Zero Lives Remaining

  • by Adam Cesare
  • Narrated by Joe Hempel
  • 2 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Robby Asaro is dead.
And alive.
He's a ghost in the machine, keeping a watchful eye on the arcade where he lost his life two decades before. And the afterlife is good. The best thing ever to have happened to him. But when the conscious electric current formerly known as Robby Asaro makes a decision to protect one of his favorite patrons, Tiffany Park, from a bully, he sets loose a series of violent supernatural events that can't be stopped.
Trapped inside the arcade as the kill count rises, Tiffany and a group of gamers must band together to escape from what used to be their favorite place on Earth...and the ghost of Robby Asaro.
From the author of Tribesmen, Video Night, and The Summer Job, Zero Lives Remaining is a masterful mix of horror and suspense, dread and wonder, and a timeless ghost story that solidifies Adam Cesare's reputation as one of the best up-and-coming storytellers around. This is Adam Cesare firing on all cylinders - and he's just getting started.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Arcade fires. Game over man

What did you like most about Zero Lives Remaining?

The short, punchy story.

Have you listened to any of Joe Hempel’s other performances? How does this one compare?

He's a fantastic reader.

Any additional comments?

Robby Asaro is dead.

And alive.

There’s something strange in the neighbourhood… notably the Fun Cave, a sticky floored arcade filled with nostalgic games and the misfits that play them. Several years after a very grisly death at the property, maintenance man and general dogsbody, Dan Boden discovers a strange substance oozing from the circuit boards of Ms. Pac Man. Like any good horror, discovering a sticky discharge in some dark crevice is usually the harbinger for some terrible monster. And so it begins.
With an equal measure of geeky nostalgia and blood drenched fury, Cesare weaves the tale of one night trapped in a gaming arcade as a vengeful spirit takes hold of the electronics in a Maximum Overdrive type fashion. Burnings, electrocutions and a couple of folk get maimed in inventive fashions; Cesare brings death in new and exciting ways as victims get in the way of his pulsing poltergeist, which seems intent on destroying everybody in sight. In a short space of time, he creates a wonderful sense of pathos with a group of damaged characters, slightly befuddled with society, as they move from being comfortably drenched in geek sweat and the stench of burger grease, to the arterial spray of blood and hot guts.
I recently experienced Joe Hempel’s awesome telling of Family Business by Brett Williams and adored his voice work and clear delivery. He succeeds again in this story, making each character his own with a triumphant versatility, bringing definite individuals to life with the true craft of a professional.
Zero Lives Remaining plays out like a 80’s video nasty, offing characters off one by one (often in two), with pocketful of nostalgic references to assorted fandoms and enough humour to stop it from getting too dark. If you want some cheesy, though well thought out horror, drop a few coins in this way.
Game over man. Game over.

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- N. Robinson

Gruesome, funny, smart

I received a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review. I was previously familiar with the story from the limited hardback edition.

And honestly, that should tell you something right there. I was keen to revisit this story in audio form, see how it held up. And the short answer is, very well indeed.

One thing the audiobook version highlighted was how much humor there is here. I think I hadn’t realised just how conversational and jokey Cesare’s prose style was until I heard it spoken aloud. In this regard, narrator Joe Hempel does a superb job - his light, laconic delivery lands the comedy well, without ever hamming it up or overplaying it. It was a welcome discovery of a layer I hadn’t fully appreciated on my first read through.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the characters - they were as strong and vivid as I remember. Hempel does a superb job with the voices, finding ways to clearly delineate between the characters without overplaying it. I was especially impressed with his handling of Dan Boden. Let’s face it, it’s a nightmare brief for a narrator - portray a character with a speech impediment, induced by a stroke. It’s a gig fraught with peril - underplay it and you lose a vital part of the character, overdo it or slip into caricature and, well, yuck. Hempel navigate this with real skill, delivering a brave and honest performance of Dan that doesn’t minimise the disability, but categorically preserves the humanity and dignity of the character. And sure, a lot of that is there in the writing, but still, it could have gone horribly wrong, and it didn’t and Hempel deserves a lot of credit for that.

Overall, it’s a superb narration of a gloriously fun horror story, and I really enjoyed revisiting the claustrophobic arcade of Zero Lives Remaining.
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- K. Power

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-02-2016
  • Publisher: Rollin & Jeanie Press