The Sinister Mr. Corpse
I was introduced to Jeff Strand by J.A. Konrath. Being a member of the now redundant Leisure Horror book club, I had already received Strand’s book Pressure, although I hadn’t read it upon my conversation with Konrath. He told me that Strand was one of the few authors out there that did a great job of blending humor with horror. I was excited to begin reading his work. Fast forward a couple days later when I read the last page of Pressure. I thought to myself, where’s the humor? Pressure was an INTENSE book. I didn’t laugh much throughout. But, I was hooked, and had to have him on the show.
I had just come off an interview with a female horror writer, who will remain nameless (not out of fear that she’ll read this, but out of fear that YOU might be tempted to read her work), that left me questioning my own goals as a writer. She was obnoxious and very full of herself, and I decided that if I had to act like her to become a published author, then they can keep it. I don’t want it that bad. Needless to say, I never aired the interview. I had already set up a time slot to interview Jeff Strand when I recorded the dreadful interview with Lady Writing God. I was afraid Mr. Strand would be just as intolerable. And, thankfully he was not. He was a blast, although, I showed my ignorance when I didn’t realize the extent of his writing credentials.
The next book I read was Kutter – another intense story – yet heartwarming all at the same time. This one did have some humor in it, but not what Konrath had proclaimed Strand was known for.
Then came Dweller. Okay, we’re getting there. More humor, but still another intense book – also my favorite book of 2010.
So, I went back and started reading his backlist.
Benjamin’s Parasite. When I finished this book, I then understood Konrath’s comments. Strand took a disturbing and sickening story about a parasite, but somehow managed to make it an absolute comedic treasure.
With The Sinister Mr. Corpse, Strand is unleashed. The plot summary on Amazon is as follows:
Sometimes they rise from the grave, hungering for human flesh…
Sometimes they’re created by a mad scientist intent on forming an unstoppable army of the undead. Sometimes the zombie plague is transmitted by a horrific virus……and sometimes, they’re resurrected in front of millions of viewers as part of a live primetime television special.
This is the story of Stanley Dabernath, zombie. A regular guy who dies, is brought back to life as a ghastly walking cadaver, and becomes the international sensation hailed by the press as The Amazing Mr. Corpse. Fame! Wealth! Groupies! Despite his ghoulish appearance, Stanley finds himself living the dream.
But in many ways, it’s harder to be a celebrity than a zombie. The suits behind Project Second Chance want to tell him how to behave in public. It’s difficult to enjoy a simple restaurant meal in peace. There’s constant pressure coming at him from all sides--not to mention that many people consider him a vile blasphemy that should be erased from existence.
And does Project Second Chance have Stanley’s best interests in mind, or is the real reason behind his reanimation something much more...sinister?
Sounds interesting, does it not?
Stanley Dabernath is not a successful man and he knows it, which made him an even sadder character. A pathetic failure that takes breaks to cry into a pillow. When he is accidentally killed (a glorious demise) and not until he’s brought back to life, does he become somewhat loved. This is where the story progresses to the small guy that hits the big time cliché, but Strand doesn’t recycle what’s already out there, his vision is original and welcomed. At first Stanley is humbled, if not ashamed, of his rebirth. But, then, as the story continues, he begins to absorb his own bullshit and truly believes that he is phenomenal. Of course there are those that adore The Amazing Mr. Corpse and others that fear him enough to kill him. Then there are those that know a sweet prize when they see it and want nothing more than to exploit him.
I don’t want to delve much deeper into the plot out of fear of giving too much away. But, I’ll say this. Jeff Strand threw an outstanding cast of characters, plot turns, and knee-slapping humor into a blender and hit mix. There are others out there that attempt this, but no one, and I mean absolutely no one, can pull it off quite like Jeff Strand. His writing is unique and all his own. I don’t understand why his books aren’t out there more than they already are.
I like that a lot of authors are now self-publishing some of their books on the Kindle. If you’re like me, and I know I am, there are a lot of authors out there that we adore, and after the Leisure collapse, there was a fear we’d never get them again at an affordable price. Now, thanks to Ebooks, we can get them quickly and cost efficient. The Sinister Mr. Corpse was only $2.99 and once I clicked Buy I had it three seconds later.
Go to Amazon, get The Sinister Mr. Corpse, and while you’re at it, pick up some of Strand’s other books. You won’t be disappointed.