Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How I Started the Apocalypse by Brian Pinkerton

After my disappointment with Cannibals in Love, I really needed something that looked fun.  Evidently, the copy I have of Apocalypse is an older version, because it has a big smiley face on the cover with a bullet hole in the middle of the forehead instead of the one you see above.  How could this not be a fun book?!

So, the premise of the story is that Chaz wakes up dead.  We've all heard that story before.  The main difference here is that he's in a government lab and he's been given some sort of serum that has brought back his cognizance.  So, he's awake and aware.  His morals are intact and he's basically his old self.  Except for the fact that he's being held hostage in a government lab with crazy experiments down the hallway.

Chaz has a couple of main issues.  While he was dead and being held hostage, life went on without him.  It's not the same world it was.  Secondly, he craves human flesh, but his mind tells him that that's not acceptable.  The third issue is his decaying body.

Now, you guys should know I can be pretty brutal, but I really only had one complaint here. It's a structure issue.  I'm really disappointed that no one along the path in the making of this book caught it.  Near the beginning of the book, there's a pretty exciting chain of events going on.  We have some severe over use of 'Chaz.'  The fact is, this is usually pretty easily overlooked, but it actually pulled me away from the story because it was so severe.  We have SIX chapters in a row that begin with 'Chaz...'  'Chaz went to the ball park.  Chaz picked up a ball.  Chaz threw the ball.  Chaz wanted to catch the ball.  Chaz got bit by a dog.  Chaz enjoyed the pretty color of the blood.'  That's definitely not part of the story, but you can see my issue.  I truly wish there was a bit of rewriting done on this scene, and perhaps there has been.  Keep in mind, I'm pretty sure I have an older version.  While this was an issue in my copy, it may not be there in future copies.  If it's still there, hopefully Brian will read this and go back and fix it.

The rest of the story is actually pretty brilliantly done.  I've read books like 'I, Zombie' where the zombie still has somewhat of a thought process.  They're awake and aware.  I've read about a gajillion books where we have zombies that are battling their taste for human flesh.  Kozeniewski's Braineater Jones is one of the few books where the zombie comes back awake, aware and also mostly fully functional.  Where Braineater Jones is more noir mystery, Chaz's story is more lighthearted and survival packed.  Most of the book is us traveling with Chaz, trying to figure out the next step to stay alive, trying to process all of the changes both physically and emotionally.  It's a pretty fun trip!

I love horror, but the one thing that makes me squeamish is vivid slicing of flesh.  I don't mean stabbing or scoring.  Bring it on!  I mean, slicing a piece off like a slab of bacon.  YICK!  *shiver*  So there's a scene in this book, and I won't tell you too much because I don't want to ruin it, but there's slicing involved!  Now, normally this would mean I have to skip a page or two until the slicing is over.  Nope!  Not here!  Pinkerton set it up so that you know it's coming.  Then there's a series of small paragraphs.  One short paragraph about slicing.  Then a short paragraph.  Then a short paragraph of slicing.  Then another short paragraph.  So this way, I was able to easily skip the slicing parts, but still catch the story line that was attached to those in-between paragraphs.  I'm pretty impressed with how this was written.  Mostly because I felt like it was written specifically with people like me in mind.

There are a few really humorous parts, and a lot of character study.  You'll find plenty of action and some fun death scenes.  There's plenty of gore and suspense.  It's a quick and fun read that I'm really glad I picked up.  I was left feeling pretty depressed and down after my last read, but this book more than fulfilled the promise of both the last book and this one.

I have the next book in the series on hand and ready to read, but I didn't realize until I started writing this review that there's a third in the series!  I'm a little torn!  I really like the new covers, but I'd much rather have all three covers match.  So, I may go ahead and re-order the entire series so that I have all three, or e-mail Brian Pinkerton and see if he happens to have (by my lucky stars!!)  a copy of the third book with the original cover that he's willing to part with.

This was my first Pinkerton read, but if I enjoy the next book as much as this one, he'll find a spot on my bookshelves right next to Steve Kuhn and Dext of the Dead.

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