by Chuck Wendig
5 out of 5 stars. Imagine them.
First off, I'm gonna tell you all that Double Dead is not for the faint of heart. If you suffer from a severely overactive gag reflex, heart murmurs, are a nun, or you're just straight up noodle-necked (not a real thing), stay well back. If you don't fall into those categories, pick up the dang book. I give Double Dead 5 solid stars, and it deserves it.
I've been a long time follower of everything Chuck Wendig. I guess I may even be considered a Wendigoth (a term for Wendig fans, coined by another blogger), and frequent Terribleminds.com on a daily basis. A while back I picked up Chuck's self-pubbed book Shotgun Gravy and tore through it in a day. I enjoyed it, is what I mean to say (review on that book sometime in the future). So, a few days ago I thought, what the hey, I'll pick up this vampire book of his too. It was only $5.99 on Apple's Bookstore after all. I believe I purchased it at perhaps 1pm, and finished it at 10pm the same day. Sure, I took breaks to eat, and breathe. It joined me in the john though. So there's that.
Double Dead is a book about a vampire who wakes to find himself a dried out husk in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. As you can imagine, he's suitably confused, and soon finds a host of inconveniences as a result of this new world order. First off, zombie blood does nothing for him, and the lack of living, breathing humans is a serious problem. Many more unfold as the story goes on, but I won't spoil it. The book details his search for a solution to all his problems, ending with pretty great climax, I have to say.
Double Dead is straight up intense in every way. There's hilarious cussing throughout, strange metaphors and similes (as is Chuck's style), and crazy scenes of zombie vs. vampire violence. It's really great. I was actually shocked by some of the things I read (which is hard to do). I found myself grinning at the inventive nature of the various gorefests Chuck came up with. There's something for everyone: cannibals; crazed ICP fans turned dictators; religious fanatics; not to mention lots of blood sucking, heads exploding, and bone-breaking; all that good stuff.
Chuck Wendig has an undeniable voice in everything he writes, and it shows through loud and clear in Double Dead. The main character is the vampire Coburn, a nearly nihilistic jerk who is used to the easy, blood-sucking life New York affords: drunk club girls, drug addled yuppies, and probably the odd homeless dude too. We get to see right inside his mind, which Chuck fills with very firm personality, and never shies from talking about what Coburn would truly be thinking, even if it seems horrible to us. The point of view shifts between characters (even if they are minor and destined to die) as the book goes on, giving us an almost cinematic sense of the events unfolding. The narrative voice is many times completely omniscient, referring to all the characters by their names, even if the current POV character has no way of knowing that information. It's an intriguing way of doing things, and not at all what I was used to.
I've read it described as "pulpy", but I don't really know what that truly means, so I'll sum it up in my own words: It's the book you've been waiting for, even if you didn't know it. Great horror, lots of gore, great characters, a solid plot, and believe it or not, heart. I don't want to spoil anything beyond that, so I won't highlight my favorite parts, or discuss the ending. I will say though, that the book is not all that it seems to be. Pick it up, and enjoy a great read, courtesy Chuck Wendig.