Thursday, August 14, 2014
'Braineater Jones' (Book Review)
I'm always interested in authors putting a new slant on a familiar idea, and there's few horror themes more familiar these days than zombies. Braineater Jones provides an interesting take on the undead standard by mashing it up with a hard-boiled detective novel to create a "horror noir" mystery, with plenty of gross outs and obscure 1930's slang.
Our main character "wakes up dead", face down in swimming pool with no clue how he got there or who murdered him. All he knows is there's a hole in his chest, and he isn't breathing. He takes on the moniker of "Braineater Jones" and narrates the story via a series of journal entries as he unravels the mysteries of his murder in a strange city populated by the living dead.
Jones soon learns that he'll need to regularly imbibe booze if he wants to refrain from chowing down on human flesh, but it's a little tricky in a prohibition-era metropolis. With the help of his severed-head sidekick Alcibe, our hero provides his services as a Private Eye; encountering twists, turns, and thugs-a-plenty while making enough cash to buy some much needed hooch.
This definitely isn't your typical zombie novel. In fact, I dare say I've never read anything quite like it, and that's a bold statement considering the amount of time I spend on the internet. Kozeniewski injects a dark sense of humor into the entire story, and it was refreshing to see so many original spins on typical tropes. It was also an easy read (even considering the author's forward about the heavy use of time period lingo) and never lagged at any point.
Braineater Jones is appealing in many ways. As a dark comedy; as a fresh take on a well worn horror sub-genre; and as a strangely divisive take on the pulp detective rag. Featuring quality writing throughout, I can easily recommend it to anyone whose looking for something a little different, and isn't afraid to see some classic undead themes turned on their (decapitated) heads.
Reviewed (copy provided) on Kindle. 234 pages.