Double Dead: A Vampire in Zombie Land
Seriously, Lish? A book recommendation? That’s right, folks. I’m taking a time-out from yammering on about being a geek to tell you about the best book I’ve read in a long time. Remember how I told you I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo? Here’s why: I started reading Double Dead by Chuck Wendig.
But wait, aren’t you terrified of zombies? Don’t you avoid even the articles on the site that have anything to do with zombies? Why yes, yes I do.
And don’t you generally avoid all things vampire? You’d be right about that, too.
But – BUT! Double Dead is not another sensitive, emo vampire story. Nor is it your run of the mill Zombie Apocalypse. This epic genre mash-up offers a fresh look at some overdone monsters in a way that can only be put as: LEGENDARY. (…Maybe I’ve been watching too much How I Met Your Mother.)
Obsessive TV watching aside, Double Dead is not to be missed. It opens with Coburn the vampire waking up after a long, enforced sleep when blood drips into his mouth from above. From the very first line, you can feel the narrative pushing you forward – if for no other reason than to find out where the hell the blood is coming from. As Coburn wakes, acting on instinct, he seeks out the source of the blood – only to find two zombies (or ‘rotters’ as he often dubs them) feasting on a deer. Good food zombies do not make.
And thus begins the tale of Coburn, a rough around the edges vampire who’s main concern is to eat – something a world full of zombies doesn’t make easy on him. The zombies are a secondary concern; annoying, but ultimately not that big of a problem – until one of them bites him. Not that he thinks much of it at first – he’s too busy trying to find food in a world suddenly gone insane.
In comes a rag tag team of humans, or delicious morsels in Coburn’s mind, but a teenage girl with mysterious powers somehow manages to get through to Coburn long enough to convince him to make a deal with her: protect them, and get an infinite supply of food. This predator grudgingly finds this a deal he can’t afford to pass up – but it doesn’t mean he has to be nice about it.
In Double Dead, you’ll find a host of fun monsters (or humans who may as well be monsters). You’ve got your cannibals, your zombies, your super zombies, your religious wing-nuts that think of themselves as some kind of supernatural exterminators, your Juggalos – yes, I said JUGGALOS – and one hell of a vampire. Oh, and a few regular old humans. If that’s not enough to hook you (though I have no idea why it wouldn’t be), his writing style is the cherry on top – this book reads like a really big waterfall; once you start, you have no choice but to rush towards the end at break-neck speed.
Laced with artful profanity (yeah, I know that doesn’t make any sense) and a plethora of creepy violence, it still manages to have some real heart. Coburn is every bit a vicious monster, but he still has room in his dead heart for a rat terrier he calls Creampuff (just in case he has to eat him for a snack later) and a niggling sense of guilt that he’s constantly trying to avoid. Wendig has a real knack for subtlety and he strings the reader along with hints at every turn. For every question he answers, you’re left with five more, and the shock factor is ever-present, as well.
For those of you unfamiliar with Chuck Wendig, you can check out his writing advice and other ramblings over at terribleminds. You’ll also find a few short stories there for free, and if you like collectables, you might try to win a signed copy of Double Dead here. (I’ll fight you tooth and nail for it, though, so you’d better make your entries good.)
If you skimmed this article, I’ll simplify for you. Get your hands on a copy of Double Dead. I give it a 9.5/10. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed, you bunch of zombie-loving freaks.