Horror as comedy, bawdy and blue, more yucks than frights.



The creator of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes to print with a co-authored foray into zombie comic novel territory.

Tobe Hooper, real-life auteur of on-screen mayhem and gore, is the protagonist in his own novel, chronicling a plague of "suicide bombers, burning cities, an inordinate number of missing persons, and a new strain of STD." The all-in-good-horror parody begins with Hooper invited to screen his never-seen teenage-filmed first effort, Destiny Express, at the famous South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. Austin happens to be Hooper's home town, he's been offered a generous fee and he's sure to see old friends. Enter a bonanza of bizarre characters. Dude McGee, the corpulent slacker organizing the screening, resides in his mother's basement, has body odor redolent of lunch meat, and purposely mangles Hooper's name. Erick Laughlin is a local film reviewer and sometime musician. Janine Daltrey needs the bucks she'll earn taking tickets at the door, but she refuses to enter the screening venue, a raunchy bar called The Cove. Then there's Janine's sister, Andi, plus assorted meth cooks and tweakers, and Tobe's childhood best friend, Gary Church, who starred in Destiny and then moved to Hollywood for a career chewing scenery in horror flicks. The world begins to turn upside down at the screening when the film somehow releases a virus that infects those present. Andi turns from virginal good girl to a mega-obsessed sexual glutton. Gary returns to "Hell Lay" and morphs into a zombie. Arsonists flame up everywhere. A Homeland Security agent becomes a terrorist. And it's all because of the Gamethe virus—transmitted by the never-before-screened film. This isn't a straightforward narrative. The frenetic, quick-change-of-scene novel lands on the pages as handwritten notes, copies of e-mails, blog posts, Twitter tweets and first-person recitations from the various characters.

Horror as comedy, bawdy and blue, more yucks than frights.

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-71701-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Three Rivers/Crown

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.


From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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