Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Zombie Pulp

by Tim Curran
Published by Severed Press

Tim Curran's Zombie Pulp is comprised of nine short stories and two novellas, all of which deal with the undead. Two of the short stories, “Shelter” and “The Mattawan Meat Wagon,” appear to be set in the same world, one inhabited by 'Wormboys,' a form of zombie capable of organization and logical thought. The others cover a prison's bizarre method of body disposal, a woman's not-so-joyful reunion with her dearly-departed daughter, a similar reunion between a man and his mother, the grisly result of a botched underworld murder, a vacationing couple's run-in with an even hungrier-than-usual school of piranha, a law-enforcement raid on the strangest cult ever and a world overrun by zombie primates.

The two novellas, “They Walk by Night” and “Morbid Anatomy,” stand head and shoulders above the rest of the collection. The former is a pulp-noir detective story pitting your typical tough-as-nails private dick against a group of criminals accused of digging up and resurrecting the dead to further their nefarious schemes. The latter is connected somehow to a Lovecraft story called Herbert West: Reanimator that I'm sorry to say I've never read, and mixes horrific zombies, grisly scientific experiments and the real-life horrors of World War I.

Zombie Pulp is an excellent showcase of Curran's range; he writes housewives, every day people, police and soldiers (both modern and historical), in an equally convincing manner. “They Walk by Night” in particular demonstrates his talent for creating the mood and gets Curran high marks for use of vernacular and the two 'Wormboy' tales, for lack of a better descriptor, hint at a world and backstory that could easily be expanded into a longer body of work, perhaps even a series.

Buy it here.

Reviewed by Lincoln Crisler

Lincoln Crisler's debut novella, WILD, is due in March from Damnation Books. He has also authored a pair of short story collections, Magick & Misery (2009, Black Bed Sheet) and Despairs & Delights (2008, Arctic Wolf). A United States Army combat veteran and non-commissioned officer, Lincoln lives in Augusta, Georgia with his wife and two of his three children. You can visit his website at www.lincolncrisler.info.

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