We’ve all seen this before. Something happens, and whether it’s someone messing around with magick or some dangerous contaminant spread through the air, or a virus, the dead mysteriously come back to life. And they want our flesh, or our brains.
Except for when we read the amazing John Ajvide Lindqvist’s new novel, things don’t exactly happen that way. And that is so refreshing. This guy is quickly becoming my favorite new novelist. And I must thank the wonderful translator who pulled all the English from his Swedish words.
Handling The Undead is the most original Zombie novel I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. There, I said it, and I’m one of those who feel that Zombies are just that and there’s really no need to mess with this time tested formula. It doesn’t matter if the undead or on a space station or wallowing around with alligators in the old west, Zombies are meant to stagger around and moan, and attack the living, who are most assuredly running for their lives, surviving the best way they can. This novel chunked the survival mode out the window and gives us a glimpse of how the story might play out if the dead truly did come back to life.
I mean, really, what would you do if someone you loved and cared for and missed more than anything in the world suddenly crawled from the earth and just…came home? No attacks, no moaning, no staggering around. They just came home, like nothing had happened. How would you react to that? Think of all the people having to suddenly care for these people all over again. How would the city officials react, the doctors and police and families and Centers For Disease Control?
How would we all handle it?
This book is not without it’s moments of pure gore. And of course, there is some typical undead behavior…it wouldn’t be a horror novel without that. But those moments are unpredictable yet completely logical. This is a novel that puts the living characters front and center, but then what would we expect from Lindqvist. Though not as good as Let The Right One In, this book cements Lindqvist as my new go-to guy when I’m looking for quality fiction with a big dose of horror.