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Friday, January 10, 2014

Die Trying by Nicholas Ryan (Guest Spot & Excerpt)

Die Trying
Nicholas Ryan

Trapped amidst the horror of the zombie apocalypse, three men hear the sound of a helicopter overhead and know it represents their last desperate hope to survive the terror and reach safety.

But survival comes at a cost - and the undead hordes that ravage the world are not the only lurking evil the men must face.

But for Mitch Logan, his brother, Jed, and their friend, Clinton Harrigan, there is no choice.

They must fight to survive - or Die Trying.

Zombies!! You know I love them!!  Here's a new novel for you, and I have an excerpt just for you so you can be as excited as me!

I turned back to the line of undead. I saw Jed now. He was inside the broken cockpit of the helicopter, firing through the shattered Plexiglas. He was concealed behind the dead body of the pilot, aiming carefully at the dark looming shapes of death.

I heard the roar of his Glock, tearing through the hissing sound of the rain, and then snapped my eyes to the line of undead. I saw one of them suddenly double over and clutch at its stomach. It was a woman – I think. The figure had long straggly hair and was thinly built. It was about fifteen yards away. It froze for a split- second, and then slowly toppled backwards into the grass. I heard Jed give a ragged cheer. “I got one!” – then the sound was cut off by another rumble of thunder that boomed overhead.

And then a remarkable thing happened. The line of undead stopped. Froze. They were close enough to see physical details now – close enough to hear the sound of them shambling towards us in the long grass as the noise of the rain ebbed and flowed. I sensed the hunched, prowling way they held themselves, like mad dogs that drop their heads and bunch their shoulders when on the scent of prey.

For a second nothing at all happened. I saw undead heads turn towards the place in the line where the woman ghoul had fallen. Then I saw the attitude of the others seem to change. I heard one of the ghouls growl – and it was a chilling, terrible sound, quickly imitated by others. The cry went up – and then the zombies nearest the woman lunged towards the place where she had fallen. They were snarling and roaring – gnashing teeth and clawing. I saw one of the undead rise up, and he had a forearm in his bloodied hands, gnawing at it with rabid madness.

I heard fabric tearing, and then the horrific sound of bones cracking and flesh ripping. Another of the ghouls reeled away into the darkness and his hands were full and heavy with dripping bloodied organs that slithered in his fingers like tentacles.

I heard Clinton Harrigan’s voice behind me, and his words were numbed and slowed by incredulous horror.

“Holy Mary, mother of God...”

And then a louder, more urgent voice that could only be my brother’s, shouting the words that my brain was shouting at the same instant.

“Run! Now!”

I didn’t turn away from the horror. The ghouls were in a frenzy, dismembering the corpse in the grass. I saw only hunched shoulders and flailing arms beating the grass into maddened swishing tails, but I could imagine the gory detail. Snap-shot images of the slaughter-yard scene in the backyard came back to haunt me.

Jed fired again. And again.

I drew the Glock from my jeans and fired into the dark mass of bodies. I don’t know if I hit anything – I just fired. Then I fired again. I heard a sudden new sound – the sound of different gunfire, the noise of it slamming in my ears – and without turning I guessed the man had recovered his weapon from where it had fallen.

I sensed that Jed’s words had culminated into panicked action behind me. I heard heavy footsteps, pounding in the sloshing mud, and when I glanced over my shoulder, I was alone. Harrigan, the man and the girl had disappeared round behind the darkened, shadowed shelter of the broken helicopter. I wanted to run after them. Cowardice and regret compounded. I wasn’t made of the right stuff for a heroic last stand. I wanted to run too.

I fired twice more. The gun leaped in my hand and I saw one of the dark savage shapes roll away from the milling gnashing pack.


I knew he was still nearby. I had heard one of his shots rip the night apart, just a moment after I had fired. His voice came back to me, clear and close.

“It’s time to go,” I said. “Where are the others?”
There was a pause, and in that moment of silence I shuffled

backwards until I felt the frame of the helicopter press against my legs.

“They’re going back over the fence,” I heard Jed say. He was moving as he spoke, coming closer. Then I saw him round the nose of the helicopter and stride towards me. The ground was a quagmire of rutted muddy troughs from where the helicopter’s crash landing had torn the earth to pieces.

Other undead shapes were filling the skyline, sweeping down from the hillside streets and coming across the field. And I saw more dark movement to our left – just flickering shadows that might have been wind-tossed branches – but might also have been more undead hunting their way towards us from surrounding houses. I’d had enough. My nerves were frayed.

“Let’s get out of here,” I said urgently. “It’s time for a cowardly retreat. We’ve done enough. Time to save our asses.”

I glanced at Jed. The bastard was smiling – not because I was funny, but because he was enjoying himself. I could see it in the glint of his eyes. There was a macabre sense of joy for him in shooting and killing, and I had to grab his arm and push him away into the darkness, even as he continued to fire.

Find Nicholas Ryan Online

In Nicholas' Own Words...

When I sat down to write my new zombie thriller, ‘Die Trying’, I really wanted to produce a story that was gripping, and full of unexpected twists. For me, the real horror of a zombie story is not the zombies themselves, but rather the way that people act and behave when confronted by the most dire and dreadful of circumstances.

Great horror should be relatable horror – the sort of terrifying things that we can all relate to in some way. Zombie horror makes that harder, because we all know zombies don’t really exist…

So I wanted to write a zombie thriller, where the truly horrific scenes and circumstances are created by the characters themselves, and the situations they find themselves in. That is why the characters within ‘Die Trying’ are more dimensional, and more complex – because within each of us are the flaws and strengths from which can come horror and heroic survival.

‘Die Trying’ is a more mature novel than ‘Ground Zero’. Part of that was because I have come to understand my readers. I have a clearer picture now of who reads zombie thrillers, and what ingredients make for a satisfying, tense story.