Dead Stop (a zombie novella!) by Mark Clapham

I hate zombies.
I avoid zombie novels to the point that I haven’t even watched a really great (so I hear) TV show, The Walking Dead. Billy the zombie in “Hocus Pocus” (that Halloween movie) was the closest I ever came to almost liking a zombie. In Cuba, people actually believe the dead can be reanimated as zombies, but I don’t even want to think about that. (Note to Off-switch in brain: stay OFF.)Somehow, with a riveting page one, Mark Clapham got me to read a zombie novel. He tricked me. A *ghost* appears to him in a cafe, not a zombie. The prose is witty, polished, pithy, and fun. By the time I realized what the ghost was asking from our lovable narrator, it was too late. I cared. I wanted to know what would happen next.

Since mine apparently is the first amazon review, I’ll depart from my tradition of not summarizing the story because everyone else already did. David Larkin can see ghosts. He mostly just tries to ignore them and get on with life, travelling around and keeping to out of the way places where not too many people have died. He avoids old buildings and crowded places (too many ghosts). I love his solution: go to America, where there’s so much land, so many open spaces, he’s bound to run into far fewer ghosts. And it works! For the first time in years, our hero is able to walk about like a nearly normal human being, rarely encountering the dead, who tend to be annoying when they realize David can see and hear them. They love to complain. He’s sick of their whining.

When the ghost of Melissa appears to him in an out of the way truck-stop diner in the Midwest, David listens. The well-dressed, sexy but see-through Melissa warns him about the flood of zombies heading his way and offers him a deal: she’ll help David escape the zombie horde, AND reward him with money and his very own island, if he’ll find her zombified body and destroy it.In the author’s own words, “Dead Stop is a zombie noir where the hapless narrator is psychic and the femme fatale is a ghost — who wants our narrator to track down and kill her zombified body. It’s a fast paced novella with action, horror, jokes and plot twists” (

Due to the surprises that unfold with each page, I will only say the ghost leads David to a laboratory full of mad scientists doing terrible things for selfish reasons. They must be stopped.

I’ll also say the ending came as a bit of a shock. It’s brilliant. I hate it. This novella is complete in and of itself, but I want more. *There is room for more.* But *will there be more* Tomes of the Dead after this one?

Mark says, “That’s a question for Abaddon rather than me.”

In a fit of indignation, I tried stalking him. Mark Clapham has been writing professionally for years, including novels for the BBC’s Doctor Who line, which explains why his prose is so readable, engaging, competent, and flawlessly edited. Also, he lives in Exeter in the UK, and Brits are always funny, right? Hey. I grew up on Monte Python. I’m a Matt Haig fan. Brits are such clever, witty blokes, they can get me to read and love a zombie novel.

Publication Date: January 30, 2014

About carolkean

novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for Liberty Island and Perihelion Science Fiction; native prairie/guerilla gardener; champion of liberty, indie authors & underdogs; one of the top two reviewers in Editors &Preditors Poll 2015; Amazon Vine, NetGalley Top Reviewer
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1 Response to Dead Stop (a zombie novella!) by Mark Clapham

  1. carolkean says:

    WordPress is so frustrating. What you is not what you get. Wrong fonts, wrong spacing between paragraphs. I gave up.


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