A trio of tales ranging from suspenseful to quirky and weird, and finally a deft blend of humor-laced horror . . . With 3-Z, author Lori R. Lopez presents a brief set of zombie shorts to satisfy your cravings. In Pound Of Flesh a woman is trapped next to a hungry moldering maniac when a Halloween Zombie Walk turns real. A Big Problem is a darkly humorous bizarro piece that presents a cross-eyed view of The Undead. Knock Knock describes what can happen when a Trick-Or-Treater isn’t actually wearing a costume.
Look for the author’s horror collection Unhallowed, containing 3-Z!
E-Book: 8,208 Words
Age Range: 12 and up.
“ZZZ. Huh? What’s that banging?” Nelle was asleep when the apocalypse began, so she missed the news. She often napped at Midday: Midmorning, Midafternoon, Midevening. It made no difference to her.
~ from Knock Knock
Life is the excitement. It’s up to you what you do with it.
~ from Pound Of Flesh
SACRIFICE. That’s what it’s all about. Giving your pound of flesh to get ahead in this world, this modern megalopolis we have wrought with hammers and sweat and steel. Plenty of concrete.
I’ve had time to finally think about stuff like that, with my left leg pinned below a delivery truck. I was always too busy living to brood over life before. And look where that got me. In the end it’s what we’re willing to do for survival that counts. Depending on the circumstances. Right now the odds are not in my favor.
There are those who led privileged lives, plain and civilized from birth to death, without their world going to hell. The world in general is another thing; it often seems to be going to hell, with this war, that crisis, yet usually isn’t personal. You can hear about it from a distance, as long as it isn’t happening to you or in front of you. There are folks who probably perceived their lot as uneventful and yearned for adventure — for something out of the ordinary to shake things up. Perhaps they even felt deprived by the stark nature of their existence. I envy them. But I’m here to tell you: They were wrong.
Pound Of Flesh
A Big Problem
“This is my first foray into the land of Lori Lopez, and what an unexpectedly wonderful trip it has been. Not one paragraph into the first short story and I was hooked. “Sacrifice. That’s what it’s all about. Giving your pound of flesh to get ahead in this world, this modern megalopolis we have wrought with hammers and sweat and steel. Plenty of concrete.”
Starting off, there’s no zombies, no gore, no life-threatening moments, yet from the first paragraph, I [was] pulled in by her simple yet profound way of stating things. Each of the three stories has a different feel to it, a different flavor, yet each is well-written and striking in its own right. If someone had shown me these stories separately, I probably would not have guessed they were by the same author, though I would still maintain that each was written by someone with an unusual way with words. It points to a great talent on Lopez’s part to keep things ‘fresh’. . . . As I loved the author’s style and the way she builds the characters in her stories, I wouldn’t hesitate to read more from her.”
UTTERLY UNDEAD READS
“Oooooh now this was good! Really good!
When I downloaded this I didn’t have very high expectations as in my opinion the whole Zombie thing has been done to death, however, this was so different, very well written and so quirky and weird.
This isn’t your average zombie apocalypse, this is a collection of 3 personal stories of an individual’s run-in with the undead. It’s creepy, gory and darkly humourous; which is totally my thing!”
DEATH BY BOOK AVALANCHE; Goodreads Review
“As always with LRL the wording is lilting but has such a wonderful depth. I love that she makes me look up words!
This is 3 amazing zombie based stories all wrapped up in one snuggle fest.
Pounds of Flesh: As you read the full extent of the horrible situation it dawns on you how brilliant LRL writing is, as she slowly leaks little pieces of information to you, like panning back/outward when watching a film. As the emotion is ratchet up with a phone call LRL manages to slip in all sorts of horrifying descriptions in that lovely lyrical “did she actually say that” style. The ending was not what I expected but welcome nonetheless.
A Big Problem: oh my goodness, should you really be giggling [the] whole way through a horror story? Just who do you call when your ear falls off from the zombie virus? Dagdon of course! He has the solution to all the issues….
Knock, Knock: another one to make your heart bleed. A real case of mistaken identity, I cant say too much without giving what happens away but this was by far the best ending I have ever read! . . . so cleverly written you begin to doubt who the trick or treater is too.”
THE FLUFFY RED FOX REVIEWS; Amazon
“3-Z is a very short collection of zombie stories — a sampler of Lopez’s wares, if you will — and it certainly serves as a fine introduction to what’s going on in that twisted cranium of hers.
The first story, ‘Pound of Flesh’ is an excellent tale of a Zombie Walk gone wrong, told by a wife and mother trapped beneath a fallen lorry, while one of the undead lies prone, bare inches away from her. As bad a situation as she is in, things just go from bad, to worse and then downhill some more, which is just the way I like my apocalypse. It’s a gripping read, with genuine emotion and torment etched onto every page — desperation, despair, and a nice brand of gallows humour from the main character. What more could you ask for?
Unfortunately, for this reader at least, the next story . . . could be a spectacular example of the genre, but it just leaves me cold. The writing and the language is as good as anything else in the collection, but the story leaves me scratching my head in confusion, rather than clawing my eyes out in terror.
The final story, ‘Knock, Knock’ is more traditional horror fare, about an old woman and an unexpected guest on Halloween. As with ‘Pound of Flesh’ the zombie element seems to be there to fuel the real story. Both tales are wonderful character studies, with beautifully realised central characters who are lost at sea among a world of undead cadavers. The old lady in this piece seems so sweet and lovely, though you feel there is a curmudgeonly facade going on there as well. In short, you care for her — just as you do for the woman in ‘Pound of Flesh’ and caring is half the battle in making the threat mean something.”
Kevin G. Bufton
THE BLOODY BLOODY BOOK REVIEW; Amazon U.K. and Goodreads Reviews
“I really enjoyed these three tales, made me laugh, cringe and wonder all in one little collection. great job. Keep them coming!”
“The three shorts in this book are so different from one another that it is almost hard to believe that they came from the same mind, but as a fan of this author I can assure you they did. Lori Lopez has a way with her words that puts you right into the stories, just as she does here.
In Pound of Flesh I felt the pain and the need of the mother to make sure her daughter was safe while she suffered through pain and fear. Followed by A Big Problem where I learned the most rational people are often the ones lacking common sense and fear. Finally,Knock Knock where love can turn into horror in the blink of an eye. The character learns that love can even find you after death.
Great stories and I highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys zombies, horror or even a few quick and gripping reads to help occupy your mind for a bit.”
“Non-traditional zombie tales ahead! Is it wrong to find zombies humorous? These three (3) – Z (zombie) shorts are not laugh out loud funny, but they are wickedly droll. I love the author’s style! Hats off to Lori R. Lopez [who] never fails to entertain readers with her unique wit, charm, and perspective.
Lori Lopez writes creepy fun with super quirky illustrations of her own hand. She is an author I always return to and enjoy. I think you’ll really dig her too.”
Amazon; Goodreads Reviews
“[G]ood story line, worth reading ;-)”
“Original and fun . . . content with whimsy. A unique voice, certainly and an easy way to spend an hour. I recommend this collection.”
“I really enjoyed this book, I don’t normally read short stories as I like something to keep me reading long into the night but as it was a series and free thought I would give it a try. I am so pleased I did . . . If you want a bit of funny mixed in with the fear get this now you’ll love it.”
“ It’s no secret that zombies as a whole; the genre, the idea, and the concept is a little…pardon the pun, rotten. It’s been done to death, over-saturated, and abused. I’ve personally loved the genre since the days of Romero and his many imitators. However, in modern day horror, zombies have become a bit of a laughing stock. In 3-Z this is even referenced at times. What I love is when someone takes a stab at the genre and takes a different approach. With 3-Z, Lori R. Lopez has done just that.
Three short, disturbing, eerie, and darkly humorous tales of various zombie mayhem are on display. In the very short span of this book, Lopez manages to keep the material fresh, funny and frightening. Three simple premises are spun before our eyes and not once does it feel she is pinching from other sources. It’s easy to do in the zombie genre but what Lopez does is downscale the chaos to three tiny situations. Zombies stories are normally about the worldwide catastrophe and chaos. In 3-Z, it’s about the solitary characters and their personal situation. In one delightful tale, the story doesn’t leave an old ladies living room. Another finds our hapless heroine pinned to the road, inches from a zombie who wants to eat her flesh. These original concepts make 3-Z stand out from an overly full crowd and are very, very enjoyable.
5* — Absolutely. Tension is built effortlessly, the zombies are realistic and a true threat to our characters — who we come to love in a very rapid timeframe — and not once do we feel short-changed. Lopez has gone low-key with the stories on display here and it works like a charm. I think it’s time to see what else she can do in the horror genre. If her others efforts are as refreshing as this, consider me a fan. Excellent work.”
“3-Z, by Lori. R. Lopez is vintage Lori. A Pound Of Flesh is beyond explaining. I have never read a Zombie tale which captured the human side of what might happen if the Zombie Apocalypse were to come any better than Lori has here. A Big Problem and Knock Knock are pure delight with what I must describe as a wonderful blend of bizarro and cognitive thought. The ending of Knock Knock was superb. A Big Problem was a gem of a read with many plots and subplots that had me hanging on for more. Read these gems. You will be delighted!”
Robert Nelson (author Blaze McRob)
Amazon; Smashwords Review
“3-Z is a collection of three zombie stories. The first story is ‘Pound of Flesh’. From the beginning, Lopez’s wonderful writing grabbed me. From the book: “SACRIFICE. That’s what it’s all about. Giving your pound of flesh to get ahead in this world, this modern megalopolis we have wrought with hammers and sweat and steel. Plenty of concrete.”
Then and there, I knew I was going to end up reviewing this piece. Despite the title, this zombie tale is gore-free. What you get instead is a story with depth. I truly felt the main character’s desperation in this piece. Still, the writer managed to inject a great deal of humor into the dreadful scenario. The result: a totally enjoyable read.
The second story, ‘A Big Problem’ wasn’t exactly as scary or as crazy as I hoped it would be. . . . But I did enjoy the exchanges between the main characters and read the story with a small smile on my face. This didn’t quite do it for me but in the end, Lori Lopez’s good writing and humor became this story’s redeeming factor.
The last story ‘Knock, Knock’ was more like old school horror. And that’s a cool thing. It’s like when you already have an idea of what’s going to happen next but still, the story constantly grips you. The pros in this story were the well-realized characters and the scene with the cats, oh yeah, I loved that particular part. 😉
So what did I learn from this short story collection? That Lori R. Lopez is a versatile horror author perfect for the eclectic reader (like me). And yes, I’m going to check out her other books as well.
I devoured Lori R. Lopez’s 3-Z in one sitting.”
THE ECLECTIC ECCENTRIC BLOG; Amazon Review
“Lopez can certainly write, but there are aspects of the three tales that left me feeling flat. However (and I want to make this clear in the first paragraph) I am sufficiently taken with her work to investigate further and try some more of her prose to see what she is capable of.
The opening piece, ‘A Pound of Flesh’ is a solid zombie tale featuring a woman and a zombie trapped within feet of one another, pinned beneath an overturned lorry — a great premise. Things start bad for our protagonist and only get worse from there. My issue with the story is that things get resolved way too easily, and far too quickly. It’s as if Lopez tried to squeeze a novelette’s worth of narrative into a couple of thousand words, and left all the jeopardy on the cutting room floor.
‘A Big Problem’ is up next, and this has more of a bizarro feel to it than straight horror. . . . That said, it is a more grounded piece than most, rather than being weird for the sake of weird, so it has that going for it.
‘Knock Knock’ is the final story, and it’s a good one. Indeed, this is the one that convinced me to seek out more of her work. A woman who lost her husband and son has her isolated, cat-filled existence interrupted by a knock at the door, resulting in… well, that would be telling. Suffice it to say that Lopez sets the scene well, imbuing her words with a real sense of melancholy on behalf of her lead character, and peppering the scene-setting with some delightful touches that really hammer home how low the woman’s life has become. A very well-written story, and one I can recommend.”
“What a fun read. Simply awesome. There’s one tale here that blew my mind, gave me some ideas, like maybe I could get back to the craft. Lori is a wonder. Thank you Lori.”
P. D. Durie
“The epitome of short stories: 3-Z catered to my love of Gore and horror. I read it again and again.”
“[G]reat imaginative short stories. I would like to see more from the author, Lopez. Definitely worth to check out by any reader.”
Claire R. Gayder
“Definitely kept me up late…good read!!!”
“Three fairly short zombie stories that were pretty good. I enjoyed the ending of the third one the most. Definitely a different twist.”
Amazon; Goodreads Review
“Brilliantly different: I absolutely loved this short read, everyone should read it, it’s nutty but understandable and grim too. Really would love to read more of this.”
“Very short but quite an entertaining read. Different and silly but good none the less.”
About The Author & Artist
Lori R. Lopez might not have met any real-life zombies as far as she can tell. There have been people she wondered about, and people who wondered about her. But that is probably another tale, or many.
What you need to know about her writing is that she does not make it up in the ordinary sense, for nothing she does is perfectly or imperfectly ordinary. Her process is very complicated, for it involves unlatching the hinged lid of her head, which is usually under Lori’s hat, whichever hat she happens to be wearing that is, and then reaching up to fish around inside until her next story idea hops into her hand or gets stuck to her fingers. Sometimes this is merely brain matter or random goop that she has to flick back into her pot of brain soup or she might end up missing a few too many braincells (it happens). Sometimes it is the chewing gum that Lori accidentally inhaled up her nose as a child. When it is a genuine idea, she must sort the nonsense from the sense, more or less. In case she finds any wheat or chaff, however, she saves it in her pocket for later . . . when she will add it to her collection of dough-like substance for baking bread. Not that she bakes bread, of course. She leaves that to the elves who live in her left shoe (which always seems a bit tight). Lori then tosses the idea at her computer screen to see what adheres and what drops to the floor. That is how she edits her manuscripts.
Before computers, she would toss ideas at blank sheets of typing paper in hopes of creating works of genius directly from her mind to the page. This didn’t turn out as well and took much longer. It was also rather messy. She is vastly relieved to be living in the modern age.
Lori composed 3-Z one Halloween while eating too much candy.