An endlessly entertaining zombie tale that checks off genre conventions with style.

RABID HEART

In this horror romp, a woman’s love for her fiance survives the zombie apocalypse despite his status as one of the undead.

Twenty-one-year-old Rhonda Driscoll was a hairstylist just six months ago, before the Necro-Rabies breakout in North America. Rabid zombies, known as Cujos, devour living humans or turn them into the undead. Rhonda is one of 200 survivors at a military base run by her father and sole remaining family member, Col. Kenneth Driscoll. When the latest mission for gathering supplies and survivors includes her hometown of Levendale, she’s reluctant to join, as it’s where she watched her loved ones die. But it’s also a chance to revisit her home, where she surprisingly finds her husband-to-be, Brad Savini. He’s “Cujo-fied,” but rather than kill him, Rhonda secures Brad with a gag ball and a handy pair of furry handcuffs. The colonel isn’t happy when Rhonda brings a Cujo back to the base, and when it’s clear he’s planning to put Brad down, she flees with her undead fiance. With little knowledge of how the plague is affecting the rest of the world, she faces unknown dangers. Sure, there are other living humans out there, but they may not be preferable to rabid zombies. Wagner (The Armageddon Chord, 2011) merely hints at a global epidemic while ensuring the story is Rhonda-centric. This maintains a sharp, persistently moving narrative of the protagonist’s personal quandary and eventual flight. Rhonda’s questionable decisions (for example, leaving the base’s safety) are forgivable, as she’s protecting her soul mate, who, to be fair, is tamer than most Cujos. She’s moreover a laudable heroine, trained by the colonel. She uses her shooting skills to dispatch multiple zombies and cares for a couple of younger survivors. The narrative stays grounded in familiar zombie terrain, from an undead lover to humans proving worse than the flesh-eating Cujos. But it’s immensely fun, and Rhonda dishes out one-liners with panache, even if only in her head: “I ain’t got time to bleed.” 

An endlessly entertaining zombie tale that checks off genre conventions with style.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62601-465-7

Page Count: 194

Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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