"Zombieville" Book Review
Written by C.V. Hunt
2013, 110 pages, Fiction
Released on April 3rd, 2013
I'll start this review off by stealing from two talented individuals: Al Pacino and fellow reviewer Steve Pattee. The line is Al's, but Steve had the brilliant idea of using it in a review (if they have a problem with it, both men know where to find me): "Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in." Yeah, sometimes the zombie genre manages to make me feel like Pacino in The Godfather III. But I'm not talking about clichéd survival stories with an emphasis on flesh-hungry walking corpses. The tomes I'm referring to are those that feature a much richer and multilayered narrative. C.V. Hunt's Zombieville is definitely not just one of those types of stories, but also one that pulled me right back into liking zombie stories again.
Spencer is a shy, quiet, guy who works as a mortician in a small town in Ohio. His introverted, clandestinely violent personality stems from the years of bullying he suffered due to a birthmark that covers half his face. However, his thirst for vengeance is not Spencer's worst secret. Somewhere in the bowels of the funeral home, Chris, Spencer's brother, quietly waits for his sibling to arrive with the cold entrails of a recent corpse so he can eat. Chris died, but his brother used voodoo to bring him back. Since then, the duo has lead a strange life in which the hardest moments include having to go out and kill small animals to feed Chris when there are no dead bodies coming in. Unfortunately, everything is about to change: Spencer has met a girl. Raven is blind and just moved to town after the death of her mother. When she enters the picture, Chris knows things can only go downhill. If Raven and Spencer hit it off, he will be neglected. If things go poorly, maybe his brother snaps and does something horrible, something that involves the collection of trapped souls he keeps in the same room as his undead sibling.
On the surface, Zombieville is about a zombie who, despite being unable to talk, is perfectly capable of thinking and thus analyzes the possible outcomes of his brother's actions and blossoming relationship. However, readers won't have to dig much deeper to find a plethora of themes that Hunt brings to the table and that make this story so enjoyable. For starters, Spencer is a study in bullying, pain, vengeance, and social inadequacy. Suffering and retribution are the forces that push him forward at all times. Also, the way Hunt approaches things like kindness, family, frustration, love, and death through her characters is part of what makes this a must-read.
Besides the elements mentioned above, some of the best things about Zombieville are the small details that make it unique. For example, Chris can only move if he's listening to music, and his movements more or less mimic the beat he's listening to. Also, Raven's blindness, besides being an integral part of her interaction with Spencer and helping make the story's ending really creepy, makes sound carry such importance that it becomes a character.
C.V. Hunt has a knack for short, punchy, very original fiction, and Zombieville is proof of that. From tension and sex to voodoo and a shambler listening to rock while dining on cold intestines, this one packs something for everyone. Now go spend a dollar on this and learn why Grindhouse Press is quickly becoming a go-to place for unique horror.