Canadian author, blogger and champion of zombie extermination initiatives Jack Flacco is about to release his second novel in the Ranger Martin series. I held my breath and plunged into the infested world of death, mayhem and 101 ways to avoid having your brain eaten.
The zombies are back. Still groaning for human flesh, still moaning about a lack of respect. Goo-dribbling and brain-splattered, there haven’t been this many decaying automatons menacing society since the Conservative party conference wound up at Birmingham just over a week ago.
In Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion, the body count is astronomical, fitting really for a novel that brings a second threat from the skies. And a third if you factor in duplicitous army shenanigans and a plan to round up the last remains of human society.
Jack Flacco has created in Ranger Martin a gung-ho heatseeeker of a nemesis for the chewers and maggot bags (and here, Jack unleashes his vocabulary on every conceivable description of the zombie diaspora). Marshalling a rag tag of young mavericks and gun-toting urchins Ranger is forced to confront the enemy within and protect a special human hunted by the army and the aliens with equal ferocity.
If you want gore you’ll get it here. By the tankerful. There isn’t a wall or car windscreen in north America that isn’t now painted with someone’s brain. For the alien horror fans there are plenty of airshafts and cornfields to have your jollies well and truly freaked out.
For the thriller conspiracy theorists, Jack introduces the story thread of a collaboration between earth and extra-terrestrial life that has resonances of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. But there’s no preaching. Don’t expect any clumsy metaphors about the War on Terror; this is pure shoot-em-up ripping yarns territory and the hidden messages are left for another day.
Imagine Sam Peckinpah collaborating with Tim Burton and you might get close to this rollercoaster ride in and out of the towns, cities and backwaters of a zombie-ravaged land. A world where you have to look up as well as around you to avoid the threats. If the aliens don’t shine a light on you, the brain slurpers will have their pound of flesh. (Brain slurper, by the way, is my own term. See how infectious all this zombie vocabulary stuff is?)
There’s a depressing certainty that eventually a bunch of moongazing no-hopers will write novels in which zombies head for high school and fall in love, but hopefully Ranger Martin will have knobbled the lot of them (zombies, not the authors) before we’re forced to endure another genre destroying abomination a la Twilight.
Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion is the second novel by Jack Flacco, following on from 2013’s Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse. If the eponymous character had a movie made about him the title track might sound something like this.
Check out Jackflacco.com for news of the novel’s release later this month. The book will be available in paperback and all eformats.