“ Paperback: 278 pages / Publisher: CreateSpace / Published: 3 July 2012 „
Despite my love of fantasy and paranormal fiction, I have to admit I've always been less than enamoured of horror and zombies in particular. The idea of some rotting corpse, dead eyed and shambling around eating people is repulsive and a bit frightening. This novel, if it isn't too much of a contradiction in terms, shows a more human face of zombidom and though it may well not have changed my mind about the species as a whole, it certainly introduced me to a rather appealing member of the breed.
Fred is a zombie and he acknowledges himself that that it's no picnic being one but unlike some of his other zombie kind, Fred is somewhat different. Firstly, he's in love, or at least in lust, with a pretty, blonde-haired 'breather'. Each day, he watches her from across the road, along with the other zombies, all of whom just want to break in and eat her. The Government may tell the people that they are safe but Fred knows for most it's just a matter of time and that disturbs him a lot because he remembers that he has a living son out there somewhere.
Zombies are scary, at least I think so and I would never willingly watch a film with zombies in it because it would give me nightmares. But when zombies are written about with humour and compassion, it's quite a different matter, especially when they appear in a book being offered by Amazon at a knockdown price for the Kindle.
Fred is quite different from the other zombies, most of whom he regards as 'droolie ghoulies'. Fred can still think. He recognises that being 45 years old and with a slight potbelly is a bit of a drawback and wishes he'd been turned when he was in his twenties and a few pounds slimmer but all in all, he's as happy as a zombie can be. Fred is just Fred as he's forgotten his surname. As the book opens, Fred's on his way to New Jersey's Newark airport, not to catch a flight, obviously, but to catch a snack. There are some breathers holed up there and Fred hopes to chomp on some before the day's over. He's feeling happy and sings a tune from his breather days but all that comes out is 'Braaiinnss...'
Fred may not be visually appealing - he only has two looks, vacant and insanely hungry - but he has a very appealing personality, a wry sense of humour and the soul of a poet. When he spots Alena, the blonde he's taken a shine to , his soul thinks she's like an angel but, again, all that escapes his lips is 'Braaiinnss...'
Though the story is written in the third person a good deal of it is from Fred's perspective and it wasn't long before I forgot all about his unfortunate zombie looks and really warmed to the guy.
Interspersed with Fred's story are chapters set when the zombie virus first hit the US. It seems the horror stemmed from a stray piece of meteor which embedded itself into the back of the head of the local postman in Comfort, Colorado, killing him dead but he didn't stay dead for long and this 'Adam of zombies' goes on a rampage decimating the population of the tiny town in a variety of revolting ways. Though these stories initially seem to be completely unrelated to the main event, by the end of the book all becomes clear. It has to be said, some of these chapters offer a very warped sort of humour. One in particular I would not recommend if you're a dog lover but have to admit it made me laugh out loud.
This book is written with laughter rather than fright in mind and it certainly succeeded in my opinion. Hidden in the chapters are some sharply observed points which just about hit the mark every time and had me laughing and squirming in equal measure.
If you're a serious sort of horror/zombie fan, this book probably won't be for you as the use of humour does lessen the impact of the horror somewhat. The same goes for any men out there who care for their manhood as that part of the male anatomy receives some pretty unpleasant treatment in one of the chapters. For anyone who prefers their horror more tongue in cheek, however, this is a very entertaining and enjoyable read.
I can't give this the full 5 stars because I found the book rather fragmented in its construction with constant interruptions of Fred's story with other seemingly unconnected chapters and although this resolves itself in the end, it did affect the flow of the book, but perhaps that's me just being picky.
This is only available in Kindle format and is currently selling on Amazon for £1.92.