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Fiend: A Novel

Fiend: A Novel

3.9 28
by Peter Stenson

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There’s more than one kind of monster.

When Chase first sees the little girl in umbrella socks disemboweling the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to such horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.  

But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion.


There’s more than one kind of monster.

When Chase first sees the little girl in umbrella socks disemboweling the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to such horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.  

But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived. And with Chase’s life already shattered by addiction, the apocalypse might actually be an opportunity—a last chance to hit restart, win back the love of his life, and become the person he once dreamed of being. That is, if the darkness inside him doesn't destroy everything—again.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
When Chase Daniels surfaces from a meth bender to find the world overrun with zombies, he hopes he's just on a very bad trip. Grabbing his best friend Typewriter and his ex-girlfriend KK, both fellow tweakers, Chase heads off to find someplace with more drugs and fewer dead people. But if all that remains of humanity are zombies and meth addicts, there really is no safe place. Stenson draws realistic portraits of junkies who will do anything for their next high; zombies are just another obstacle. VERDICT There is a certain raw power to Stenson's language, although his descriptions range from icky to deeply horrific. This Trainspotting for the Walking Dead crowd might appeal to those willing to take a trip to the dark heart of an addict's depravity, with zombies on the side.
From the Publisher
“Certain to invite comparisons to Hubert Selby and Cormac McCarthy…one scalding pressure cooker of a novel, and I advise you to buckle up and hold on tight because you're in for one hell of a ride.  —Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff
"This is the real meat. The last zombie novel you'll ever need."—Warren Ellis, New York Times bestselling author of Gun Machine and Twisted Little Vein
“Peter Stenson has done the near impossible in delivering a savage fire-storm of a page-turner while also enabling a hard and earnest look at addiction and love.  I tore through Fiend with the crazed fervor of an addict, but like all great stories these characters lingered in my thoughts long after I turned the last beautiful and brutal page.”—Alan Heathcock, National Magazine Award-winning author of Volt
“Peter Stenson is the bastard child of Cormac McCarthy and George Romero. In Fiend, he takes the reader on a dark joyride replete with junkies, zombies, and buckets of gore. Here is a novel that will jack your pulse and break your heart all at once.”—Steve Almond, New York Times bestselling author of Candyfreak and Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life
Kirkus Reviews
Tweakers versus zombies. That's about it, really. Stenson's narrator is Chase Daniels, a white-bread methamphetamine addict with a habit of describing his physical symptoms in excruciating detail. Our guy has been holed up for weeks with his best friend, Typewriter, getting "spun" on those glorious little shards of glass. When Chase rubs his eyes, looks out the window and sees a little girl devouring the carcass of a dog, he thinks it's just a vivid hallucination. It turns out that he and Typewriter managed to bypass a zombie apocalypse that plays out just like the ones you've seen on TV, with the creepy exception that the virus makes all its victims giggle. The apocalypse is enough to make Chase think that his ex-girlfriend, KK, was right when she skipped off to rehab. When Chase finally reunites with his lady love, though, he's saddled with her new boyfriend, and they're both high as Wu-Tang. The gang eventually figures out that smoking or shooting is the only way to avoid becoming a giggler, theoretically giving them free range to keep getting high. But scoring scante and avoiding their brethren addicts isn't easy even in a world without cops. Stenson's percussive style and grotesque imagery lend themselves well to the story. A crisply written, grisly mashup tailor-made for black comedy junkies.

Product Details

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Random House
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2 MB

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Meet the Author

PETER STENSON received his MFA from Colorado State University in 2012. His stories and essays have been published in The Sun, The Bellevue Literary Review, The Greensboro Review, Confrontation, Post Road, Fugue, Harpur Palate, The Pinch, Blue Mesa Review, and elsewhere. He is also a recovering addict and has been sober for 10 years. He lives with his wife and daughter in Denver.

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Fiend: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A dark but utterly compelling read...I had to read it all in one sitting! Strangely heartbreaking; I never thought I'd be rooting for a meth addict!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great zombie novel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply amazing. Could not put it down. Very excited to see more from this young author. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Combine the drug dealing and mistrust of Breaking Bad with the epic zombie wasteland of the Walking Dead and you will find yourself in the world of Fiend.  Two boys, addicted to meth, find themselves in the middle of the end of the world.  When they first realize it they think it's just a bad trip but as the book goes on it becomes more apparent that they are really experiencing a zombie apocalypse.   I rather enjoyed the world that Stenson created and how he allowed the characters to develop.  I also really enjoyed the fact that he used a location that I was very familiar with.  I also was happy to see that Stenson addressed the fact that drug addiction, especially to drugs like meth, fracture someone's world and change who they are.  Even though the characters are friends with each other for the most part they realize that drug addiction has created a person that they cannot trust because they are only thinking of getting their next fix.   The only issue I had with this book was that occassionally I found the main character to be a bit annoying.  Also I had to get used to the fact that the talking between characters was just written with indents instead of quotations. Other than those minor things I was very happy with this book overall.
CTK310 More than 1 year ago
This is a book that really focuses on the drug culture instead of zombies. The fact that you can't trust anyone that is addicted to meth and that every survivor is a meth addict gives this a great plot. I enjoyed this book and read it very quickly. The reason I did not give it a five star rating is because the difficulty in following dialogue. The story is a twacked out survival novel all in pursuit of the next high just to stay alive. I do not want to give away anything but there are some parts of the book where you wonder how the tweakers are gonna carry on. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done!!! I savored every word.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I have read this twice and both times I just could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun read
Drewano More than 1 year ago
Seriously this is some messed up stuff. Between the hard look that Chase takes at himself and his friends, the messed up stuff that he does and all the meth that they smoke it’s just a strange story. Chase and his fellow group of addicts don’t really have any redeeming qualities among them and when it started out I thought it would be more funny than serious but as the story goes on it doesn’t go that way and the more you get into the story the more it feels as if you’re in the head of a meth addict as they justify and scheme. It’s an interesting story which is well written and full of gore for the traditional zombie lover while the new take on the zombies makes it feel very original. I probably would have given this four star if I just didn’t come out of it thinking “WTF was that?”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
See above-mentioned creative comment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting take on a zombie story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a former tweaker and current drug counselor, I was delighted to find this one of the best pieces of writing on this addiction and how its devastation. I had my doubts about it being set against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse but Stenson knocked this one out of the ball park! His version and its particular twist on who is able to survive death and zombification escapes the risk of being a gimmick. It is unique and serves to further heighten the book's desperation and overall effect. The only downside is that the book came to an end - any end!
224perweek More than 1 year ago
Could not imagine this actually happening but, WOW! This would be a wild ride. Not that I would want to do drugs but what a way to go. Wish that there was a little bit more zombies in this story but the ending was left wide open. Hofefully for a book 2. This is not a kids story. Contains alot of drug use in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretty much couldn't stop reading this till the last page!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Brought a whole new perspective into my life and could not put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much. If you're strictly looking for a zombie novel, it doesn't have as much intense battle sequences as you are probably hoping for. However, I could not put it down. I tried putting myself in the character's positions and I felt so conflicted as to what I would have done given the situation. Definitely reccommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was absolutely horrible. Please do yourself a favor and stay away. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read for pep of my genres