As you will have guessed from my “lazy” posts earlier this week, I’m participating in Novel Publicity’s promotional tour for Frederick Lee Brooke’s latest book, Zombie Candy. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to read the thing, since I’m decidedly not a zombie fan–I don’t like gore in any format. But I’m also a sucker for a free book, and this one’s description had enough to it that I was willing to give it a try. In fact, all the descriptions indicated that it was more of a dark parody of the horror trope than an homage to it. From the book description:
You know early on, from the color of the inappropriate bra in the opening scene, that Zombie Candy is going to be a black comedy. Most people could sympathize with the male obsession for sex and zombie movies, but who would put up with a husband who doused every dish with cilantro?
Weaving elements of mystery, horror, and romance in a story that starts in Chicago and ends in a quaint medieval town in sun-drenched Tuscany, Zombie Candy transcends any single genre. Embark on a journey that will tickle your taste buds and wake up your funny bone. What are you waiting for?
I didn’t realize when I picked it up that it was actually the second in the series, and as I read the first chapter I had to flip back to the cover a few times to confirm that Annie Ogden was supposed to be the protagonist in the story. Much of the story is told from her best friend Candace Roach’s perspective:
Her lying, cheating husband ducked. The eagle connected with the granite fireplace behind him and exploded into a thousand pieces. She looked around for something else to throw.
“Candace, are you crazy? Do you know what that cost?” He sprang up from the couch, moving toward her, arms out, ready to block any other projectiles.
She felt the tears coming. “I don’t care what it cost. It didn’t even cost anything. It was a wedding present.” He was mumbling apologies, repeating himself. She ignored his meaningless words. She felt like she was giving birth. She had never had a baby, but this was what it must feel like, your body ripping open, unimaginable pain. He was trying to hug her while her body opened up and exploded with primal screams, screams that were silent and internal but screams with teeth and eyes and burning fire. She struggled and tried to push him away.
“How could you cheat on me, Larry? What does it say? What does it mean for us? What’s going on with us?”
“We’re fine, Candace. It means nothing. I’m sorry. I’m sorry it happened.”
In fact, there isn’t much mystery to that mystery: We know from the opening scene that Larry is likely to have been a serial cheater, so as the evidence mounts, and the stakes escalate, the reader is swept along on a speculative “what will she do next” wave. The interesting structure and alternating viewpoints to the book put the reader in the middle of a triangle of secrets: Annie’s, Candace’s, and Larry’s. The journey to unravel those and the resulting transformative epiphany make the dark humor and personal growth an enjoyable ride for the reader.
Not to say there weren’t some confusing elements. It wasn’t entirely clear why we were being treated to Candace’s flashbacks to her time in Italy, nor even the source of Larry’s obsession with zombie movies. In some ways those detours deflated the pacing of the tale. And other reviews and the preview description of the story in no way prepared me for the sudden escalation of the stomach-churning ick-factor that was the climactic portion of the book. On a day when I was already queasy, those hyper-real descriptions of decaying flesh were almost enough to overset me.
And yet, I was completely invested in the emotional journey. There had been suggestive passages about the emotional carnage an incipient divorce brings with it, so the parallelism was an effective literary device. And I was intrigued to discover that there are actual Zombie Candies available for purchase online (which will make you laugh more, when you read that scene in the book):
For anyone who is looking for a darkly humorous yet realistic view of the emotional journey through the destruction of a marriage, this book covers the essentials effectively. I would recommend this to anyone who appreciates a psychological journey of a story, and doesn’t mind some graphic gore. The second half, focusing on the “reindoctrination of Larry Roach, liar, cheat and sex addict” is where the real irony kicks in and earns the book the giggle-worthy humor that allows me to recommend this to anyone who enjoys dark distraction with a laugh. The bonus recipes at the very end look mouth-watering enough to make the book worthwhile to any interested cook, as well. Certainly, while it’s on sale, you can’t go wrong for spending $.99 of your entertainment dollar on this cautionary tale sprinkled with a nice set of tasty morsels.
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Zombie Candy eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
- Purchase your copy of Zombie Candy for just 99 cents
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
- Visit today’s featured social media event
About the book: Weaving elements of mystery, horror and romance in a hilarious romp that starts in Chicago and ends in a quaint medieval town in sun-drenched Tuscany, Zombie Candy is a genre-hopping knee-slapper of a novel. Get it on Amazon.
About the author: Frederick Lee Brooke has worked as an English teacher, language school manager and small business owner and has travelled extensively in Tuscany, the setting of part of Zombie Candy. Visit Fred on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads accounts.