Review: ‘Ranger Martin and The Zombie Apocalypse’ by Jack Flacco

Blurb about book from authors website:

Never call them zombies. That was one of the rules. So much for rules, everyone who made up that garbage is either dead or undead. It doesn’t matter anymore. They go by other names—chewers, eaters, maggot bags, the changed. Whatever they’re called, they’re everywhere. And they’re not giving up until every last human becomes a single serving entrée to satiate their uncontrollable appetite.

Enter shotgun-toting Ranger Martin who is determined to end the zombies’ all-you-can-eat buffet. In an abandon military silo on the outskirts of the Nevada/Arizona border, he and his specialized team of assassins plan their assaults. Who’s he kidding? His team consists of three kids in their teens, and a boy barely old enough to wipe his own nose. But when a secret air force base in the Mojave Desert proves there’s more to the change than anyone knew, the temptation is too great. Now Ranger and the others set out on the road to overthrow the center of the infestation—a frantic race that will either destroy the hunger-prone zombies or cost him and his friends their lives.

This book reminded me of a film; a zombie franchise with the requisite hero, conflict between secondary characters, pretty but tough girl who is a love interest and a helpless child. They’re drawn together by circumstances and find that they’re fighting a much bigger war than they knew.

Sounds fairly standard fare doesn’t it? Complete with the usual stereotypes of teenagers, action hero types, an evil, alien controlled military delivering humans up for dinner, and an ending that obviously leaves an opening for a sequel, this novel had the potential to be terrible.

It wasn’t though.

Jack Flacco’s black humour saved it from mediocrity. Unlike most zombie stories the characters have seen the films! Jon, the innocent child, is an expert on the genre. His comments cut through the hackneyed scenes to point out how ridiculous the situation is.

I had the feeling, while reading, that the ‘movie atmosphere’, produced by writing as if it were a transcript of a film, describing the actions of the characters and the flips between scenes, was deliberate. Of course it was, but I don’t mean the style of writing, I mean the author was conveying the unreal nature of the novel by using the tropes of a different medium. It’s all part of the joke.

It’s very meta. I could be wrong, that’s entirely possible, but that’s how it read to me, a parody of the genre of zombie films.

Am I making sense? No? Well, go read the book and you’ll see what I mean.

The were editing errors that cropped up, e.g. queue instead of que, appendages instead of bandages, were slightly irksome, and the book would benefit from a copyeditors eye.

3/5 (it’d have got 4/5 if it had been edited properly)


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