“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”– Kahlil Gibran
Title: Zombie Boyz: Ghoul’s Gym
Author: Eric Arvin and TJ Klune
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Rating: 5 Stars
**Warning: Review Contains Minor Spoilers**
Blurb: Board up the windows, push an old dresser against the door and load your shotgun. A zombie apocalypse is about to hit Wilde City, and if you want the best survival tips, six of Wilde City’s boys are here to help.
You’ll never want to exercise again as Eric Arvin and TJ Klune turn a gym full of hunks into a smorgasbord of terror in GHOUL’S GYM.
Gather your friends and fight for the man you love, as Ethan Stone and Daniel A Kaine turn Vegas into a zombie nightmare in SURVIVING SIN CITY.
And bring a date to dinner to celebrate Grumpy Grampy’s 90th birthday and introduce your family to your new zombie boyfriend in Geoffrey Knight and Ethan Day’s GUESS WHO’S COMING AT DINNER.
You’ll scream with terror and howl with laughter as Wilde City’s boys bring you our first undead anthology ZOMBIE BOYZ.
Review: Ghoul’s Gym was originally published as part of the anthology Zombie Boyz by Wilde City Press. The three novellas contained in the anthology were recently released as individual titles. I was happy for this development because I tend to steer clear of anthologies due to my OCD need to finish a book, even if I don’t like certain stories contained in it. Not that I didn’t like the novellas in this anthology, I just don’t much care for anthologies in general.
T.J. Klune said that this story originally started out as a joke between him and his fiancée Eric Arvin. Both are well-established writers on their own, and together they are amazing. They both have just enough of a sick mind to pull off a zombie story that is equal parts frightening, gory, sad and romantic. I never thought a book with the word “zombies” in the description would be capable of making me cry tears of real emotion, not fear. The authors have said that there will eventually be five novellas in this series, a collection which will be called Art of Man.
I have heard Ghoul’s Gym described as a beautiful love story and couldn’t believe that review was accurate. Until I read the story. It begins with gym-obsessed Uly and his lover, the thin, unable to develop muscles no matter how hard he works out, Jake, in bed. What a way to start a story. Uly has to get out of bed, though, to go to work at the gym where his handsy boss, Stephen, is sure to be all up in his space and touching his ass every chance he gets. Uly insists it’s no big deal, but Jake is consumed by jealousy and wants to do whatever he can to become the kind of man he thinks Uly wants. He wants to be muscle bound like Stephen and all the other men at the gym. That is how he happens to be at Uly’s place of business when the blood hits the fan.
Ghoul’s Gym is truly funny. At the same time, it is totally gory and bloody in the most descriptive terms. There are horrifying accounts of what these “men” do to one another after being infected by a new and improved steroid cocktail guaranteed to make them bigger, faster and stronger (although not bionic). No detail is spared as Klune and Arvin take us through their version of the zombie apocalypse inside the walls of the gym.
While zombies are tearing humans apart, and body parts, blood and gore are everywhere, Uly and Jake’s only thoughts are of each other. When Uly finds out that Jake is in the gym, he wants nothing more than to make sure the man he loves is kept safe. When Jake becomes infected, he focuses on his deep love for Uly as he fights to keep the human part of himself alive. The undercurrent of their love, in my mind, overshadows the terror. The authors show us that true love is stronger than anything.
In T.J. and Eric’s life, we are seeing how true this is. They are going through the valley right now and we are seeing how strong their love makes them, both individually and even more so, together. I can’t wait until Eric is well enough to continue this series. I am sure the doctors left the sick little portion of his brain that allows him to write such scary stories, intact. I, and so many others, am looking forward to the sequels to Ghoul’s Gym almost as much as we are looking forward to Eric being able to go home to T.J., where he belongs. This is a must read that takes on new meaning in light of current reality.