Noir @ the Bar: Baltimore


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Sniperlit | Donald Ray Pollock


“Four hundred or so people lived in Knockemstiff in 1957, nearly all of them connected by blood through one godforsaken calamity or another, be it lust or necessity or just plain ignorance.”

  ~ The Devil All The Time 

BIO | Donald Ray Pollock grew up in Knockemstiff, Ohio, and quit high school at seventeeen to work in a meatpacking plant. He then spent thirty-two years employed as a laborer at the Mead Paper Corporation in Chillicothe, Ohio, before enrolling in the MFA program at Ohio State University. His first book, a collection of stories called Knockemstiff, won the 2009 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship. His novel, The Devil All The Time, is forthcoming from Doubleday in July, 2011. Though pretty much a Luddite when it comes to most computer stuff, he is now on Facebook ( and also has a website at

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“I Would Recommend It To The Whole World”


Photo by Gina Angelella

I can’t speak for all writers, but I find that when it comes to my novel ZOMBIE the reviews and reader responses are quite often polarized: some loving the book, some hating the book. After a while I find I am not surprised by these opinions. I embrace both genuinely as everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and that’s the beauty of this weird path that writers choose to travel. All we can do is inhabit the worlds that matter to us and hope that our fictitious worlds matters to others too.

I am a writer who writes for myself, never writing for others, or towards what I believe readers want to read. I write what I would want to read. I write about all of the darkness in my life to make it light.

In the spirit of honest opinions and the many literary critiques, I would like to share the following: a book report written by a young man. It is funny, honest, endearing, heartfelt and inspiring. More than anything though, it reminded me that for every hundred people who think negative thoughts about me or my book, that there are readers out there that connect to the material in ways I could never have imagined.


J.R. Angelella’s purpose in writing the book, Zombie a Novel, is to show the reader that even though you get scared of something, the reader should not let that overcome them. The reader should stand with his head high and face the problem no matter what the cost.The book shows how scary things can get in a person’s way, but we have to fight it. The zombies in the story can represent the reader’s problems. When the main character, Jeremy, defeats the zombie, this can represent the reader overcoming his/her problem. Zombie a Novel is a really funny book too. All the jokes that are mentioned in the book will make the reader die laughing.

Zombie a Novel was well written. The author knew when to make a joke and when not to. The book levels the funniness, meaning that the book is not always jokes. The book gets tense sometimes. For example there is a point in the book where Jeremy mentions two boys “punching each other in the arm hard, screaming Dead Arm” (Angelella 27). Even though the book included curse words, it was still well written. The curse words make this book more for mature people that can handle it. The part that made me laugh the most was when the father of Jeremy, the main character said “the size of a man’s knot. His bastion of strength” (Angelella 3). The story knows know to entertain people.

The book was extremely captivating. There is no other book in the world that can make a person laugh as much as this one. This story knows how to make the reader laugh his butt off. I related to Jeremy so much. It’s was like we both had the same life. His father in the story is always trying to make jokes just like my mother. This book was not boring at all. There will never be a chapter where I would not laugh. This book was funny. The impact that this book can have on its audience is indescribable. This book will never be forgotten by any of its readers, that how much this book can impact the reader. This book will have a lasting value because it sticks in the readers like glue on paper. This book makes the reader feel like he is in a movie. The way the author wrote this book can be compared with the best movie out there.

This book is just so mind blowing that the reader will want to read it again and again. I would recommend this book to the whole world if I could. I would recommend it to the whole world because it just makes the reader laugh so much that it starts hurting their cheek bones. For example when Dirtbag Boy, one of the characters in the book, doesn’t know how to swim he tells his coach and his coach says “Don’t care. Show me that you’re not some artsy, fartsy, ballshwank. Show me you got a pair of stones. Now dive” (Angelella 191). This book is really one of a kind. I think the greatest strength of this story is that it never stops making the reader laugh. There is not one page that won’t make the reader laugh. This book makes a connection with the reader. I think that this book doesn’t really have a weakness unless the reader hates laughing. This story really doesn’t show any type of problem.

The book, Zombie a Novel, written by J.R. Angelella is a phenomenal book. If you have not read it I beg you to. There is really no excuse for you not to read this. If you want to laugh then this is the book for you. This book has nothing wrong with it. It is really well written. Also, the book is captivating. This book will astonish the reader in so many ways, I can’t even count them. This story is truly amazing. J.R. Angelella sure does know how to right a hysterical book.


For every budding writers out there, here is some advice: write what you want to read and you’ll be just fine. Promise.


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Get Involved | #GotZombie Campaign

Spread the word and get involved —> take your most creative pictures of your copy of ZOMBIE and email no more than 3 to the following email address: zombiebarker AT gmail DOT com.

Your picture(s) can be a selfie holding your ZOMBIE or your ZOMBIE snuggled up next to a sleeping baby OR your ZOMBIE chillin’ at the laundromat OR a group shot of you and your friends all reading your own ZOMBIES OR something way more creative.

Truth-be-told, I cannot take credit for this #GotZombie Campaign. I must give whole credit to the dozen (or so) whipsmart early ZOMBIE readers who enjoyed the novel so much that they took some funny, some creepy, some crazy, some bizarre pictures of their ZOMBIE in a variety of situations and sent them to me as a token of their kindness. In turn, my response to their brilliant enthusiasm and blissful creativity was to create the #GotZombie Campaign —> a worldwide event where anyone with a camera or camera phone and access to email can get involved.

[To be clear, I am not asking folks to post their #GotZombie pictures to any social media sites anymore, but rather to simply email them to the address above, so that I can cage and contain them until the day comes when I release them all into the world together, like the good little army of undead that they are!]

I have received the most inspired #GotZombie pictures of late and trust me when I say that it’s KILLING me to keep them quiet until the #GotZombie Apocalypse ascends which according to some zombie experts is predicted to occur on Monday, July 8, 2013 which is only weeks away!

In addition, I have added an small incentive for you competitive-types out there: the person who submits the “best” [and by “best” I mean that I will not be judging, but will instead defer to my publisher Soho Press] #GotZombie picture will receive 1) an autographed copy of ZOMBIE with some silly personalized inscription; and 2) the very last of the promotional ZOMBIE key chain displayed below:

zombie key chain

The last of the ZOMBI key chains.

Now go take your ZOMBIE picture. [Be safe though.] Get crazy. Go wild. [Not too crazy or wild. I don’t want anyone getting hurt.] The only rule is that there are no rules. [But really there are rules. Nothing offensive, please. (I know what you are thinking: ‘Nothing offensive? And this coming from the dude who wrote ZOMBIE.)] Let your imagination flow. [But flow naturally, not chemically.] And send me your best #GotZombie pictures.

Hope & Health.


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Zombie by J. R. Angelella

Zombie by J. R. Angelella
[Soho Press]

BEST OF 2012

J.R. Angelella


“Angelella’s debut novel crackles with energy and attitude.”
Publishers Weekly

“A breathless, white-knuckle experiment in pure terror.”

“A superb debut.”
—Zouch Magazine

“A brass-knuckle book, reminiscent in tone to Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club…. A great choice for readers who are excited by stories with offbeat characters.”
—School Library Journal

Zombie basically starts at 10 mph and ends at 100…. The book got better and better as I read.
Hello Giggles (Zooey Deschanel’s website)

“A coming-of-age tale—angry and violent but full of heart—with stellar prose, first-rate dialogue and a cinematic eye for detail.”
Shelf Awareness

“Dark and unforgettable.”
Horror News Net

Zombie is fierce, brave and entertaining literature.”
Opinionless Reviews

“You won’t forget these characters, or the Zombie Survival Code quickly.”
Bookshelf Bombshells

Zombie is truly a feat in storytelling. It reads like a novel Chuck Palahniuk would write after reading too much Robert Cormier while taking swearing lessons from Chuck Wendig.”
The Guilded Earlobe

“When it starts to slip into David Lynch territory, I was absolutely mesmerized…The final act is gruesome and cathartic, smart and gripping. I would recommend this book to anyone. This is easily one on of the most entertaining novels I’ve read in years.”
The Blog of the Living Dead

“It’s simultaneously a bildungsroman à la Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, an homage to zombies in pop culture, and a twisted mystery all wrapped up into one utterly original – and darkly delightful – novel. Angelella’s debut novel is a coming-of-age gem . . . one of those rare novels that was so satisfying, I actually hugged the book when I finished.”
Paul Goat Allen,


“Wow!  A crazy, wicked, knock-out of a book!”
Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

“An irreverent and twisted coming-of-age story with one of the most shocking endings I’ve ever read.”
Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook

“J.R. Angelella has created a bracing tale of a fractured mind. Zombie will make you laugh, shake your head in recognition, and go for the aluminum bat in your basement.”
—Ned Vizzini, author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story and The Other Normals

“J.R. Angelella is a truly gifted writer. Zombie is one of the smartest, strangest, and most beautifully crafted coming-of-age stories you will ever encounter.”
Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time

“If you want to know how teenagers feel and what they say when adults aren’t around, Zombie—a funny and very authentic, well-written first novel by J. R. Angelella—should definitely be the next book you read.”
—John Waters
, author of Role Models, and writer/director of Hairspray and Pink Flamingos.

 “Your home life’s an apocalypse, school’s the plague, and you’re growing up in a wasteland. To survive this zombie movie of a life is probably going to take more than you’ve got. But a world where the dead walk is also a world with miracles. Have faith. Read this book.”
Stephen Graham Jones, author of Growing Up Dead in Texas


“J. R. Angelella’s Zombie is Holden Caulfield meets Eyes Wide Shut and Fight Club.  It’s like riding the Cyclone thinking you were on the Scooby Doo.”
—Richard Angelella, my father

“I really like your book. It’s a positive message.  Congratulations!  You are amazing. The book is amazing.”
—Ann Angelella, my mother


Barnes & Noble | “The Catcher in the Rye Meets Dawn of the Dead: Angelella’s Debut Novel a Coming-of-Age Gem” by Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly | Zombie Review

The Guilded Earlobe | “Audiobook Review: Zombie by J. R. Angelella” by Bob Reis

Concord Carlisle Young Adult Galley |Zombie: a Great Twist on Genre” by Robin Cicchetti

Bookshelf Bombshells | “REVIEW: Zombie by J.R. Angelella” by Laura Baas

Typographical Era |Zombie by J. R. Angelella”

Best of 2012

Bloody Disgusting’s BEST & WORST of Twenty Twelve  |  #9. Zombie, by J.R. Angelella (June 5; Soho Press) | “This coming of age tale doesn’t really qualify as horror, but the genre roots run so deep, it’s begging for a spot. Angelella’s story of a nerdy teenager using his love of zombie films to cope with an increasingly depressing reality manages to tap into the collective subconscious of horror geeks worldwide. An impressive debut.”

The Guilded Earlobe’s Top 20 Audiobooks of 2012  |  #18. Zombie by J. R. Angelella | Read by Alston Brown | AudioGo| “Zombie is truly a feat in storytelling. It reads like a novel Chuck Palahniuk would write after reading too much Robert Cormier. Full of witty dialogue, pop culture references and a unique rivalry between the bittersweet and the bizarre, Zombie is a buzz worthy book that defies classification, but would definitely make a wonderful edition to anyone’s bookshelf.”

Cozy Little Book Journal | Best of 2012: Mystery/Thriller Roundup  |  #11. Zombie by J.R. Angelella

Atomic Books | 2012 Best Sellers: Fiction  |  #20. Zombie by J.R. Angelella

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