• Recommended Age Range:  12 and up
  • Formats:  E-Book
  • Approx. Length:  6,717 Words

After the Zombie Apocalypse, civilization adapts to troubled times.  But can the living and the undead co-exist in peace?  A zombie defender must question his principles when a hunter becomes infected by the zombie plague and threatens the boy’s mother in Heartbeat.

A group of young zombie sympathizers are the only thing standing between the diseased and their hunters, who collect a fee for each undead bagged.  It’s a new world where humans have learned to lead semi-normal lives despite the zombie plague.  But when a zombie protector’s mother is endangered by a bitten hunter, a boy must question his beliefs and make a choice:  protect the zombies or his mom.  This is a different zombie tale, one told with humor as well as horror, from the perspective of a young man wrestling to do the right thing in a world gone wrong.


“YOU MIGHT NOT THINK a twelve-year-old ballcapped kid with a buzzcut and a smart mouth could be classified an expert at anything.  But it’s a new world, one where comic-book readers and role-playing geeks are in their element.  You see, it’s the age of the zombie.  And nerds rule.”

A heartbeat is what truly separates us from the dead — whether restless or asleep in the ground; floating as ashes and dust or flickering as ghosts.

~ from Heartbeat

YOU MIGHT NOT THINK a twelve-year-old ballcapped kid with a buzzcut and a smart mouth could be classified an expert at anything.  But it’s a new world, one where comic-book readers and role-playing geeks are in their element.  You see, it’s the age of the zombie.  And nerds rule.

It’s perfectly reasonable.  We understand them.  We appreciate them.  We know what they want and as long as we give it to them, they leave us alone.

It’s like a symbiotic relationship.  They give us something too:  satisfaction.  They’re monsters, so you gotta love em!  If you’re like me, that is.

Okay, they are kind of dumb.  Lame even.  But seriously, they’re dead and yet they’re still walking.  So to speak.  Lurching might be more accurate.  And they are the most disgusting people on the planet.  They never bathe, never comb their hair or brush their teeth, or wash their hands and faces before and after a meal.  How cool is that?  What kid wouldn’t wanna be like them?

They are indeed a mom’s worst nightmare for a role model.  And I’ve got to confess, I have no desire to be one.  Yet the things hold an avid fascination for me, and I’ve developed a fondness towards them.

Many are shriveled and gross, yet they keep on ticking.  Not actually, because their hearts have stopped.  It’s just an expression my mother said was from ads for a wristwatch.  Pop Culture Trivia is her hobby.  History buffs like her feel it’s vital not to lose our human heritage.  “In the past are buried the seeds for the future,” to quote my mom.

A heartbeat is what truly separates us from the dead — whether restless or asleep in the ground; floating as ashes and dust or flickering as ghosts.

Honors & Praise

“Favorite zombie book: The best zombie story I’ve read so far. I love how the author wrote the main character’s voice. He was fun to read.”

“I liked HEARTBEAT.  A plague has fallen on earth.  Zombies are roaming the streets.  Not everyone is affected.  People are learning to live with their new reality.  Kids are still kids – curious, adaptive, funny, cute, and very, very protective of their moms.  This story will tug at your heartstrings while scaring your pants off.


(From a review for Chocolate-Covered Eyes) HEARTBEAT . . . is chock full of zombies.  I see it as a metaphor for our world today.  I did not see the end coming!  And when it comes to story telling; isn’t that what we all hope for?  A surprise at the end!”

Geri Small Graham
Barnes & Noble, Smashwords Reviews

“Favorite zombie book: The best zombie story I’ve read so far. I love how the author wrote the main character’s voice. He was fun to read. He is a zombie protector with a group of his friends. Something has happened to his mother’s boyfriend and he was left with two choices: kill zombies or protect his mother. It was a wild and fun read. It was a quick read too. Highly recommended to everyone to check this out. I most certainly want to keep reading anything Lori R. Lopez had written.”

HEARTS ON FIRE; Goodreads Review

“Heartbeat: A fun zombie story from a young boy’s perspective. Good characters and tight plotting make this a good addition to the zombie sub-genre.”

(From a review for CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES)
Gabryyl Pierce
PARAYOURNORMAL “PYN” (Another dimension…or next door.)

“Lori Lopez is one of the most talented new authors I’ve read in the last decade.
Lori’s writing is flawless.  She’s the first self-published author I’ve seen whose work isn’t riddled with grammatical errors.  Thank you for that, Ms. Lopez!

This story is twisted, disturbing, horrifying and yet sensitive with an innocent overall feel.  Told from the perspective of a 12 year old boy, the tale manages to give readers the gore we crave while maintaining a charming naivete.

Ms. Lopez is talented and highly intelligent, displaying an excellent understanding of people of all ages (IMO, the single most important quality a writer must possess). This story is the kind you start reading after your coffee cup is full and you’ve found a comfortable spot to snuggle into.  You’ll need to prepare yourself to read it and make sure you won’t be disturbed for a while, because once you start there is no stopping!


This is the first I’ve read of Lori’s work and to be honest, I didn’t want to take the time to write a review before devouring the next book!

Before we move on, credit must be given where it’s due:  Lori R. Lopez makes fewer grammatical mistakes than any other self-published author I have seen. . . . This is allowing for the extra commas and sentence fragments that contribute to the flow of the story; Ms. Lopez’s creative license.  These deliberate “errors” should ONLY be included by authors skilled enough to use them seamlessly.  Too often, the use of them is attempted by authors who don’t know what they’re doing; we’ve all cringed as we’ve seen them jump off the page.  Kudos to this lady for her intellect and instincts!

In addition to this rare skill, Ms. Lopez displays a very broad vocabulary, necessary to prevent any story from becoming dull and/or monotonous.
The pace of this story was perfect.  The descriptions were enough to give us mental images yet not so detailed as to cause any lag.  The narrative thoughts of our protagonist are interrupted often enough by action to thwart tedium while giving the boy just enough time to effectively communicate with his audience.  I noticed no lulls and never felt rushed.  Again, not an easy skill to master!

The story itself is touching albeit horrifying.  A boy on the cusp of becoming a young man has been raised in a time when zombies are commonplace.  Mankind is struggling to come to terms with the zombies’ existence even as they fight for survival.  When the boy’s own mother is in danger of being infected with the virus responsible for zombieism, he must make a choice:  protect the caring woman who gave him life, or stick to his unconventional ambition to protect zombies?

This story is for young adults as well as any adult who remembers how challenging it was to be one.  I give this opinion because understanding and compassion for the boy is essential to appreciating the tale.

I greatly enjoyed the experience of reading Ms. Lopez’s work and can’t find any aspect to criticize!”

Tiffiny Sarradet
Amazon and Goodreads Reviews


“Lori R. Lopez’s Heartbeat is an absolutely beautiful story with an ending that broke and warmed my heart at the same time. I love the way Lori portrayed the relationship between the mother and the son; the depth and purity of their affection toward each other truly make the story a marvelous one. Another thing worth mentioning is the idea of questioning common attitudes. Even though the protagonist and his friends were raised in a society that instilled certain beliefs in them, they were bold enough to utilize their own judgment and develop different ideas upon reaching maturity. Of course, some of us can question their practices as well, but I feel Lori's intention, in this case, is simply to encourage the use of our conscience without blindly accepting everything society tells us. I would recommend the story to young adults as well as older readers.”

Afifa Raisa for Readers’ Favorite

“Today I read Lori R. Lopez’ Heartbeat. Not having read anything she’d written before I started reading with the notion I would get through a little bit of her story tonight and get back to it another time but found that I was unable to stop until I reached the end. Lori’s story is exceptional! Her writing is superior, better than most of today’s well known [authors] and of equal caliber as [writers] like Stephen King and John Grisham. With a writing style that is unique and masterful, her descriptive writing is flawless. Lori captivated me with her opening paragraph. No, her first sentence actually hooked me. . . . Take a bow Lori R. Lopez, you are an incredible author!”

Quinn Cullen
Amazon; Goodreads Review

“Once again, Ms. Lopez has caught me in her web and drawn me into suspension of disbelief.  This time she only took one paragraph to do it.  To say Ms. Lopez has talent would be an understatement.  She takes ordinary words and turns them into extraordinary stories.

The world has gone mad.  The zombies have taken to the streets and are now the majority.  But all will be well if only the government would take on the care and feeding of them.  After all they are, or were, citizens, aren’t they?  Into the chasm of neglect come the self described geeks.  Zombies have been around their entire lives.  There is nothing new here.  But feeding them?  Now that takes genius.  But even the best laid plans can go awry and when your mother is at risk the game changes.  I am not going to say anymore since I don’t want to ruin the story.”

Karen Bryant Doering
PARENTS’ LITTLE BLACK BOOK; Smashwords and Amazon Reviews

“Bittersweet: This is a zombie tale with a difference. Zombies are about but treated more like the homeless. A group of kids try to ‘tame’ them by feeding them cadavers brains, so they won’t need to go hunting . . . an interesting take on the zombie genre. Zombies have become the norm but are still more or less shunned by society, but there is a group of boys who ‘sympathise’ with them and their plight whilst still realising how dangerous they are. . . . It raises an interesting ethical question. Is it OK to dispatch so long as it is someone you don’t know? Beautifully written with great pathos. I recommend this.”

Kim Tomsett-Fowler
WISTFULSKIMMIES BOOK REVIEWS; Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

“. . . the realism of a fifties era family is set against a zombie infestation, where the government is under the illusion that they are in charge while the zombies have become just another facet of the neighborhood where the kids establish the rules for zombie/human interaction (a comment on gangs, perhaps?). As Lori puts it, “Always too much red tape and rights to consider. [The government] still think[s] they’re in charge, and they don’t want to risk provoking riots on top of everything else, as the so-called civilized world clings by a thread to an illusion of Normal.” This seems to be a social comment on single parenting set against the hardships of growing up in an impoverished neighborhood. Its poignant ending shows the government’s inadequacy to protect the single parent.”

(From a review for CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES)
Anthony Servante

“Both sad, funny and horrific this little tale packs a potent punch.
From visions of Zombie Elvis hunters to a strange, horrifying future… but at least chocolate remains a priority!

Lori has such a blunt way of stating the horrors that you need to read the sentence twice to make sure you read it correctly, then the real horror hits you… not in the gore-fest but the possible truth.

[A]gain, Lori, manages to astound me with little phrases that no American should know! and excites me with a new descriptive word that I need to dash off and look up!”

Vix Kirkpatrick

“Heartbeat — was a fun take on a zombie story from a kid’s perspective. It was not standard apocalypse material. There was a strange co-existence. It could easily be seen as every youth of a single mother viewing his world and seeing a mother’s potential suitors as monsters. Overall, this story left me feeling like I would like to revisit the central character and his band of cohorts.”

TW Brown
MAY-DECEMBER PUBLICATIONS; Smashwords and Amazon Reviews

“This was my first Lori Lopez read and it will [definitely] not be my last! Lori does a great job with her characters and “showing” me her scenes. I loved the group of “geeks” who were out to save their part of the world from the all to common, zombie invasion. A short story, but very well written and kept my attention to the very last word! Highly recommended!”

Leslie Whitaker
Amazon and Goodreads Review

“The society has seemingly learned to deal with the zombie infestation. And Lori Lopez has used her sense of wordplay and wit to bring us into this brave new world. A band of misfit teens who have taken it upon themselves to protect the ambling dead. Does this matter when a loved one is threatened? Find out Lori’s answer and hold on to your poking stick!”

Jerry McKinney
Amazon and Smashwords Review

Learn about Author & Artist Lori R. Lopez.

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