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by A. Lee Martinez

Pub Date: May 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-765-31143-7
Publisher: Tor

A first novel explores the dynamics of the horror novel and comes up with Wolf Man Meets H.P. Lovecraft.

After all, Universal Pictures started this whole horror revival back in the mid-1930s just as Lovecraft was departing to meet the old gods of Cthulhu, so why not meld the two scary venues into one? Here, Martinez leads us into the lives of Earl the Vampire and Duke the Wolf Man, who met on the night that Duke first changed from human to werewolf, attacked Earl in the woods and began eating his guts. We meet these two argumentative lowlifes in their ratty pickup truck as they pull into Gil’s All Night Diner in Rockwood County in the middle of nowhere. Even in human form, Duke is huge. Earl, defying Bela Lugosi’s Hungarian hauteur, has a really bad comb-over on his balding pate. Gil himself disappeared five years ago—to rule the universe, we later learn—and left fat Loretta to run his diner. Over the years she’s shotgunned about 185 zombies, but they continue to attack the eatery in small groups. Duke and Earl decide to stick around and help Loretta ward off these unwelcome walking dead. It turns out that Rockwood County has been pestered in recent years by various occult disturbances, thanks to Tammy, a high-schooler intent on becoming Lilith, Queen of the Universe. To that end, she’s been studying her abridged Necronomicon and raising zombies to take over Gil’s diner as her very own gateway to Lovecraftville. Meanwhile, Earl comes across Cathy, an attractive teen ghost guarding a no-longer-used local graveyard, and they fall for each other. That’s as much plot as you need to know.

Promising launch for a buddy horror series. Who’s next: Frankenstein?