• No Easy Hope

  • Surviving the Dead, Volume 1
  • By: James N. Cook
  • Narrated by: Guy Williams
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (1,467 ratings)

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No Easy Hope

By: James N. Cook
Narrated by: Guy Williams
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Publisher's Summary

Eric Riordan was once a wealthy man leading a comfortable, easy life. Until one day Gabriel, his oldest friend, Marine Corps veteran, and a former mercenary, told him how the world was going to end.

He did his best to prepare. He thought he was ready for anything.

He was wrong.

As the dead rise up to devour the living, one man finds himself struggling to survive in the ruins of a shattered world. Alone, isolated, and facing starvation, his only chance is to flee to the Appalachians and join forces with Gabriel. But the journey will not be easy, and along the way his humanity, his will to live, and his very soul will be tested.

This is the beginning. This is his story.

©2011 James N Cook (P)2013 James N Cook

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What listeners say about No Easy Hope

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Overall
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not bad, Not unique, but well written!

The book is very well written. The characters, dialogue, behaviors, and other elements are believeable not remarkable. The character is a everyday joe who befriends a survivalist type character (pre-apocalypse). The outbreak occurs creating Romero type Zombies. The main character begins his journey to meet up with his survivalist friend. The real journey is the discovery and growth the character endures while meeting other good and bad survivalist. When I first started to listen to the book I immediately thought that this was a "guy" book due to the long drawn out references toward guns, fighting, and other "manly" type interests. As the book went on I found myself engulfed in all the characters and thought to myself how well written this story really was. It became hard to put down. Just wish there were a little more action involving Zombies.

Narration was good but the female voices were a bit comical.

Starting second book now!

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

better than expected

Any additional comments?


one of the better zombie stories i've listened to lately. eric comes into money the old-fashioned way- he inherited it. however, how he comes to be a millionaire is well thought out by the author. along with money, eric inherits some property. he sells his grandmother's cabin in the mountains to a guy named gabe. over time, they become good friends and one night eric finally asks gabe how he got the money to buy eric's cabin. hestitantly, gabe tells eric about his mysterious past and the preparations he's making for an uncertain future.

while there are some aspects of survivalism in the first part of the story, the author does not bog you down with too many details.

the 1st 1/3 of the story details eric's background, how he came into money, his relationship with gabe, and the initial outbreak in atlanta. i enjoyed this part b/c the author slowed down and described the initial outbreak via newscasts ric was watching. plus, gabe's background is interesting.

as the outbreak begins, eric is alone. he lives somewhere ooutside of charlotte, nc while gabe is living in the cabin in the mountains. before the phone lines go down, gabe tells eric to hole up in his bunker and head to the cabin once things get a little less crazy.

the last 2/3 of the story is eric's journey to the cabin. on his way there eric faces a moral dilemma. he meets up with another group of survivors and decides to help them. in doing so, he makes new friends and frenemies. the author does a good job of adding depth to these other characters. eric comes to be good friends with some of the survivors and ends up staying with them longer than he planned.

towards the end of the book, you learn more about the state of things in the u.s. and around the world. although most of the zombie gore is in the beginning, this is a good end of the world survival story.

the writing is strong, and there's believable introspection by the different characters.

however, there are some weaknesses. aside from the opening, there's not a lot of zombie gore and carnage. i really like z-bboks that have a sense of dread. i never feared for characters in this book. there was no sense of impending doom, no shambling zombie hoard. guess tufo spoiled me in those regards.

my biggest caveat was the narrator. whlle his guy voices were ok, his girl voices were just aweful. so bad that i wondered if some of them had an adam's apple. LOL

overall, i enjoyed the story. i listen to a lot of zombie books, and the difference between the middle tier z-books are mostly the characters. i've listened to z-books with all kinds of characters- average joes, moms, military types, etc.. i think this is the 1st i've listened to where the main protagonist is a 1%er. so, yeah, i liked it!

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Solid Zombie Tale

A pretty standard tale but though the story's kind of old hat to someone who likes zombie fiction, the characters are well fleshed out despite being mostly well-worn and typical.

Surprisingly, there are a couple of pretty emotional moments, especially towards the end of the story, as the author makes a point of dwelling on cause and effect. He makes a decent stab of putting some real pathos in to proceedings and, more often than not, does a good job of it. In that way, this is a cut well above the average.

Biggest obstacle I have is the narrator who does take some getting used to. Male voices are either slow, deep and gravelly or fast, a bit squeaky and bland. Aside from stereotypes like the duuuude surfer voice, that's about as varied as things get. Female voices aren't that great either. But you get used to it well enough and once you do it rarely intrudes.

All in all, you could do a lot worse than give this a spin. I'm off to grab book 2 anyway, which gives you some idea of how much I enjoyed book 1.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!!!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

this is the kind of zombie apocalypse story i've been looking for! great character development, great storytelling, great narrator. no ghosts, no vampires, no people making dumb, impossible to believe mistakes. all around great!

Which character – as performed by Guy Williams – was your favorite?

Gabe! he really brings the character to life.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Above average in zombie genre

This writer does a good job with his material, "shows more than tells". The characters are well developed, likeable and the banter and dialog is nicely done. I have found that as with most 'end of the world as we know it' works the first half of the book is exciting and moves well, then as the situation becomes static, i.e. we are surrounded by zombies, the day to day living becomes boring, as most life is. Anyway this book does suffer a bit from this, although not as much as others. The lead character and how he was led into the prepper world is well done, the crisis of the re-animation outbreak is well done then as we move into the last part of the book the author looses a bit of the momentum he was able to build and when the ending comes you are fine with the book being over. That said it is a good read if you are into zombie stories it is in the upper end of that class.
Recommended if you like the genre.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not easy to keep going

T

I am not a writer- so I give credit to cook for having the stamina to churn this series out. But the story telling is uneven- okay I am being kind- that is like saying the Grand Canyon is uneven but- if you are a gun nut you will love it- but for me after the 20th description of the protagonist's armament (guns guns guns grenades grenade grenades zombies zombies zombies) it starts to wear... I mean water faucet dripping at 2 in the morning kind of wear.

As for the set up and plot: There are WAY to many coinkydinks in this book. Look most good books have a few things in them that we KNOW cannot happen (okay Zombie books start with a silly premise that can never happen- as an example). But when we layer on these coincidences it makes suspension of disbelief (a key ingredient for a good work of fiction) very hard. Like this guy happens to befriend a Special Forces guy, who not only provides him with guns and survivalist training but also HAPPENS to be in on the "secret work" that will release the Zombie virus.
And the protagonist happens to have a kabillion dollars he inherited from a dead grandmother so he can build a survival compound in the mountains... well you get the picture- just to unbelievable. It has the non salutary affect of making you care less about any of the characters since it is obvious that they are not real. And I mean other than being hungry, scared and wanting sex (and occasionally being really really exhausted) they have no human emotions. Maybe the book is about the fact that in this world everyone is a zombie even those unaffected.

Having said that I made it through the first book, somewhat satisfied- sort of like when you eat and entire plate of chocolate brownies- they taste good, but are not really satisfying and after awhile you start to fill sick. Like a dummy, who cannot stop, I bought the second book in the series but half way through I said "why am I doing this to myself" and proceeded to delete the book.

And just to pile on- one card board character after another- all of them are simply pawns, queens and rooks on a chessboard for some purpose- perhaps to just write about guys shooting guns to kill zombies. That pretty much is the plot- oh I forgot the main plot twist- the he- men with guns get to rescue helpless but sexy and beautiful women from killer zombies.

Two stars for the author knowing his way around the gun shop.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great Story, but Doesn't Offer Anything New

I stumbled upon this author through someone's Goodreads review, and recently have been reading a lot of "first published independently" authors. When I discovered the author was a fellow North Carolinian and that the story takes place here in NC, I was fairly excited to try him out!

The zombie genre is, in a word, overdone these days, but I was hoping for a new twist on the theme. This one is well written, and kept me interested all the way. There were a few minor snags for me, though.

The prologue started out great. Once we get into chapter 1, however, the story jumps back to the main character's life before the outbreak. Then we get to see the outbreak itself. I don't know about you, but I've seen the zombie "origin story" enough times by now. This one is fairly straightforward, and I could have done without it.

I kept hoping we would quickly make it back to the timeline in the prologue, featuring the main characters of Eric and Gabriel. Unfortunately, the story gets sidetracked again, and I realized that I wasn't going to like the direction the story was taking. Again, don't get me wrong: the story is pretty good. I just didn't find anything particularly unique about it, nor about the rest of the plot as it unfolds. The book also suffered from a lot of cursing and bad language that I wasn't expecting and frankly could have done without.

In fact, the entire book itself is backstory, which is a shame, because it is well written and interesting. The problem is, we KNOW that Eric is going to end up with Gabriel, just two of them, holed up in a cabin inside a fence looking out on the world. I wanted to find out what happens AFTER that, and I didn't want to wait until book 2 or 3 to find out.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Zombies ... Again ... But that's okay.

Any additional comments?

This is another zombie story. That being said it is not all zombie. The survival information presented is a little more realistic. Everybody's view of the zombie apocalypse is going to be different and I think that Mr. Cook has done a reasonable job at presenting a more believable scenario that doesn't require magical escapes every other or every third page and doesn't present the protagonist as essentially immortal. Every zombie book requires some suspension of belief, this book does not require over much of it and is better than most in the genre.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good tale and action!

Any additional comments?

This is a good story with Eric who is s really easy going character and just happen to plan for the end of the world with his new buddy Gabe. It is a all out interesting story as Eric interacts with people better in a Zombie Apocalypse than before in a normal world. You will not be disappointed in this story.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Z-poc story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Highly recommended to anyone who likes post apocalyptic/zombie stories.

What did you like best about this story?

Fast paced, lots of action.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Cylestra
  • 08-31-15

Oh God - This is TRIPE!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

This book really is an appalling load of tripe and falls into the familiar trap of forgetting it's a zombie novel in favour of what sounds like the classified section of Guns 'n' Ammo. It veers horribly from pages of boring, stilted dialogue to tooth-grindingly dull prose which sees our office worker hero selecting and loading, unloading, shooting, discussing, cleaning, and strapping-to-his-manly-chest various forms of gun, rocket launcher, grenade etc. Over and over and over again. The zombies barely get a look-in. Add to this the fact that the only female characters are cooking, having sex or looking after babies and you have a novel that bites in all the wrong ways!

Has No Easy Hope put you off other books in this genre?

No, but will listen to a sample first next time.

What three words best describe Guy Williams’s voice?

Narrator was OK. Made Gabriel sound like an even bigger jerk than he actually was - which demonstrates some talent.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

All of the above!

Any additional comments?

Really, if you enjoyed World War Z, Zone One etc don't buy this - it's not fit to sit in the same genre with them.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bradley P
  • Bradley P
  • 09-23-18

Its ok

It's ok. Narration was ok. This would be a good intro book for someone new to zombie apocalypse. The gore details are light compare to other authors.