This short work consists of three short stories: The Village Bake Sale, Antidote, and Mary Celeste. Each story is rather different than typical zombie fare, and by far the strongest of the three is the first.
The Village Bake Sale is quaint in the best sense of the word–a very, very British tale about an old, snobby churchman trying to run a bake sale. The story is downright charming, and though the structure falls apart a bit in the end, it’s well worth the read. Don’t worry, zombie fans: people get eaten. (I’m not sure what the author was thinking including the drawing at the end of the story–it looks like something a proud parent of a demented eight-year-old might display on a refrigerator.)
Antidote should have started with the third paragraph, and needed more punch throughout. A narcissistic scientist trying to develop a cure for the zombie virus is an excellent idea, but as a story it suffers from being much more introspection than plot. I’ve only ever known one journal-as-narrative to come across as a real success, and that was Bridget Jones’s Diary… and there’s a reason for the dearth.
Mary Celeste is of course one of the most famous ghost ships of all time, and here, Mr. Bartholomew gives his own take on what could have happened in 1872. Unfortunately, he again chooses a journal as the vehicle for telling the story, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d read it before… Which of course I had, or something much like it. This tale is the zombie clone of the many “vampire on a boat” stories that have popped up through the years. That said, it’s a reasonable foray into the genre.
All in all, while I wasn’t blown away, it was refreshing and wonderful to read something that wasn’t more of the same tired zombie tropes piled in a heap and called fiction.
Available at Amazon.