Thicker than Blood by Madeline Sheehan
Thicker than Blood: A true friendship never dies.
Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything… Even an apocalypse.
Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.
Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.
Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.
Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.
But in such a savage world, is there room for love?
In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.
There are friends…
And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.
NOTE TO READERS: **Thicker than Blood is the first in a series consisting of several STANDALONE novels all based in the same setting.**
Claire C. Riley is the author of Odium: The Dead Saga, Limerence, and several other full-length novels. Claire lives in the U.K. with her three young daughters, husband, and scruffy dog.
Madeline Sheehan is the author of the Holy Trinity series and the Undeniable series. She lives in Buffalo, New York, with her husband and son. Visit Madeline at madelinesheehan.com.
C. J. Bloom is an actress and voice-over artist. She can be heard on commercials, video games, and promos. C. J. comes to narration with a passion for performance along with the capability to span several genres, from romance to children’s literature and thrillers.
Review By Gail H on January 10, 2015
***Caution-May contain possible spoilers, although I tried not to include any during my review****
Thicker Than Blood is poised to become the latest true horror masterpiece. Authors Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley nail this unique and unforgettable post-apocalyptic story from two alternating POVs; dealing with a future ravaged not just by the “infected”, but citizens who are as psychologically dead as the infected bodies that won’t stay dead. This thrill ride focuses on two best friends, Leisel and Evelyn, and their struggle to exist in world where the danger of mindless cannibals is second only to the danger of people whose souls have been destroyed by corruption and wickedness. In this midst of this horror lies a beautiful tale of love and friendship that reach far beyond the old world, it overcomes the difficulties of the new order and takes Leisel and Evelyn to places they could never reach alone.
Imagine if Dorothy had clicked her heels 3 times, repeating “There’s no place like home” and woke up from her dream, only to find that her home is no longer like home, in fact, it’s a much worse place than a flying monkeys and wicked witch nightmare. What if Dorothy had awaken to a world with no soap, clean clothes, Starbucks, cold beer, and where a plague has turned the majority of the world population into soulless cannibals. Welcome to the nightmare of Evelyn and Leisel, two best friends who are as different as day and night, but need each other as much as the air that they breathe in order to survive.
In the old world just four years ago, before the Vaal Fever had attacked and killed most of the population, Evelyn and Leisel are the wives of two best friends, husbands who treasure and adore both women. After the Vaal Fever becomes a world-wide pandemic, Evelyn and Leisel watch as the world crumples, making deathbed promises to their dying husbands that they’d never give up and to survive no matter what. Both women are left widowed without their soulmates, but time proves that these two women who are as different as the sun is to the moon, are as much a constant, rock, and heart to each other. Leisel and Evelyn take up residence in a small protected town of Fredericksville, but they soon find out that protection comes with a price, a very large price….FREEDOM. Women are no longer equals, in fact they are as much as a commodity as livestock or a pet, and if you are unfortunate enough to have a masochistic pet owner/aka/husband, there isn’t a whole lot a gal can do about it.
After a few years of abuse from the town’s leader and Leisel’s current husband, Lawrence, Evelyn and Leisel have no other choice but to die or flee from Fredericksville, but nothing could have prepared the women of the horrors that lie outside the protected fence surrounding the town. Evelyn and Leisel thought that avoiding the being bitten or eaten by the plague of undeads, known as the infected, would be their hardest problem, but they find out that the misogynist behavior in Fredericksville is not an isolated situation, and that what the infection didn’t destroy, mankind does a dutiful job of messing it up with greed and evilness. In the end they leave HeII, but end up residing in Purgatory.
Along their journey, Evelyn who is seen as the strong force realizes that she needs Leisel’s softness and perceived fragility in order to prevent her from becoming like the remainder of the heartless citizens. Evelyn is struggling not to become the poor can of creamed corn that nobody wants or loves, but is passed along to someone else. Leisel strives to overcome her self-doubts stemming from three years of physical and mental abuse from Lawrence, and learns that she possesses more inner strength than anyone had credited the mousey, skittish housewife. Leisel also comes to terms that she has been given a second chance at not only life, but also love by an unlikely source, Alex, a man who served under command to Lawrence. As Leisel, Evelyn, and Alex work at providing protection and strength to each other, they also serve to be one another’s greatest weakness, and all these outside forces are working diligently to control, manipulate, and own these three survivors. One thing is for sure, survivors who hold on to hope and dream of a better life are as out of place in the new world, and as doomed as the infected.
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