1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Yes, a refreshingly different supernatural adventure about heroes Duke & Earl, two good ole boys who happen to be a wolfman and a vampire, driving around America's dusty back roads, not looking for trouble, when they come upon a diner just as it's attacked by zombies. Impressed by their help, the owner pays them to do a couple of jobs which is just as well as, unknown to them, the diner is the focus of attention from the villain, a sexy seventeen year old girl who wants to raise hell -literally. No, just joking; what she really wants to do is bring back the Elder Gods (cf H.P.Lovecraft) to destroy the world and the zombies are just the warm-up act.
Set in a world where supernatural entities lurk just out of sight and small town marshalls usually know how to deal with them, if neccessary, this is an amusing entertainment which builds well.
I don't want to spoil anything because, as I mentioned above that the zombies are just the start, there is lots more to come but I can't resist just one -flesh-eating zombie cows! If that doesn't make you want to read the book, I don't know what will.
on 10 September 2010
If ever a book distilled true comic book (aka graphic novel) sensibility into 268 paperback pages, this is it. In fact, I am astonished that this story is written out in prose. It would fit so much more happily as captions for garishly drawn and hyper-violent illustrations.
Quite clearly the author sat down one day and asked himself (herself?), "How can I put a wiseass spin on all the conventions of the horror novel and make a good, sneering joke of it all?" The result was a book with all the humanity, warmth and depth of a typical made-for-video movie. Martinez opens up with a down-market pair of monsters, a nerdy little vampire and a big, oafish werewolf--think Ben Stiller and John Goodman in his "Roseanne" days. Toss into the mix a cup of dried H. P. Lovecraft-style "essential salts" and a few chopped up scenes from a high school girl-rivalry movie and out comes "Gil's All Fright Diner."
Martinez clearly has no love for his (her?) characters. They have no inner lives. Their function is impurely and simply to be moved about like checkers (nothing so high-toned as chess pieces) on a board of the author's imagining. It's all the braying of a youthful author who is a jackass.
But ... this young jackass of an author is also a deucedly clever young jackass. In some ways, he (she?) is an American Terry Pratchett--heaven help us all. Somehow, you just have to grin at someone who can swallow Lovecraft's larynx-stretching incantations and regurgitate them as Pig Latin. Or create Crazy Ctharl's Hard-To-Find Sorcerous Emporium, the mail-order horror supply company that is always having a sale because the world is always about to be destroyed by the Dark Powers. Or present the abridged but up-to-date "Necronomicon" that includes three spells for guaranteeing success in Hollywood. Or a writer who can offer this passages with a perfectly straight face:
"Duke ..." He struggled with the words. "I just want you to know that I, uh, well ..."
Duke stopped cleaning the gunk off his shoes. They stared at each other amid the quiet splashing of Loretta mopping up extradimensional brain spider goo."
Now, THAT is truly awful writing--but you have to admit that it's the very best kind of truly awful writing!
When I wrote this review in 2007. I had come late to this feast. Thirty-four Amazon US reviewers had preceded me. All I could do to justify a thirty-fifth kick at this particular dog was point out that if A. Lee Martinez ever developed even a slight vestige of empathy, sympathy or humanity, he (she?) would become a dangerously good writer.
Four stars and high hopes for the future.