First Word on J.R. Angelella’s New Novel ‘Zombie’

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First Word on J.R. Angelella's New Novel ZombieAs soon as we caught wind of a new book entitled Zombie by J.R. Angelella, of course we checked it out to see if it might be something you guys would be interested in. Our verdict? Most definitely! So read on for more details on this novel written by a true lover of the genre and expert in zombie lore.

Fourteen-year-old Jeremy Barker attends an all-boys Catholic high school where roving gangs of bullies make his days a living hell. His mother is an absentee pillhead, his older brother a self-diagnosed sex-addict, and his father disappears night after night without explanation. Jeremy navigates it all with a code cobbled together from the zombie movies he’s obsessed with: Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Planet Terror, Zombieland, and Dawn of the Dead among others.

The code is put to the test when he discovers in his father’s closet a bizarre homemade video of a man strapped to a bed, being prepped for some sort of surgical procedure. As Jeremy attempts to trace the origin of the video, this remarkable debut moves from its sharp, precocious beginnnings to a climax of almost unthinkable violence, testing him, and the reader, to the core.

Want to learn even more?

A Letter from Editor Mark Doten:
This book is a rare bird. Angelella has taken very disparate threads―in this case occultism, fan-boy geekdom, ritual mutilation, the terror of high school, familial strife, and a studied appreciation for the finer points of zombie cinema―and fused them into a strong narrative that is violent, emotionally poignant, and wonderfully weird. I’ll say now there are no zombies, but the story contains some strong horror elements and deals very much with physicality of fleshiness and supplication and powerlessness.

Jeremy’s warmth, humor, cockiness, and general adolescent confusion and freaked-out-by-lifeness are wonderfully etched in the book, as is his obsession with zombie films (which offer him both a way of understanding the world and an escape from it). But I wasn’t prepared for how deeply J.R. would capture the emotional complexities of Jeremy’s broken family or for the bold turn the book takes as Jeremy is driven out of the world he thought he knew and into a space of unspeakable violence.

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Debi Moore

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