Sunday, November 17, 2013

Zombies Spotlight on:
Oasis by Joan de la Haye

Reviewed by Anthony Servante

Click here to purchase.

Joan De La Haye


Joan De La Haye writes horror and some very twisted thrillers. She invariably wakes up in the middle of the night, because she's figured out yet another freaky way to mess with her already screwed up characters.

Joan is interested in some seriously weird stuff. That's probably also one of the reasons she writes horror.

Joan is deep, dark and seriously twisted and so is her writing.

Book summary:

The planet has been fried by solar flares turning it into a desert. The surviving population has been affected by solar radiation, turning them into Zombies. Only a handful of people remain unaffected. A family of civilians, guided by a crack army unit who has seen more action than they can handle, must make their way to the safety of a UN base at the South Pole called New Atlantis. But can they make it to this oasis alive or will they only reach it as the undead? A zombie novella with a difference.


Joan De La Haye has created a scenario where zombies are created by a hole in the ozone. Clever conceit. Very green. Maxine is the narrator and she has some heavy duty mood swings. The majority of the story focuses on these ups and downs. We don’t learn much about the zombies except at the periphery as Maxine, our story-teller, has other things on her mind. For instance, when one of the soldiers that is escorting her and her family to New Atlantis, a bunker at the South Pole (you see, everywhere else has been turned to desert sand because of the solar flares coming through the hole in the ozone), is bitten by a zombie and screams in agony, Maxine decides it would be a good time to make love to the soldier, Wolf, whom she’s been flirting with for a few hours before a zombie bit off the victim’s face. Here’s how Joan describes it, “I’d never seen another man bite another man’s face off. I didn’t even think it was possible for human teeth to rip flesh like that. I could understand an animal being able to do that, but another person … I was struggling to come to grips with the situation we found ourselves in. The only thing that had made sense was the feel of Wolf’s lips on mine and I longed to feel his hands on me again.” See what I mean?

But don’t get me wrong. Maxine has her reasons for her uncontrollable sex cravings; she tells us, “An apocalypse is not exactly the time to turn into a prude or a nun.” And she does let the reader know how her lovemaking relates to their grim situation: “We were screwed and not in a good way.”

Things turn serious even as Maxine is swiped by a bullet to her scalp. She reveals to the reader the ending before we’re even close to reaching the horrific finale. But there's no getting around it, for our narrator has to share her secret with someone: too bad it had to be us readers. Anyway, I finally got the storyline. It was all foreshadowing for that big surprise. Although I would have preferred to learn more about the zombies because it is such a clever devise that De La Haye uses to create them for the story, I was satisfied with the way the tale turned out. With a little patience, you, too, might be gratified with the shocker of a finale. Just be patient with our narrator. She has issues to work out.

I asked Joan De La Haye about Maxine’s behavior in such a dire situation, and she explained, “Maxine is just your average girl next door. No woman is just one thing. We all have are naive moments and we also have our savvy moments. Have you ever met a woman who wasn't a contradictory blend of emotions and thoughts? Or have you ever met a woman who didn't confuse you just a little bit? She's also going through something that is confusing to her. Does that make any sense?”

Of course it makes sense. Too bad we have to wait till the ending to realize it. So here’s a fair warning: Don’t give up on this story, trod on, you will be rewarded in the end. And in addition to learning about our contradictory heroine, you’ll actually learn more about the zombies too. It’s a perfect segue to Oasis II.

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