Most helpful critical review
on 20 March 2014
Doll Parts picks up right where Wayne Simmons' previous novel Drop Dead Gorgeous left off and it's one hell of a frenetic ride.
Drop Dead Gorgeous followed the survivors of an event (The Great Whatever) in Belfast, we don't actually find out if this is a worldwide apocalypse but it seems likely. That "event" saw 98% of the Belfast population drop dead and followed a few survivors as they made their way through the post-apocalyptic landscape.
Unfortunately some of the dead have come alive again, that some being beautiful women, yes folks this is a sexy zombie novel. Doll Parts follows the survivors of the previous book as they once again try to outwit the zombie hordes. It's full on action right from page one as the ragged band of refugees seek out other survivors and head for the possible safety of the airport.
Whilst the book majors on action and in that regard passes with flying colours, it also scores highly by creating some intensely confused and confusing characters. Star, the artistic tatooist, Barry the rapist and his unknowing teenage girlfriend Caroline, lonely Professor Herbert Mathews as well as several new characters all take to the stage with character flaws fully on display. These people are ostensibly the heroes but many are so flawed, or just pure unlikable, that you might find yourself siding with the zombies.
Therein lies one of the books big successes and flaws. While it's great that the author has avoided purely stereotypical characters, by doing so he has made it hard for the reader to relate to most of them. Frankly it's hard to care if they live and die, perhaps this is why the author treats his major characters as expendable, they do die, often.
The second problem lies in the underlying theme of this book. Are we reading some post-feminist uprising as the glamorous zombies arise from their downtrodden lives to seek revenge on the disparaging masses or is this device used simply to titillate the reader?
But perhaps that is looking too deeply into what is essentially an action packed thriller. The fast paced writing is stripped down to allow the reader to keep up as wave after wave of peril is inflicted upon our disgruntled protagonists. Gore and body parts are prolifically dispensed throughout as both zombies and humans meet increasingly violent ends or in some cases new beginnings.
Don't expect a satisfactory ending, however, because this book doesn't actually end. It pauses in such an obvious way that a sequel is inevitable, in fact it's more than inevitable it's necessary because despite all the books problems you will still want to find out what happens next.