In "Way of the Barefoot Zombie", Jasper Bark gives readers a satirical tale about corporate greed, liberation terrorists, voodoo and, of course, gory, flesh eating zombies. This wry novel makes for an interesting and engaging read.
Doc Papa runs an elite motivational getaway for the corporate elite. For a five million dollar stake, participants are flown to the private island of St. Ignatius for an aggressive training course in success. However, instead of blasting each other with paintballs, Doc Papa has his guests study The Way of the Barefoot Zombie. Attempting to harness the power and hunger of their inner zombie, guests are taught to interact with the walking dead to the point that nothing will stand in the way of their quest for power.
Benjamin is a Deathwalker, a child of wealthy parents who emulates zombies to the point of obsession. He and his friends make up the ZLF--Zombie Liberation Front--a group who are determined to upset Doc Papa's enslavement of what they see as "noble creatures." To this end, Benjamin and his girlfriend, Tatyana, infiltrate the camp as two potential students of Doc Papa's, participating in the lessons until they find a time to free the captive zombies and relocate them to freedom.
However, they are not the only ones attempting to foil Doc Papa and his schemes. Miriam Chevalier has also penetrated Doc Papa's background checks, attending the retreat in an attempt to free the zombies. However, unlike the ZLF, her mission is not based upon social justice, but reparation and revenge.
Jasper Bark weaves an intricate tale with enough twists and surprises in the plot to keep readers anticipating the next chapter. While a few of the minor characters lack serious development, Bark's major characters more than make up for it with entire chapters dedicated to their often painful and disturbed back stories; the tale and violent end of Samuel Palmer, CEO of Doc Papa's enterprise, alone makes Way of the Barefoot Zombie and entertaining and gruesome read.
Also, while some zombie purists may find fault with Barks's combination of voodoo zombies and flesh-hungry Romero-esque zombies, the combination of the two works well to propel the underlying satire of the novel. Overall, this was a really fast-paced and entertaining read.
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