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Zum Sterben Schön (2012)

by Wayne Simmons(Favorite Author)
3.83 of 5 Votes: 5
3902802391 (ISBN13: 9783902802392)
Voodoo Press
review 1: Coming across something new or even refreshing is difficult within a genre such as horror. Many filmmakers and even novelists plump for tried and tested ideas and the major archetypes within the genre cover a multitude of storylines and subsequently, at least to my mind, very little material seems original; which is why I am so taken with Drop Dead Gorgeous by Wayne Simmons.After a fairly pedestrian introduction and judging by the size of the paperback, I wasn't expecting great things from Drop Dead Gorgeous. I got quite a surprise once I got started...Simmons creates a bleak post-apocalyptic Belfast that could well be any city in the UK and his set up for what appears to be the end of humanity reminded me of the BBC series Survivors, with the majority of mankind taken dow... moren by some unknown malady, leaving only a handful apparently immune to this unseen assault.Similar to many post-apocalyptic novels, Simmons has his survivors start to band together in disparate groups with some distinct characters emerging. The setting of Belfast adds an interesting dynamic to the proceedings in the form of sectarianism, lending itself to the storyline the same way that racism did to George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead; and perpetuating pre-existing divisions between some of the characters.As for the characters, initially, I thought I was going to have the usual horror memes thrust upon me: the naïve teenager, ageing soldier, the family man, the fire and brimstone preacher, etc etc ad nauseum ad infinitum. This preconception couldn't have been more misplaced. Simmons develops his characters tremendously well; they come replete with all the fallacies of the human condition, dirty little habits and desires, rendering them painfully real.Unlike other post-apocalyptic/ zombie tales which dive straight into the mayhem, Simmons takes his time in developing the plotline with all the patience of a chess player moving his pieces expertly around the board. In fact, much of the novel revolves around the plight of the survivors without the addition of the walking dead but I assure you, when Simmons moves to his endgame and the dead rise in Drop Dead Gorgeous, they do so with a vengeance... Those looking for an instant gore-fix will be left champing at the bit with this work by Simmons; but for me, that simply ramped up the tension since after reading the back cover of the book, you know it's coming...The newly risen dead are distinctly different from Romero-esque zombies and perhaps more akin to the infected of 28 Days Later; but I think it is unfair to pigeonhole what Simmons has created here since this particular breed of walking dead I have never come across in all my horror fiction experience.After reading Drop Dead Gorgeous, it dawned on me that the events of the book depict an almost biblical rising of the dead and a purging of the earth. However, I far prefer the explanation given near the closing of the book and choose not to reveal that, instead urging you to go and find out for yourself!
review 2: After reading and reviewing Flu, I wasn’t sure if Wayne Simmons could top that delightfully horrible book—horrible in all the good ways of zombie horror. Well, he has with Drop Dead Gorgeous. I didn’t understand the title really until near the end, and then you think: What a master he is!Once again, Mr. Simmons has penned an un-put-downable book, where several characters are introduced and we get to follow their lives when disaster hits the world. People are dropping dead all over the place, and only a few remain. Why didn’t the survivors die? Who bloody cares, because you’re so wrapped up in their survival that the question just isn’t important. In Flu, I loved the way Mr. Simmons brought everyone together, so, with DDG, I knew I’d get more of the same deliciousness when the characters were introduced in their own sections from the start. There are just enough of them for you to keep track without thinking “WHO?” when they reappear—and that’s because they each have such a dramatic story, such strong characters, that you can’t forget them easily.Here are some of my faves:We have the treat of a female tattoo artist who you would possibly hate in real life because she’s a bit of a self-absorbed cow, but God, this is why I love Mr. Simmons’ books—he gives you real people. None of this “everyone has to be great despite their flaws” business going on here. No, what you see is what you get, the people just ARE as they are, and I find that bloody refreshing. I loved to hate Star, who is just sick enough in the head to border on her possibly being insane. I mean, who the hell would think it’s all right to tattoo dead people? Then we have Roy and Mairead, brought together because of the circumstances, and my goodness do they hate one another due to The Troubles in the past, one Irish, one British, and watching them get on one another’s nerves is a massive treat. They mesmerised me. Mairead, despite seeming like a hard-nosed bitch, is actually lovely underneath, and this is shown wonderfully with her care of a young girl who’d lost her mother to the dreadful thing that had happened to the world.There are so many people that if I wrote a little about each of them I’d be here a while, but rest assured, each character is richly developed—oh that poor sod who washed his dead wife and cleaned the house…broke my heart; and the guy who refused to accept his wife and child had died; and OMG, the man who did unspeakable acts to a female corpse… See? I need to be quiet, mustn’t gabble about them all. Each with their own story, their own past, and their own bleak-filled future, everyone starts coming together towards the middle of the book—and am I a geek for getting excited when this became evident?—and I waited, watching to see who met who and how.The gore doesn’t come until near the end, but my God it’s worth the wait. The block of pages where descriptions of zombie women attacking people are fantastic—I especially liked the scene where they reach into the back window of a vehicle holding some of the characters. I saw it all, eyes wide, me full of glee—weirdly? Am I odd?—that these undead women were doing such hateful things. I’m probably supposed to have been appalled by their behaviour, especially since I’d invested so much caring for the characters, but a part of me couldn’t help but cheer on these newly risen women. And then I wondered if I’d have felt the same had it been the dead men coming back to life. I’ll admit that no, I wouldn’t have. There was an element of Girl Power going on for me, and despite the zombies acting badly, I kinda liked them. Mad.Well, that’s the plot sorted, now for the prose. I loved the voice. It’s real, it’s dark and gritty, it’s so what I’m used to hearing in everyday life. The phrases, the way things are put—sold. I’m just sold on Mr. Simmons full stop. His style suits me, it’s something that is a joy to read and indulge in. A superb author penning a superb book. less
Reviews (see all)
I thought it was quite good, a very different slant on the zombie genre.
Great to read a book set in Belfast. But I'm not a zombie person
Just didn't click with me. Read Simmons 'Flu' instead.
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