Friday, April 26, 2013

If Batman Had Been Incompetent...And Had to Fight Zombies


First Paragraph:

"Dr. Malevolent stood before the one obstacle stopping her from collection her salary: the large brick wall of The Bank. Yes, they actually called it The Bank. Despite such an enticing name, the super villain never before thought to rob it. Too obvious. Yet here she was, preparing to breach The Bank, its benefits ripe for the reaping. A few feet away was the back door that Boris- her right-hand man- had lined with C5, a special cocktail he had cooked up. C4's big brother, he called it."

             Amazon /

A Drizzle of Zombies by Joshua Price is the first book in 'The Annals of Absurdity" series.

Dr. Malevolent is up to her super-villain ways again. This time she wants to rob the bank (aptly named 'The Bank"). With her schizophrenic sidekick, Boris (aka Charlie, aka Cecil DeWitt, aka who knows) and a group of unnamed lackeys, what could possibly stop her? With her "employee of the month' winning" rod constantly at her side and the most unsubtle getaway van of all time, nothing can hinder her cause- taking revenge on human-kind for her father's natural causes. She will have vengeance.

Enter Captain Rescue, the epitome of a spoof hero and arch-nemesis of Dr. Malevolent. Armed with a purple, spandex suit (with cape), plenty of unidentifiable (at least to him) Internet bought gadgets, and more neuroses than the average pollen-fearing bee in a florist's, he defends the citizens valiantly in the name of Justice. Or at least tries to. Captain Rescue is unfortunately 'one banana short of a fruit bowl' if you get my drift, and only succeeds in saving anybody through sheer, dumb luck. His idea to save the cliche cat in the tree, is to repeatedly ram his parent's truck into the trunk until one or both buckle. 

He travels in one of his many "Rescue" vehicles, but his most used is the "Rescue Machine", which he personally designed- with crayons. But why does he do all this? Why choose this path? His parents were killed by dolphins and now he must fight evil. They were very wealthy and it's their money that pays for all his escapades and funds his 'creativity'.

During this latest battle between the two foes, Dr. Malevolent and her crew get captured. This is important because their cargo gets taken into custody as well. Among their bank spoils is a vial of strange, green liquid with enough warning labels to make anyone think twice. Well, almost anyone. Seems one of the police men cataloguing the inventory thinks it looks rather tasty. From the title of this book, I'm sure you can guess what happens next. Yes, our clever cop has a coughing fit and seconds later becomes a zombie. Luckily his partner has seen enough horror movies to realise what's happening. Unfortunately, this leaves him paralysed with fear and causes his demise. 

When the city actually calls for help from their resident "hero", he's in it up to his neck, literally- zombies love necks. And what's our Batman-wannabe's (seriously, he lives in a cave and has a butler called "Alfonso") first reaction when encountering a zombie? Spray it with mace! Now why don't any of the movies ever think of that? Oh right, because it does absolutely nothing. Who would've thought? Note to self: Mace does not repel the undead. 

Eventually, he works his way to the police station and runs into Dr. Malevolent and her cronies. Together, they agree to help save the world (in Malevolent's case it's because she doesn't want to rule the undead), along with a huge mountain of muscle (Freight- who's a cop with a bloodlust to match his size) and his shotgun, Courtney. Boris (Malevolent's right-hand man) equips himself with his precious bunny costume and becomes 'Charlie', a born leader with enough smarts to possibly save them all- minus a few lackeys.

Along the way, this odd menagerie run into a zombie who's a little bit different- he can speak (plus he doesn't have a hunger for human flesh). He has no memory of his human life, but does get brief visions of how the zombie DNA (if that's what it is) was created. The group decide he might be useful and let him tag along. As he can't remember his own name, Captain Rescue 'kindly' names him Stubbs. Stubbs informs the group that zombies apparently don't like giant, fuzzy, blue bunnies and so Charlie is the perfect deterrent. Together they will battle through zombie nightclubs, a zombie birthday party and in general a lot than 'a drizzle of zombies', to find the creators and save the world.

In case it wasn't already clear, this is very much a comedy. For this reason, the zombies are hardly threatening. I'm fully aware that that these two things aren't necessarily related. I know you can have scary zombies in a comedy (thank you 'Shaun of the Dead"), but these ones aren't. Just to make that clear for anyone out there who's only interested in zombies that leave you devoid of all hope and with a death wish. 

There are also a ton of pop culture references, from 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and 'Doctor Who' to 'Jurassic Park', 'Monty Python' and 'Donkey Kong' (with many, many more), there's bound to be something you recognise. Of course, there are also the obvious references to superheroes, mostly Batman, and the whole 'saving the world' thing. I feel I have to make it clear- this is a spoof. It is in no way serious. Absolutely nothing makes any sense in this book. Things get stranger and stranger and if you're the kind of person who can't not question what's going on, this may not be the book for you. If you can go with the flow, you may find this book more appealing.

Sometimes, the nonsense can be a little tiring, especially paired with the slapstick humour. Both are  constant and unceasing, but they can be odd enough to keep you reading. Just be aware that if you're looking for something with even an ounce of seriousness in it- this is not it. 

Overall, a story with quirky (if a little immature) humour, that is reminiscent of old-school TV shows, such as 60's Batman and Doctor Who episodes, with a little video-game oddness thrown in. If you like pop-culture references or spoofs, this is for you. For me, there was just a little too much absurdity to fully enjoy this book. Everyone has a different level of craziness that they can tolerate and this book exceeded mine. 

If this book has caught your interest, you'll be pleased to know it ends on a cliffhanger and the next book is available. If you can handle more crazy than me, why not check it out?

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.

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