Dead Meat is a US-based horror story. It sets itself aside from its peers by being small-town and centred around a core of protagonists. Our potential antagonists are… well… everybody else. That’s the tone Dead Meat sets, and it’s one hell of a ride.
This book is not for the faint of heart, those with a weak disposition, nor for those with a bleak outlook on life. If you’re in the doldrums, it’s probably best that you don’t pick up this book. Rarely have I seen such a desolate tone set and carried through with force throughout the entire novel. Despite the counterpoint joviality of Rickett, who finds plucky joy in the direst of situations, you can’t help but feel an ominous sense of dread. The ever-present ‘bees’, the zombies of the Dead Meat world, are both mindless and single-minded in their desire to devour. One of the more appealing elements of Dead Meat though, is that the zombies are not the only dimension this book has to offer. The undead are used as a tool to demonstrate the lesser side of humanity, and that which we might become if the shit were really to hit the fan. In Dead Meat, we are found wanting, as a plague is covered up, a community is torn apart, and the pleas of the doomed are ignored in favour for blood sport.
I was in tears at the end. Literally. Now, I’m a softy by nature, but as a horror writer myself I like to think I can steel myself for literary devices. I saw the end coming. I predicted it. Well, most of it. Okay, some of it. A bit. It was heart-wrenching. I wanted to throw my book at the authors, but they were on another continent, and it was a Kindle. Suffice to say, I’ve settle for calling them swearwords via social media. I hope they haven’t taken it badly.
So as you can infer from this review, Dead Meat pulls at your strings. It doesn’t pull its punches, and it doesn’t hide its intentions. But it does give you a belter of a character-driven tale. In a genre where the monsters are so often the creatures pulling at your flesh, in Dead Meat, the monsters are us, and we tear each other apart.
I’ve been lucky enough to interview the Williams brothers – you can read that on the blog, too – here!