Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Chuckles Retro Reads: Dead Bastards by Jenny Thomson

“Somebody had attacked Archie, and that somebody must have been a zombie, because last time I checked, the dead didn’t wake up, stinking of putrefied flesh, and try to bloody eat you. No even in Glasgow.”

So begins Emma and Scott's battle for survival against the things they dub dead bastards because they're dead and a bastard to kill. Teaming up with self-proclaimed zombie expert Kenny, who works in Glasgow's last video store, macho man Mustafa from the newsagents and mystery man Doyle, they face a battle to survive the flesh eating hordes rampaging through Scotland.

Now they have just one aim...just don't get bitten.

My Review: 
It starts with the already dead Charles Kennedy attacking Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons, while Emma and Scott cheer him on from their flat in Glasgow-until they realise that zombies are involved. It comes to their door in the form of Archie, Scott's useless friend who is always looking for a free meal. Now Archie wants to feed on Emma and Scott. It is then up to the couple to save Mustafa from the newsagent and Kenny from the video shop and find a way to get to Largs and a boat to safety.

There was a lot to like in this book. Firstly it had plenty zombies, which is a good start for a zombie novel. There were enough zombie attacks to keep fans of the undead interested and the scenes had some investive things like zombie Big Issue sellers and female zombie perverts groping men. It was set in Scotland, featuring places I know well like the St Enoch shopping centre, Glasgow itself and Largs etc. It makes a change to read about zombies in a familiar environment instead of imagining them in a strange American city!

There was the typical Scottish humour that I know and love. In what other novel would you get one of our heroes having to stop the car in the dangerous city centre because his stomach had gone funny and he needed an emergency toilet stop?

"It wasn't his fault the zombie apocalypse followed curry night."

That was one of my favourite scenes in the book-Kenny's dodgy stomach and Mustafa's over friendly zombie. I had a few good sniggers at that. The way the characters spoke and acted were so familiar to me. I have known lazy wasters like Archie, sexist guys like Mustafa, nutters like Doyle (though not suicide bombers thankfully), nerds like Kenny. I'm familiar with Big Issue sellers, seeing the ferry from Largs(though I have never visited Millport), living without access to was fun to have this as the setting.

"As dread crawled down my back like the hands of a groping pervert on a Glasgow bus..."

For those of you who are worried about not understanding the Scottish slang, fear not because the author has put a guide at the front of the book to help you out. To be honest, you can guess what is meant from what is happening in the scene at the time but the guide is helpful for anyone who needs it.

Having the character of Doyle the suicide bomber who was on his way to blow up Glasgow Airport when the zombies attacked was always going to be contraversial. He is a white Glasgow born man who turns to Jihad but decides that his new mission is to kill dead bastards instead. His interactions with the other characters explore his motives and change of heart, and while some readers might be offended by this character, I found it an interesting addition to the plot. Mustafa in particular hates Doyle and his terrorist ideals which I thought was refreshing. It was nice that the suicide bomber wannabe was not a British-Asian muslim or similar steriotype. The other thing I liked was the side story of the missing people which was interesting.

My only real niggles are small-the baby story didn't interest me but lets be honest, I hate kids so that was not really a big problem. However the rape storyline was totally silly and added nothing to the plot. We basically meet two underage girls sneaking out to a party, getting chased by zombies and being 'saved' by rapists instead. A few pages later, we don't see them again. So it looked like they were there in the story just to be raped and although the rapes are not described, I feel as if it was there for some kind of entertainment and I wasn't impressed by it.

I liked the mix of characters, the plot and the way the story moves forward at all times, mixed in with humour and zombie action. While the book is not as polished as the usual published horror writer's books, the story is still interesting enough to keep you reading. It might not win any prizes but it was entertaining which is more important to me. I recommend it to zombie fans as a light fun read.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png


  1. This might be a good one for me. And I think it would be fun to read about a zombie apocalypse in some place other than the US.

    1. It's not the greatest zombie book ever but I did have some fun reading it so that's ok by me! Nice to get a book where I know the places they're talking about.