When John Milton mentioned that he had a few books available in need of reviewing I was quick in offering to lend a hand, I love nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a good book and a cup of tea.
I was even more keen to help out when I read this:
“Jonah has seven days to find his best friend’s soul, or lose his own, dragging a zombie across the country with a stripper who has an agenda of her own, while being pursued for a crime he didn’t commit…and dealing with Satan.”
Not only does this book have the epic title of Badass Zombie Road Trip but it was also written by a woman, Tonia Brown. While this isn’t a huge selling point on it’s own, I have to admit that most of the horror literature I have read has been penned by men and therefore I just had to give Badass Zombie Road Trip a go.
And I am very glad I did…
The story begins with Jonah and his best friend Dale driving to Reno to play a gig. The two stop off at a diner where Dale reveals during conversation that he can’t ever return to California, where he lived until he was 9. However, he won’t tell Jonah why no matter how much he asks. As Dale has a bad habit of falling asleep in the car, Jonah hits on a plan, in order to find out what his friend is so afraid of, Jonah decides to drive to California instead of Reno while his friend his asleep. Jonah realises his mistake almost as soon as they enter California when Dale awakens and promptly freaks out telling his friend to turn around before it’s too late. In typical fiction style timing, at this moment a cop car pulls the pair over and Jonah discovers just how big a mistake he has made.
The cop turns out to be Satan himself come to take rightful claim of Dale’s soul. In order to save his friend from a premature death and an eternity in hell, Jonah makes a deal with the devil using his own soul as collateral, giving him 7 days to find Dale’s soul. With that Satan leaves Jonah to his journey but not before bringing a soulless Dale back as a rotting zombie in order to give Jonah a ‘helping’ hand.
What is great about Tonia Brown’s characters is that they are entirely believable. Jonah is the quiet nice guy of the pair but is has his flaws while Dale is the typical lead guitarist, being more about the groupies than finding gigs. When Dale loses his soul, you actually notice the difference in character very quickly and while at times the reader and even Jonah forgets that his friend is somewhat of an empty vessel there are moments when the pair clash and Dale lashes out at his friend reminding him of the dangers of a soulless best friend. Satan is also a fantastic character, Brown’s description really paints a picture of the smooth talking sadist who actually ends up being a particularly humorous character who seems to just want people to settle their debts and let him get on with it.
There are many situations that the friends get themselves in to that hinder their hunt for Dale’s soul, including Dale’s appetite, the cops and a stripper named Candy with a secret that could ruin everything. As the story progresses you find yourself routing for Jonah and Dale to succeed but not quite believing they can do it. The final chapters of the book are brilliant and have a twist that most won’t see coming.
Badass Zombie Road Trip is a fantastic book, the storyline is extremely well thought out and the action starts almost immediately. It is also extremely funny and has one of the best instances of truly expressive swearing I have ever read in a book.
I am being honest in saying that this book is one of the best stories I have read in a long while. While there is a lot of humour there are also a lot of dark moments and Brown just seems to have captured the perfect balance which will keep comedy and horror fans happy.
So if your looking for a badass book to read during this rainy season we call summer I would definitely recommend Tonia Browns ‘Badass Zombie Road Trip’!