Sunday, July 4, 2010

A New Contender for "Worst Horror Novel I've Read"

City Of The Dead
Please stay away from Brian Keene.  I'd never heard of him, but had some store credit to burn at the Other Used Book Store (the one with higher prices and that one woman behind the counter who always looks at me like I'm there to steal something).  I noticed City Of The Dead.  It had zombies, so I grabbed it.  This was a big mistake. 

Keene, who apparently won a Stoker Award for his first zombie book, The Rising, appears to be trying to channel bad zombie movies into print.  It doesn't work, at least not with his writing.  It's awful.  The characters are cardboard, with dialogue so atrocious I'm not sure Keene has ever heard another human being speak.  An entire book that's just one extended "flee/fight the zombies" scene would get boring even in capable hands.  In Keene's world, the zombies are a result of demonic possession, which isn't a bad idea, but you can't really take them seriously because they talk (with Keene's cheesy dialogue), sing, burn down houses (and even sing while burning down houses:  "the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire"), and are led by a demon who calls himself "Ob of the Obots".  Keene exercises the most creativity in going for the gross-out, with necrophilia and maggot-filled zombie testicles.  Oh, and everybody dies in the end.

The only silver lining in this frankly stupid book is for budding horror authors, who will realize after reading it that you really can get anything published (at least, if it's about zombies or vampires).       

1 comment:

  1. I really liked "The Rising:" it was cheesy slab of pulp that managed to work in some nice ideas. It wasn't the end-all be-all of zombies, but was fun.

    I couldn't stand "City of the Dead" and it was the last thing I ever read by Keene.

    First, it liberally ripped off Romero's "Land of the Dead." Then, the over-the-top goofiness of Rising was buried- It was like he was trying to be serious and just turned brutally nihilistic.

    I Mean, Zombie books are supposed to be gross and tasteless and in your face about your mortality, but Come on. They are supposed to be entertainment also.