Zook Country

Zook Country, published by Twilight Times Books.

Previously published in Germany under the name Zookland by Atlantis Verlag in 2011.

Currently available in e-formats at Twilight Times’ website, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.


Metamorphic plague has swept across the Earth over the last five years. Victims become rabid non-sentient zooks, immensely strong and so fast that a normal person can’t even see them. One third of humanity has died, but humanity is fighting back, balanced on the razor’s edge between survival and apocalypse.  Jake Chestnut and Gary Landon, both ex-army, are partners in Seraglio, an independent Kent Washington based zook hunting firm. Both lost their families to plague and are part of the less than one percent of humanity with the innate ability, ESP, reflexes, and willingness to shoot where the zook will be next that are necessary to combat feral zooks. Zook-hunters are charged with hunting down and killing plague victims. These battle scarred men and women have been on the front line with no reprieve for five years, and the survivors have developed an esprit de corps similar to that of the WWI Aerosquadron. Killing zooks for a living is tough, but the alternative is worse; eight months after infection, zooks metamorphose into non-corporeal ghasten, who live in collectives, herd zooks, kill with energy discharges, and create rifts in the fabric of reality that have swallowed cities. While working a contract to clear a first of its kind community/safe enclave for the elite, Seraglio uncovers a conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. Government. When Gary is badly injured, Jake must untangle a web of conspiracy and complete Seraglio’s contract – and discover just who he needs to kill in reckoning.



6 thoughts on “Zook Country

  1. I finished reading Zook Country a couple days ago on the advice of a friend — the author, who I served in the Army with in Germany back in the 80s. Enjoyed every bit of it, which is remarkable because I don’t read much fiction, much less anything about creepy creatures and such. What fiction I have read is usually of the Tom Clancy variety, or something like Flight of the Old Dog (stuff a little closer to plausible reality), and even for that I usually wait for the Blu Ray.

    Bottom line is I don’t know much about fiction (much less this particular genre), but I know what I like. And I do, it so happens, love post-apocalyptic thrillers, which is probably why I couldn’t put it down. The little authentic references to the military, helicopters, and weapons made it that much more appealing to me, having worked or played with all three.

    From my view, this is a very, very well written thing. It’s an easy read, flows nicely, giving you substantial imagery without getting bogged down in it. It’s technically crisp, aestetically articulated and, at times, emotionally touching. And the characters make the whole thing come together.

    Can’t wait for the sequel to see how that business in Oregon pans out.

  2. Zook Country is a post-apocalyptic page-turner, a marvelous journey into a world that seems all too possible. Jake Chestnut and his partner Gary Landon are zook hunters tasked with killing former humans turned zombies in a plague that has taken a third of the nation’s population. Jake and Gary own a small company named Seraglio and their latest client is a consortium that for unknown reasons has turned against Jake, making their job of creating zook-free communities seemingly impossible.
    ZC is a Sci-Fi novel, the kind that can keep you up all night reading under the covers with one eye on the bedroom door, wondering if a zook might have its dead eyes on you.
    Bill Swears is in my writing group and I’ve seen several iterations of Zook Country, which Bill has polished to a fine point. He is an accomplished author who knows how to keep his readers reading.

    • — Tom Brennan is author of “The Snowflake Rebellion,” a novel about Alaska seceding from the union, as well as two true-crime collections, “Murder at 40 Below” and “Cold Crime,” and the Alaska humor book “Moose Dropping & Other Crimes Against Nature.” Tom is also an award-winning Alaska journalist and columnist

  3. Ric Locke, author of the very enjoyable “Temporary Duty,” available at: http://www.amazon.com/Temporary-Duty-ebook/dp/B00531CPHC, had this to say:

    “Zook Country is a fast-moving, fresh new look at zombies and vampires. No shambling undead or romantic sparkles here — zooks are vicious, ferocious, and terrifying, and only a small minority of people can deal with them in any way except as victims. The protagonist and his partner are among that minority, but that doesn’t mean they have an easy life, or even that they always win.

    Swears provides a scientific explanation for zooks and how they came to exist, and skilfully interweaves backstory with sympathetic characters, action, intrigue, and a little romance. The society’s response is painted with a realistic assessment of what’s possible with today’s technology, combined with humor and no little cynicism. Not everybody who can deal with the threat is on the side of the angels, and figuring out who the Good Guys are (and aren’t) is a subthread that adds to the enjoyment of the action. Readers who know guns will find an occasional in-joke, but those are never heavy-handed, easily ignored if you don’t belong to that culture and additional fun if you do.”

    Ric says more at: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1ZYDFEY28Q9JW/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm.


  4. So, Tax season drove me from the web for a time. I”m back, and feeling that taxes are sufficiently annoying to account for significant situational depression.

    Two Zook Countryish things have happened to me in the last few days, so I should talk about them.

    First, I’ve sold a few copies in the Anchorage area, and the book is now in brick and mortar book stores here. You can buy a copy at Metro Books and Music on Benson, opposite the Sears mall, or at Fireside books in Palmer.

    Second, I just stumbled across a nice review that I hadn’t seen before. It’s posted on the extremely selective and very perceptive review site Shelf-awareness.com. My review is posted at: http://www.shelf-awareness.com/readers-issue.html?issue=157#m3028