I’ll be honest, zombies ain’t really my thing. They used to be, but I got really tired of them and I generally avoid zombie stories like the plague (haha). This changed when Jeremy Wagner sent me a copy of his new novel, Rabid Heart. I opened that bad boy up and revelled in the cover art. The first thing that came to mind was the movie Day of the Dead…a genre classic (and no, not the shit remake). Day of the Dead is my second favourite zombie movie behind Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead (the remake of which I really like, too). I read the book’s synopsis and I was in: A zombie love story! A strong female protagonist! That cover art! Great, let’s do this.
One of the things I loved about Day of the Dead was the attempted domestication of the zombie, Bub. Bub becomes a star of the movie despite his limited screen time and his relationship with the doctor attempting to domesticate him is really quite touching. I had the same vibe here with Rabid Heart. This time, it’s the colonel’s daughter who on a routine scavenger hunt in her old town discovers her old flame. What follows is a mix of every cool zombie movie you have ever seen and Thelma and Louise! This is a road trip z-story packed with heart, but never shying away from the spilling of guts and the smashing of brains, which is, after all, what we want isn’t it?! But that ain’t all, folks. We also have horror hotels where every room contains a sickening and gruesome surprise, redneck cannibals, narrow escapes, the forming of new friendships…oh my! Wagner packs a lot into the 240 pages but never loses sight of what truly matters…love never dies, even when the world is on its knees.
I think Wagner does a really great job in getting the balance right with the love story and the action. There is never too much of either and I’m always a sucker for a strong, ass-kicking female lead. And so…
4/5 gunshots to the head from the Grim Reader.
Pick up a copy from here.
When you have finished reading this perhaps listen to…
Mutilated and Assimilated by Broken Hope: In case you didn’t know, Jeremy Wagner is the guitarist and lyricist for death metal titans Broken Hope and their 2017 release Mutilated and Assimilated is as heavy as metal gets. Thundering rhythms, shredding guitars and punishing death vocals are all checked in and accounted for. This album is heavier than a tonne of lead. Get some \,,/