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PAUL IS UNDEAD by Alan Goldsher


The British Zombie Invasion

by Alan Goldsher

Pub Date: June 22nd, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4391-7792-1
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

In which the Fab Four reveal a fondness for munching on human brains in between gigs.

We’ve endured a flood of vampire books for the past few years, so it may be time to give zombies a chance to work their literary magic. Prolific ghostwriter and music journalist Goldsher (Modest Mouse: A Pretty Good Read, 2006, etc.) makes a reasonable case in this essentially trivial but entertaining novel, which posits that, way back in October 1940, the big cheese among a tribe of suppurating, gooey zombies that lived in the sewers of Liverpool stole newborn John Lennon away from his mother, Julia, and made him one of the bunch. Comments interlocutor and zombie-ologist Lyman Cosgrove: “Being that Lennon was all of five hours old when he was attacked by the First, I feel comfortable saying that the First used a spell on the baby rather than an assault.” Little Johnny knows no such niceties, and he quite capably takes his place among the Liverpudlian undead, who are the toppermost of the poppermost when it comes to the zombie pecking order—as Cosgrove notes, they’re skilled at hypnosis and telekinesis, and they can reattach any limb that happens to fall off, except for the heads. Now a young man and a veteran of a band that he wanted to call The Maggots (“I thought the Maggots was a brilliant name. Still do, actually”), John does a couple of big things: he resurrects Julia from the dead, and he recruits a sweet youth named Paul McCartney to help him take over the world—but not before making an unholy mess of his firm young flesh. And, with George (who, still a schoolboy, has to pester Paul to kill him) and Ringo, they take over the world, with no end of mayhem, giving new meaning to the notion of the primal scream. Goldsher turns in a classic rags-to-riches tale of aspiration and success that would do Horatio Alger proud, punctuated by no end of gore.

Slight but fun. A little misguided, though, since everyone knows the Rolling Stones are the walking undead.