Matthew Dowd's Reviews > Kill the Dead

Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey
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's review
Feb 21, 2012

really liked it
Read from February 21 to March 01, 2012

Kadrey's followup to the fantastic Sandman Slim is a sequel that doesn't disappoint, even if (for me) it should.

This is not a zombie novel, but it does have zombies in it. So, let's set something straight first: I hate zombies in books. And movies. Games. Comics. Casual jokes. I don't get them. I mean, sure, I understand why they are scary: People you love becoming shells bent on eating your brains and guts. A large angry mob that can't or won't hear your protests and can't be stopped (this is the real, primal fear part that I do get, being one against an endless crowd). I just don't find them that scary when compared to actual living breathing people, who lie, cheat, murder and rape in real life everyday, across all cross-sections of humanity. And in books, there are a lot of zombie tropes, which leads to a lot of stale books and movies. I crave something different, and zombie rarely feel different. So Kadrey is coming in from a difficult angle for me. That being said...

I still really liked this book. Kadrey succeeded in taking a subject that I don't particularly like and using it as an obstacle and a backdrop as opposed to the main opposition (and he did complicate the idea behind them as well). Stark's problems aren't just a horde of zombies, they're everyone(not really spoilers ahead): the Vigil, the Sub Rosa, Lucifer, Hollywood, cash flow, his friends, himself, his nature, and cigarettes. That's why this book succeeds for me. He isn't fighting a mindless horde, he's in a conflict with every tiny vibrating bit of the physical and metaphysical universe.

Stark is a damn good character (the star in a robust cast of damn good characters), and I am more than willing to follow him through an arc that I would normal shy away from. I plan on starting Aloha from Hell on my commute home tonight.

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