When I worked for Borders, Permuted Press had a co-distribution deal with Simon & Schuster where some of their more popular series also got published by Simon to give them a wider audience, better distribution, and a chance at more marketing and publicity. After reading Ex-Heroes, I immediately called up my Simon rep and told them they needed to seriously consider Peter Clines and his Ex series for their next round of Permuted Press acquisitions. Nothing came of it and Permuted went on to publish the second book in the series, Ex-Patriots. The final book in the trilogy ended up getting delayed, and as it turned out, that was because Peter was working a deal with Crown Publishing (and specifically their Broadway Books imprint) to bring the series to the masses. I applaud Permuted Press for all the support they offered Peter Clines. Without them, who knows where this series would be today.
And where it is today, is being released by Random House. Because I’m such an advocate for Peter Clines, I’m going to write a 3-part blog celebrating his zombie/superhero mash-up. First up, my review of Ex-Heroes. Before we get started though, here’s an excerpt, so you can know what to expect. Click HERE for the excerpt.
OK, on with the book. With Ex-Heroes, Clines blends elements from the superhero and zombie genres, which just so happens to be two of my favorite genres. While being set in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, Ex-Heroes rotates between the past and present to give readers a glimpse at each of the heroes showcased in the book. After the apocalypse begins, the heroes band together to save over 4000 people at The Mount. Each hero has their own personification, but the story focuses mainly on St. George, Cerberus, and Gorgon. The only problem with having so many heroes featured (I only mentioned half of them) is that I wanted more. Clines could have easily added another 100 or so pages, but he keeps the pace brisk and the story flowing. This is due to his background in the film industry I’m sure. The good news about the fast pace of the novel is that it leaves the reader yearning for more.
Folks looking for a pure zombie novel may be a tad disappointed with Ex-Heroes because it doesn’t just stick with the regular tropes of the genre. Instead it asks the fundamental question about how the existence of superheroes would affect the zombie apocalypse. It’s not just the heroes that need to be focused on. While doing what they can to survive, the survivors on The Mount discover that there’s a rival group who might just be more dangerous than that actual zombies.
I’m extremely happy that Ex-Heroes is on the verge of breaking out even further. To put it bluntly, it’s a fun read…especially the running contest everyone has on who can kill the biggest celebrity zombie (they are in LA afterall). Think of Ex-Heroes as the book equivalent of a summer movie blockbuster. Who knows, maybe one day, it’ll transition to the silver screen.