Jasper and the Dead
Title : Jasper and the Dead
Part of the Under the Southern Cross anthology.
Author : RJ Astruc
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Paranormal
Length : 66 pages (e-book)
Published : March 13, 2013
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, a zombie outbreak threatens to wipe out Sydney. Zombie hunter Jasper Blue and Pape Sassoon, a ferryman’s secretary, are charged with getting the governor safely out to the ship anchored in Sydney Harbor. Despite a sparking mutual attraction, the two men hire a cadre of bodyguards and attempt the mission. But when the zombie horde threatens to overwhelm them, their fight for the governor becomes a battle for life, and love, and much more.
Immediately upon completion of Jasper and the Dead, by RJ Astruc, my first thought was, “I don’t know what I just read, but I know I liked it.” To put this in some kind of perspective, my message to both Barb and Whit when I started the story was, “F*cking hell this book is present tense. Authors need to stop that.” So, despite a less than auspicious introduction, it’s safe to say I loved this story. It’s about Jasper Blue and Pape Sassoon. Jasper is a local zombie hunter, Pape is Jasper’s father’s secretary. Jasper’s father, the Commodore, is an emancipated convict and has made himself a model of citizenry in Sydney despite the quarantine to keep the zombies at bay. Jasper and Pape meet after an emissary from England has arrived in Sydney. Inexplicably, the Commodore feels these two disparate men should work together along with other “bodyguards” of Jasper’s choosing to escort Governor Macquarie to the emissary ship. It’s likely the Commodore had other motives when choosing Pape and Jasper to work with each other. He’s been playing matchmaker to his son for some time. It appears he’s finally gotten the gender right. Too bad Jasper and Pape don’t exactly hit it off right away. They kind of hit each other instead.
Once it’s time to take Governor Macquarie to the emissary for the meeting Jasper has the opportunity to speak with him alone. He realizes quickly the man has gone crazy under the pressure of keeping the colony alive with zombies at their door. Jasper tries to convince Pape to stay behind. Pape doesn’t want to leave Jasper alone with the Governor and the “bodyguards” who are actually a cannibal and the son of a convict who is rather violent, and huge, himself. It doesn’t go well. As it turns out zombies can’t actually swim, but dead bodies can float.
There was great importance on self-reliance in this story. Don’t wait for someone to come and rescue you, rescue yourself. Of course having said that Jasper does a lot of rescuing of Pape. Jasper likes to rescue Pape. I’m not quite sure how Pape felt other than thankful. Pape was kind of unaware of sexuality. Both his own and Jasper’s. Although he found Jasper compelling and was attracted to him before he really knew what was happening. Consequently, it was almost convenient for them global governments had collapsed as a result of the zombie infections. There was no one to tell them they couldn’t be together. They had to make their own brave new world. Sydney wasn’t actually doing too bad despite the zombies. The ragtag bunch of people living there did what needed to be done. They rescued themselves, never expecting a distant England would want to rescue a bunch of convicts.
Okay, so I have to bring up the present tense thing. I still don’t like it. There are very few books I’ve read and enjoyed that were written in the present tense. Many of them I just don’t finish. I understand it can create a sense of immediacy and uncertainty. I don’t feel that was the only way to achieve it in this book. It did make it harder for me to get into the story, but once I was involved I loved it. I guess ultimately I didn’t find it horrendous. That’s saying something. Well, from me that’s saying a lot. This was a really good story.
Rated 4 stars by Faye