APOCALYPSE COW by Michael Logan


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“Two legs bad,” might be the borrowed motto of the titular monsters of this apocalyptic look at the end of the world—were the great beasts not busy trying to kill everybody.

Scottish journalist Logan stays rather deadpan in his absurdist debut, even as the animals on which we depend turn the tables on us. He is, however, quite deliberate in the creation of his deeply disturbed cast. Much of this Glasgow-based tale is seen through the eyes of British teen Geldof Peters, a boy saddled not only with the world’s most awkward given name, but also vegan hippie parents who foist things like hemp clothing upon him. Even sadder is slaughterhouse veteran Terry Borders, who believes the stench of death upon him is driving away the ladies. To jump-start the lurching plot, Logan introduces ineffectual journalist Lesley McBrien, who is competing both with her nemesis Colin Drummond and the reputation of her war correspondent father. When a secretive plot to develop a bioweapon to disrupt the food chain goes awry, the motley crew must get nimble to unravel the story, outrace the predators and escape the island. Lesley manages to ferret out the details of the story, while Terry discovers that his death-tinged aura is largely a product of his own anxiety. In one of many twists on the genre, the disease—which quickly spreads to all the other animal species—also inspires rather explicit lust as well as murderous rages. The addition of a relentless, murderous spook named Alastair Brown only ratchets up the graphic horror. There are a few funny lines, but it’s more straight-laced than you might expect.

Despite a generous accolade from Discworld creator Terry Pratchett, who bestowed the inaugural Terry Pratchett Prize upon it, this zombie adventure inspires more gasps than laughs.

Pub Date: May 21st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-250-03286-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2013


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