Fiend by Peter Stenson
Published by Crown/Archetype on July 9th 2013
Genres: Fiction, General, Horror, Literary, Science Fiction
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
There’s more than one kind of monster. When Chase first sees the little girl in umbrella socks disemboweling the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to such horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations. But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived. And with Chase’s life already shattered by addiction, the apocalypse might actually be an opportunity—a last chance to hit restart, win back the love of his life, and become the person he once dreamed of being. That is, if the darkness inside him doesn't destroy everything—again.
I want to use all the puns here. I’ll just stick with ‘fiendishly funny’. I’m not generally compelled by action driven novels, which is why I’ve only read a handful of zombie apocalypse novels, but this one definitely stands apart from the pack. There seems to be a touch of Chuck Palahunik’s style in Stenson’s writing – which of course I love.
There’s nothing too deep and important to be found in this novel, so it’s great fun as a Halloween read. and I love the twist that Stenson puts on the whole zombie genre – he just makes it his thing, the zombies giggle. Which is totally creepy, but also a little funny. …and I couldn’t help myself from thinking the whole time, “…and the meth-heads shall inherit the earth.” Honestly, I can’t think of another zombie apocalypse story that’s anything like it.
The characters are fleshed out enough and believable (under the circumstances). I particularly enjoyed THE Albino – the cook that Chase and Typewriter first run to. The A and B love stories with KK/Jared and KK/Chase were relevant enough to the action that they didn’t get in the way – in other words, they weren’t extraneous. You know how much I hate a love story just for the sake of a love story.
All the characters and flawed and tragic in their own way, but scrappy survivalists as well. Despite the fact that my knowledge of meth is completely compiled of watching Breaking Bad, I still felt that these characters were incredibly relatable and I found myself rooting for them.
So glad I chose to pick up this book. Highly recommended to anyone who likes zombie novels and dark humor, but probably not recovering meth-addicts.
Whatcha think, Reader? Are you looking for a new twist on the zombie genre? What’s the weirdest twist on a ‘settled’ monster (vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.) genre you’ve seen lately?