Every now and then you read a book that blows your socks off. Not because of any profound themes or life-changing words of wisdom, but simply because of its sheer badassery. DOUBLE DEAD is just such a book. From the first page, where vampire Coburn wakes up from a coma to find the world has gone to the zombies, to the last page, where (sorry, you’ll have to read it to find out), this novel never lets up. Coburn is not your friendly, sparkle-infused vampire that’s all the rage. Let’s put it this way. Colin Farrell tried to play a badass vampire as Jerry Dandridge in the remake of Fright Night. Coburn would rip Jerry’s neck off and shit down his neck, laughing the whole time he did it. Coburn is one seriously mean dude.
But the meanness breeds arrogance and overconfidence, which leads Coburn into a bit of trouble. He almost loses his (un)life to a pack of zombies. He escapes, but not before one of them bites him. His blood does something to the creature and she becomes, well, something new. Something aware. Which makes her really dangerous.
Then Coburn stumbles onto a group of survivors. After a tense standoff, he decides to make them his “cattle.” After all, with the majority of the population zombies, a vampire has to have something to chow on. So he agrees to take them west if they agree to feed him. From there, it becomes a bizarre road trip through hell in back. Half the fun of the book is reading author Chuck Wendig’s mapcap set pieces, full of blood, guts, cannibalism, gunfire, and explosions. And that’s just in the first act. From there, things get increasingly surreal and insane.
Wendig has populated his world with great characters. These aren’t your typical survivors you see in every zombie story. In many ways, it’s a miracle these people survived as long as they did before Coburn came along. But you believe they could survive, despite their differences and inabilities. They’re human, not zombie killing machine, and all of them are instantly relateable, and a few of them almost instantly unlikable. If you’ve ever read any of the author’s blog posts at Terrible Minds, you know that his prose is funny, profane, and engaging. The same can be said for this book, which is not for the prudish or faint of heart. It occasionally drifts into author intrusion sometimes, and you find yourself going, “what a clever turn of phrase Chuck has used there” so the writing is perhaps not as transparent as it could be. But you know what, when it’s this entertaining, who gives a damn?
If you like zombies, vampires, visceral horror, dark comedy, or all of the above, you need to pick up this book and give it a read. You’ll find yourself engrossed in one of the most original, enjoyable post-apocalyptic urban horror stories to come down the trail in a long time. I can’t wait to see the movie. Hell, I want to be the one to make the movie. RATING: 9.5/10