Best of Tomes of the Dead Vol 2
Author: Jasper Bark, Simon Bestwick & Gary McMahon
Publisher: Abaddon Books
Page count: 600+pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
You know the advert; “You buy one, you get one free. I said you buy one . . .” Well, in the case of this volume of zombie goodness, you buy one, you get two free (sort off).
This collection from Abaddon’s pulp zombie collection contains three of the most satisfying zombie novels I’ve seen in a while. The collection starts with Tide of Souls by Simon Bestwick. According to Polish prostitute Katja, “The rising of the dead was the best luck I’d had in years”. Locked in a Manchester brothel when all hell breaks loose, Katja witnesses the floods sweeping the streets, and people flee to rooftops as the water rises and with it, the dead rise too. As Katja and 15 year old Marta hide on the brothel rooftop they see the glowing green eyes of the dead in the water below them. They are rescued by the unlikeliest of heroes; potbellied loner Derek who just happens to have a boat and a shed load of guns. But there is something not quite right about their saviour.
In Lancashire we have Sgt. Robert McTarn, scarred by his past he is assigned to a small military unit when the disaster strikes, tasked with finding eccentric Dr Ben Stiles, a man who predicted both the dead and the waters would rise. The paths of all three are inextricably linked.
With a great grasp of regional dialogue, Bestwick delivers a genuinely creepy zombie story.
The second offering is Gary McMahon’s Hungry Hearts. In the midst of riots, looting and murder, policeman Rick Nutman tries to return home to his wife Sally to protect her from the violence erupting and keep her safe away from the dead who have started to rise. But Rick is too late. Before the dead have even got to her, neighbour Daryl has followed her to her home and murdered her for pleasure of the most intense kind. Rick returns to find his wife has returned from the dead but hasn’t come back quite right. She is one of the shamblers whose brains have taken too much damage. But never mind hey? Love knows no bounds. At least for Rick, who tries to take his dead wife to safety as Daryl decides he could become the greatest serial killer in history if he kills the same victim twice.
In typical McMahon style, there are plenty of eew moments and the novel explores the darkness of the urban city and both the evil and good found within humanity.
The final offering is Way of the Barefoot Zombie by Jasper Bark. The most light hearted of the omnibus finds twenty-something Ben and Tatyana faking it as the rich elite on the island of St Ignatius. Their true mission? To rescue the ‘noble monsters’, the dead of the island who are being used an abused as a means of teaching the rich business folk to find their ‘inner zombie’ and become the man eating creatures they need to be to survive the current economy.
Amidst the bloodshed, sex and gore there is some great humour, political and economical satire and some great historical voodoo mythology.
The collection represents some of the best horror writers today and indeed, three fine examples of classic zombie fiction. More importantly they are particularly diverse so the reader won’t become bored having three books in one on the same theme as they are so intrinsically different. This collection is a must for zombie fans and is great value for money.
If you want to know more about Abaddon’s latest projects take a look at their website.
If you like the look of this book then check out The Best of Tomes of The Dead: Vol 2