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18 January 2013

Dead Bastards by Jennifer Thomson


I have to confess, before I get in too deep, that I’m probably too squeamish to be a zombie fan, or even a zombie.

But I staggered across this book and the synopsis sold it to me.

Surely a novel about zombies, written by someone who obviously had a tongue in a cheek and someone’s funny bone to scratch their back, couldn’t be too scary, could it? Could it?

Even though I’m not your typical zombie reader, I like to consider I can view most subjects objectively and enjoy a well-written book…once I get past the cover.

Jennifer Thomson writes with a ghoulish, dry-as-congealed-blood humour.  There’s guts galore, but in Emma – the frontline defence against the zombies – Thomson’s heroine balances it with a feisty irony. She may not have much to laugh at, but I had to imagine Emma as having at least a hint of a smile as she attempted what most men didn’t have the guts for – to fight back.

Emma’s dialogue and thoughts are razor-sharp. There were times, I admit, when I didn’t allow my imagination to linger over the scenes of cannibalism – I read, I digested and moved on.

If you read the novel’s synopsis you will get a measure of the author’s wit and style.  Both continue through the novel, never dropping and never disappointing. But of course, ghoulish humour can only take one so far. Beating zombies is serious business and once the real battle commences, there’s little to laugh about.

As I reached the two-third point, I did wonder how on earth it could all end.  Thankfully the author had worked that out in her planning and the execution was perfect.  I have to admit that it caught me off guard in the best possible way. I don’t know how other zombie novels finish, but this was expertly handled.

Will I read another zombie novel? Perhaps.  Will it be as good as this one? Doubtful.

This book is available from Amazon: 

Dead Bastards