When a paranormal creature infiltrates a rural North Carolina backwater, a mysterious agency sends a dead guy to make things right, as one does.
Young-adult novelist Post (The Siren House, 2016, etc.) jumps into the horror-comedy subgenre firmly pioneered by the likes of Christopher Moore, S.G. Browne, and Isaac Marion with this grotesque Southern gothic that’s half Evil Dead, half Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil. Our hero, if you can call him one, is Saelig Zilch, formerly a chef and husband to a beautiful wife, Susanne, who is now dead. That’s Zilch who’s dead, not the wife. Of course he’s the one who’s dead—you can’t name a guy “Zilch” and not expect him to come to a bad end. But Saelig is trapped in an unending nightmare in which his mysterious “employers” capture his dead spirit, thrust him through some paranormal means into a freshly dead body, and reanimate it with nanobugs—over and over again. Cue the zombie hand leaving the grave. The first person that runs into Zilch is a local fast-casual restaurant waitstaff shift manager named Galavance who literally hits him with her car. “I tell you I’m a reanimated corpse sent back from the dead to hunt monsters, and you’re fine with it...and you giggle?” remarks Zilch. Once they part ways, we meet Gal’s circle of local losers, most notably her slimy stoner boyfriend, Jolby, and Patty, the shrewish and scheming owner of the restaurant. Saelig’s gig is hunting lusus naturae, freaks of nature that invade the human species and wreak havoc, in this case a disgusting swamp-beast that can disguise its true nature. The action is somewhat pedestrian, but Post has a knack for the grotesque imagery of horror, whether it’s Zilch casually entering a scene with his intestines wrapped around his neck like a scarf or a phantasmagorical plot to provide the restaurant with a very special ingredient.
A squishy bit of pulp horror with a hero whose loneliness just complements his lifelessness.