.
“Is that a... wolf?” Paulo said.
The hairs on the back of Marie’s neck shivered on end. “No se, Paulo. It sounds like.”
The single howl rose into a chorus, and the beating on the door ceased. They heard dead meat slump against the metal and slide down. The relentless weight was lifted from the door, as if the deadly invaders had simply ceased to exist.
Paulo reached to open it.
Marie slapped at his hand.
“I have to see.”
She fidgeted, glanced back toward the hallway that led to no-where. “Just a crack,” she told him.
He opened the door, just a crack, just enough to let in the light of some brand new nightmare.
Dark-skinned, hulking figures moved among the shambling dead, scything a path with their talons. Heads went flying, arms went flying. Corpses were launched into the air.
A large hairy beast, with fur like a golden retriever, leapt from car to car, homing in on the couple. Paulo’s eyes widened as the figure lunged.
He slammed the door.
The day he first had seen a dead man get up and walk, Paulo had thought he had gone insane. Then after a while, the undead had become commonplace.
Now Paulo was sure he had gone insane.
He told Marie to run—hide!
There was no place but the hall.
She hid there, hoping it was deep enough, hoping Paulo would join her.
She heard the hollow boom of the metal door being pounded open, could hear Paulo cry out.
And then Paulo was screaming, his voice moving away, grow-ing distant.
Resisted the urge to peek.
He wouldn’t stop screaming, somewhere out there. They had always hoped their deaths would be quick.
Marie couldn’t help herself; she stuck her head around the cor-ner, into the room.
One of the wolves was just stalking past the door, but then it stopped. Marie almost sobbed as she ducked back into the hall. She could hear it, sniffing.
She couldn’t stand it anymore—she opened the door and stum-bled into the adjacent room, toward the broken wall.
In the alley beyond, the dead lay in a common grave, twitching here and there, but overall silent and still.
Marie scrambled over the heap of brick, then tripped and fell face-first into the pile of corpses.
The wolf at the door whipped around, homed in again, and chased after her. It was a short chase.
Marie squealed as the beast tossed her over its shoulder. She clawed and kicked and screeched. It didn’t seem to faze the mon-ster in the least.
It carried her over the heaps of severed heads, jerking limbs, and slippery guts. They emerged into the street, and she saw a tractor clearing cars, and a bus behind it.
“Marie!” Paulo called.
The wolf with the golden coat was carrying him toward the bus—was loading him onto it.
From one of the bus’s makeshift gun ports, he shouted again.
And then he said something she didn’t understand. “There’s an island! They said there’s an—!”
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