by Caralee Caudelle
Soul Survivors: Hometown Tales
Anthology edited by Shawn M. Riddle
KnightWatch Press: 2011
3.5 / 5 zedheads
The Soul Survivors: Hometown Tales anthology is formatted just how you would expect the Apocalypse to actually occur.
The stories began a little shallow and unbelievable and can be easily dismissed as unimportant. The first two accounts of strange occurrences are stiff and disorganized but lead to the next few stories of the anthology, each consistently intensifying the blatant terror surrounding the few strong individuals left combating the inevitable end. With several stories that provide us with refreshing tales of the zombie infestation as well as new stories about demons, werewolves, killer zombie clowns, and cannibalistic neighbors, the apocalypse is spelled out in bold letters for your worst nightmares come to light.
Though there are a few stories in the collection that require little attention; thankfully, the bulk of the narratives are very worthwhile. Sean M. Thompson’s "A Warm Spring Day" is the first of these stories, grabbing your attention and introducing you to the a widowed husband and father left to his own devices. On a bachelor weekend at home, the world cracks open and demons begin terrorizing, torturing, and nailing the living up throughout the city while stalking and taunting the main character to surrender to their master Satan. A few more tales into the book, you meet the protagonist in Patrick D’Orazio’s "Love Thy Neighbor." He handles the zombie infection instigated by 'hybridized rabies' with a full protective Mad Max outfit and motorcycle helmet, swinging a hockey stick wrapped in barbed wire and crusted with the blood and flesh of his former zombie neighbors. The widowed main character decides to test his luck and take on the world alone. Bidding his brutally efficient neighbor adieu, he ends up facing a different kind of flesh-eating nightmare.
Overall, the anthology is pretty solid, despite a few lackluster stories and questionable proofreading. The order of the stories saves the collection as a whole. Starting with slow-burning classic stories about zombies might seem a little tired, but the roller coaster eventually ascends to the payoff. The collection’s authors ultimately deliver what we expect of The End, with a few noteworthy twists on classically terrifying tropes.
If you’re looking for a few days of fun scoffs and some mindless entertainment, Soul Survivors is worth the purchase. If you can’t find yourself in at least one of the characters, you’re probably already dead.
Caralee Caudelle is a southern belle who has been deranged since birth. She is currently working covertly in corporate America, tediously plotting her escape by day and can be found watching terrible B movies in the dark while fantasizing about squeezing the guts out of her Chihuahua, Gretta, by night. She’s currently working on her first novel and art show. She can be stalked at http://www.riotforcc.blogspot.com and on Twitter @cc_riots.