Book Reviews

Zombie Candy and an interview with Frederick Lee Brooke

This book has all the ingredients of a perfect noir comedy – well formed characters, international locations, a fast moving plot with no brakes, and of course zombies. Revenge is a dish best served cold – and as a betrayed wife, master chef and cookery instructor, Candace cooks up the perfect recipe for the ultimate gazpacho

Early praise for Zombie Candy

“With action that takes us from the suburbs of Chicago to the forests of Tuscany, and lessons in Italian cooking and zombie movies along the way, Zombie Candy is a recipe for delicious fun. Just go easy on the cilantro.”

Chris Jay Becker
Author of Death in the Fast Lane (A King Leary Crime Novel)

“Zombie Candy is a tasty morsel of revenge, regret, renewal, friendship and love with a zombie invasion that’s as good and fun as a box of Good & Plenty.”
Lynn Messina
Author of The Girl’s Guide to Dating Zombies

“This book has all the ingredients of a perfect noir comedy – well formed characters, international locations, a fast moving plot with no brakes, and of course zombies. Revenge is a dish best served cold – and as a betrayed wife, master chef and cookery instructor, Candace cooks up the perfect recipe for the ultimate gazpacho.”

Emma Calin
Author of Knockout (A Passionate Police Romance)

“Brooke does a fantastic job of paying homage to the zombie movies we love in this hilarious parody. I laughed until my sides hurt.”
Martha Bourke
Author of Jaguar Sun

About Zombie Candy:

You know early on, from the color of the inappropriate bra in the opening scene, that Zombie Candy is going to be a black comedy. Most people could sympathize with the male obsession for sex and zombie movies, but who would put up with a husband who doused every dish with cilantro?

Frederick Lee Brooke serves up another literary treat with this bizarre and comical tale of love and betrayal. Candace Roach enlists her best friend Annie Ogden (our favorite sleuth from Doing Max Vinyl) to find out what her husband is really up to on his weekly business trips – but their home-cooked aversion therapy gets out of hand and hurtles along an astonishing highway of the undead.

Home from Iraq but unsure about her future, Annie Ogden isn’t your typical woman sleuth. Her best friend, Candace Roach – gourmet cooking instructor, owner of a house in Tuscany – isn’t your typical wronged woman either. Candace teaches gourmet cooking, and loves nothing more than orchestrating a four-course meal full of flavorful surprises and artistic touches. A selection of her recipes is found in an appendix to the book.

But with each shocking discovery in the investigation of her husband, the friendship between Candace and Annie is further put to the test. Candace ultimately takes matters into her own hands and, in an elaborate ruse, stages a nightmarish zombie drama in which her husband plays the starring role.

Weaving elements of mystery, horror and romance in a story that starts in Chicago and ends in a quaint medieval town in sun-drenched Tuscany, Zombie Candy transcends any single genre. Embark on a journey that will tickle your taste buds and wake up your funny bone. What are you waiting for?
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About the author

ee6a6eb6aaf70a20e32f10.L._SX80_Frederick Lee Brooke

Born and raised in the Chicago area, Frederick Lee Brooke graduated from AmherstCollege and studied writing at the University of Montana.

He has worked as anEnglish teacher, language school manager and small business owner. Having livedin Germany, France and Switzerland, he has also travelled extensively inTuscany, the setting of part of ZombieCandy.

The first book in the Annie Ogden series, Doing Max Vinyl, appeared in 2011 to wide acclaim.


1. What was your main motive that has pushed you into becoming a writer?

I have always loved reading, from when I was a kid. I loved the emotional kick I got from stories, and also the escape. When you’re a kid you dream a lot, and I dreamed of being a writer. Back then I didn’t know why, I just knew I wanted to write books. That emotional high you get from reading is even more amplified in the writing process. That escape. It’s addictive. That’s why I do it. I’m doing what I love.

2. What are the types of books you like to read? (adventure, murder mysteries, romance)

There is no single genre that I call home. Sometimes a good international thriller grabs my attention, sometimes a mystery, sometimes a horror story. I like historical fiction and mainstream fiction. I have a fairly high tolerance for sentimental romance stories, and I always like humor. I like well-developed characters, and you can find that in every genre, though not in every book!

3. What would be a top 3 books you would recommend to other people for reading?

That’s a tough one, you know, because everyone’s different. Recently I read TREASURE ME, by Christine Nolfi. It has really stuck with me, a beautifully crafted story, sparkling dialogue, characters you grow to love. I think just about everyone would love that book. Another great book is GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING by Tracy Chevalier. I love the writing in all her books, and the way she illuminates the inner workings of her characters’ minds. I love learning what it might have been like to live in another age. A third book that I would recommend to anyone is IN LEAH’S WAKE by Terri Giuliano Long. Anyone with kids should read that book, especially anyone with teenagers.

4. What is your favourite quote?

My father always says, “It’s not practice makes perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” I take that to heart as a writer. It’s dangerous to be a perfectionist, but what other choice do we have?

5. Tell us about your book. What makes it special? What is it about?

Zombie Candy is special because although the tag line on the cover says “Cheating husband? Feed him to the zombies,” this is not a story about zombies. It’s about a lousy marriage, a marriage in which Larry would rather watch zombie movies all afternoon on Sunday than be with his wife, and it’s about what happens when Candace finally wakes up to the fact that Larry has been cheating on her. It’s not as simple as just kicking him out and saying adios. She still loves him. So it’s about the process she goes through, taking back her life, one step at a time, after having this ugly realization. And Annie Ogden, her best friend, happens to be a private investigator, and Annie helps Candace investigate the affairs. Along the way, the friendship between Annie and Candace is also put to the test. So it’s about friendship, betrayal, new awakenings …

6. Are you currently reading a book? If yes, what is it?

I’m currently reading an excellent thriller by Jack Durish called REBELS ON THE MOUNTAIN. It’s a fictionalized account of Fidel Castro’s beginnings as a rebel leader in Cuba, how he overthrew Batista. A lot of great guerrilla battle scenes, a love story, real personages like Castro and Ernest Hemingway woven into the story, and just plain good writing. I’m enjoying it.

7. If you could, which author would you like to meet face to face and why?

I would like to meet Rob Guthrie, author of the new Western called DARK PRAIRIES as well as the mystery/horror books BLACK BEAST and LOST. I like his writing and I think we would find lots of things to talk about.

8. Are you working on a new book? Tell us about it?

There will be a third book in the Annie Ogden series, and that’s what I’m working on now. The real mystery is Annie Ogden herself, and in the third book she gets the spotlight.

9. How much do you base your characters on real-life people you know?

Very little, in fact, at least in the sense of taking people just as they are in real life and inserting them into a story. My friends and family know they’re safe. I might take one person’s hair and another person’s verbal tic, one person’s clothing fetish and another person’s left-handedness. A lot of characters are an amalgamation of all the things I’ve seen around town. I get an image in my mind, and then try to come as close as I can to reproducing the image on the page. But things change a lot in revision.

10. Any advice for new authors?

There’s a a whole enormous multitude of independently published authors who are working together these days, collaborating in all sorts of ways. It’s been a wonderful discovery for me to get to know a lot of new people through Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. All of us are quite happy to support each other, and work hard to help each other. There is no sense of competition, just a sense of collaboration. So I advise new authors to join up with this group by contributing their share. Most authors will reciprocate if they see someone is doing something for them. For example, if you read a fellow author’s book, post a review on the site where you bought it, e.g. Amazon, as well as Goodreads. It takes little time to write a review, and it helps other readers as well as the author.


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