I sometimes do a little litmus test with horror novels. I ask myself, Would I give a crap about these characters if there were no supernatural aspects to the story? Or whether there were even any life-threatening situations in it?

In the beginning of Hissers, Ryan C. Thomas introduces the reader to a couple of likable young teenage geeks who live in a small town. They like video games, science fiction, and of course are the object of ridicule. If not outright abuse. One, Connor, is athletic and could be more popular if it weren't for his loyalty to the other, Seth. Seth has a weight problem and a large chip on his shoulder.

We also meet two hip girls. One, Amanita, smokes, drinks, and flaunts her already sexy body. The other girl, Nicole, is more of a brain. Nicole likes Connor, so Amanita grudgingly accompanies her friend to a tree fort where the guys are hanging out on the night of a big party.

Needless to say, their teenaged dramatic angst is interrupted by a ghastly infestation of hungry, recently deceased human beings.

For me, Hissers emphatically would work without the zombie theme that Thomas introduces in the book. The dynamics of the teens, who all harbor traumatic secrets, were interesting enough for me. But then that wouldn't be a horror novel and it certainly wouldn't be published by apocalyptic fiction specialist Permuted Press.

I said that Hissers is a zombie novel. It sort of is and it sort of isn't. Ryan Thomas avoids the dreaded cliches and turns the subgenre on its head. Thank God.

So, if you are the kind of reader, like myself, who is sick to death of zombies, I recommend Hissers. It has strong characters that you will like and care about. It's also a unique approach to the walking dead. And if you DO like zombie fiction, I promise that you'll love it.

Review by Mark Sieber

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry