If you haven’t heard of Chuck Wendig then you haven’t seen my review of Bait Dog or my raves about him on Twitter. He’s a talented man and his blog posts are probably the funniest (and most profane) things that you’ll read on the internet.
What brings you here today (I hope) is the review of his newest book Double Dead
Coburn’s been dead now for close to a century, but seeing as how he’s a vampire and all, it doesn’t much bother him. Or at least it didn’t, not until he awoke from a forced five-year slumber to discover that most of human civilization was now dead—but not dead like him, oh no.
See, Coburn likes blood. The rest of the walking dead, they like brains. He’s smart. Them, not so much. But they outnumber him by about a million to one. And the clotted blood of the walking dead cannot sustain him. Now he’s starving. And nocturnal. And more pissed-off than a bee-stung rattlesnake. The vampire not only has to find human survivors (with their sweet, sweet blood), but now he has to transition from predator to protector—after all, a man has to look after his food supply.
So, should you read this book? If this quote from the author doesn’t grab you:
This ain’t Twilight, folks. Only way Coburn glitters is if he kills and eats a stripper.
Then maybe my TL;DR review will:
In case that’s not enough, here we go. I generally like my horror to be subtle these days. I enjoy the sorts of creepiness that happen off the screen or in my imagination. Reading this blood soaked carnival ride from Hell is one the occasional exceptions. Why is that? One word; characters.
If you’re going to send me through a dark world where some people have turned to cannibalism to survive and the body count on the page is high, you have to give me characters with some depth. While Coburn is the blood fueled terror that I believe vampires should be, there’s more to him than that. He’s not tortured by what he is, at least not at first. It’s not until he meets an odd little family of survivors and a girl who refuses to be afraid of him that he starts to wonder about his own past and his new role as protector of humanity. The conflict Wendig wrings out of that is delicious.
Okay there are actually more words. Wendig knows how to use humor to lighten up the bleakest story (CREAMPUFF THE WONDER TERRIER). He does things that surprise me (Insane Clown Posse loving despot). He takes the most basic tropes in the horror genre and infuses his own madness into them (mutant zombies, a unique cause for the zombie outbreak, a dying girl that may be the key to unlocking a cure to the whole mess).
The book isn’t perfect. There are a few characters that fall flat. Once or twice he pulled things out of his hat that were over the top even for a book like this. All in all though, if the premise and my above words are enough to make you want it, then go buy it!
I give it four and a half fangs.