Saturday, 13 October 2012

Undead at Heart

Calum Kerr is a bit of a hero in my book. The founder of National Flash Fiction Day and a tireless champion of short short writing, co-editor of Jawbreakers, and author in his own right, of often quirky, always intriguing prose, as evidenced in his collection, Braking Distance, published by Salt.

When I heard Calum had published a novel - and that it starred zombies - I had to have me some of that flesh-eating action. (Those of you who've known me any length of time will know I'm a horror film fan, and that George Romero is a fave director.)

Undead at Heart is a terrific little thriller, full of human interest and very nicely executed action sequences (see what I did there?). What really shines through is the obvious glee on the part of the author, writing about a subject that grips him and which he's wise enough not to take too seriously.

The story opens on a sunny afternoon in the heart of England and all seems normal. Until a burning truck flies through the air and lands in the middle of everyone's lives. Tony, Nicola and a group of others find themselves on the run from aliens and zombies, trying to seek safety and to kindle a romance or two, along the way.

Calum writes with the easy confidence of someone who loves his genre, and knows it inside out. He conjures a convincing zombie - not an easy thing to do on the page, which is why I tend to prefer horror films to horror books. But between the oozing eyeballs and ruined throats, there's visual viscera aplenty for the hardened addict. Kerr also manages a very effective and rather touching line in post-apocalyptic romance, and I found myself rooting for Tony and his girl even while the undead were converging from every side.

A absolute snip as an ebook, I'd recommend this one for Hallowe'en, or any dark night between now and Christmas. You can buy it here.

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