Fans of the series will snap up with relish this biting little short in the Zom- B series.
Written with Shan’s vivid and fast paced prose, the strong gore that would give horror maestro’s like James Herbert a run for the money, and shocking comeuppances for some of the protagonists that show a bleak, pitiless, remorselessly logical justice, this works if you are new to the series or Shan or already a fan. I hadn’t read Shan before, but on the strength of this I went on to read ‘Zom-B.’
So as a new Shan reader I must admit to being rug-pulled. At first I thought he was just going to be really tiresome in saying the same thing; that in extreme situations such as an un-dead apocalypse, you may have to throw your usual moral code out of the window. The protagonist, Kat, throws some terrified school girls into the path of some zombies to escape. Because that’s how you survive. We are told this repeatedly, and Kat does this repeatedly. But Kat is taught a terrible lesson. The zombies, and their mutant masters, are a few steps ahead of her…
Shan does have a responsibility to younger readers, and there is a moral logic display here, but it is deftly woven into the fabric of the story and presented as a twist.
The zombies with their bone talons and extended teeth are effective creations, as are their mysterious mutant masters. As a newbie to the series, I look forward to finding out more about them. The ring master mutant is a wonderfully grotesque creation, and the football stadium circus is a gleeful, nightmarish setting.
All in all this is what a short like this should do; tell a punchy story well, and make you want to delve further into the series. This it certainly did for me.