Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: Deadcore - Four Hardcore Zombie Novellas

Deadcore is a collection of four zombie novellas edited by Cheryl Mullenax and published by Comet Press. The book contains zombie stories from authors Randy Chandler, David James Keaton, Edward M. Erdelac and Ben Cheetham.

The collection kicks off with “Dead Juju” by Randy Chandler, a novella that immediately sucked me in with its fast pace and gruesome action. It follows a mysterious figure that seems to bring death and destruction wherever he goes while all hell breaks out when the dead won’t stay dead. Chandler weaves different characters’ stories together to create a terrifying tapestry about the end of the world. I loved the many different characters that were featured in this story and the mysterious “eye in the sky” phenomenon that occurs prior to the zombie outbreaks. This was my favorite story in the collection.

“Zee Bee and Bee (aka Propeller Hats for the Dead)” is the next short story in the book. This tale by David James Keaton tells about the cast of colorful characters that work at a zombie-themed bed and breakfast where guests pay to basically role play in their own personal Night of the Living Dead. This story had an interesting concept, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get into the writing style. There is some pretty clever dialogue that horror fans will appreciate, though.

The third novella is “Night of the Jikininki”, a story set in a prison in feudal Japan. When a murdered inmate rises from the dead and starts infecting everyone within the prison walls, a mad monk, a petty thief and a renowned samurai must band together to try to escape the fortified walls. I enjoyed Edward M. Erdelac’s historical accuracy, brutal carnage and interesting characters with this tale.

Ben Cheetham’s “Zombie Safari” is about a hunting trip to kill a new kind of wild game – zombies. However, things start to go wrong for the humans when the zombies become the hunters. “Safari” was a very tense, character-driven story that I enjoyed a great deal. The bleak, isolated setting along with the weary characters reminded me of an old Western where men relied on the guns and tracking to survive.

Deadcore’s four novellas are gruesome, funny, tense, bloody and entertaining as hell. Each of the stories is distinctive and unique, so you never feel you are reading stale material. If you love extreme zombie fiction, you’ll definitely want to check out Deadcore!

Available on Amazon!

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