With tongue mostly in cheek and pen dipped in gore, horrormeister Schow (Eye) works gleefully ghoulish variations on the zombie theme in the four stories that make up this new collection. All are marinated in the mindset of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead movie trilogy, which, as the author notes in his introduction, turned its monsters into metaphors by drawing unsettling parallels between flesh-eating zombies and our mindless modern consumer culture. "Blossom," a tale of necrophilia, gives gruesome new meaning to the "biter-bit" tale of poetic justice in its account of a fetishist whose partner turns his kinky sexual appetites against him in mid act. In "Don't Walk," the living dead are just another element in a naturally macabre New York City street scene. "Jerry's Kids Meet Wormboy" is the collection's spiritual center, a splatterpunk mock epic set in an apocalyptic future where the living dead outnumber the living, and where a zombie-eating mortal misfit squares off against a fundamentalist preacher who has found the perfect congregation in the mindless monsters. "Dying Words" ends the book with a clever reflection on the mass production of escapist fiction—including zombie stories—to feed reader demand as its own form of zombification. Thanks to bouncy prose and an incisive wit, Schow makes even the outrageous and grisly morsels of Grand Guignol seem palatable. (Aug.)
FYI:Schow is also the author of a new novel, Rock Breaks Scissors Cut (Forecasts, July 21).