When you think of horror fiction, South Africa isn't the first country that springs to mind, but thanks to Crystal lake Publications, S.L.Grey, Ivor Hartmann and new kid on the block Charlie Human, South Africa looks as though it is now where all the cool kids hang out.
Charlie Human's début novel Apocalypse Now Now is a riotous mix of horror, comedy, thrills and spills, all held together by the beautifully twisted mind of Charlie Human.
Don't be fooled by the resemblance to another famous fictitious schoolboy, any resemblance to that rather wet and dull kid suggested by the cover image is purely coincidental. Baxter Zevcenko is not what you would call your classic hero. In fact he can be barely classed as a likeable character.
The head of the schools premier porn distribution ring Baxter seems to have have everything a kid could ever want, money, respect, power and the woman of his dreams. But when his girl is kidnapped Baxter is plunged in the strange, dark and odd world of Cape Towns supernatural under belly. Aided by the only man crazy enough to help him, a drunk washed up bounty hunter by the name of Ronin Baxter will face the deepest nightmares to save the girl of his dreams.
Apocalypse Now Now is an extremely ambitious novel, Human, throws everything including the kitchen sink into this glorious novel. Kung-Fu dwarves, giant crows, zombies and fabulous cast of South African folklore creatures all come together to give this book a twisted dreamlike quality that is just a joy to read. Human's prose is tight and gifted, and manages to maintain an air of reality in the ever increasing insanity that unfolds. By making Baxter such an utterly despicable character is a master stroke of genius, he's the sort of kid that I I was his teacher I'd lose my job over him, after stringing him up a flag pole. And yet despite this you still feel for him and connect with him.
One of the strong points of this novel is the skill of the author at injecting a mischievous vein of dark sarky humour in the narrative. in one sentence he will have you chuckling out load, and in the next sentence he will have you squirming uncomfortably in your seat. With these sort of novels there is always a danger that the humour takes over and cause all sense of tension and horror to be lost in a sea of gags. Thankfully Human keeps the humour firmly caged.
With a cast of characters so weird and mysterious Apocalypse Now Now can stand proudly next to such works as Clive Barkers Weaveworld and Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. This is a rich novel that will take the reader on a thrilling journey through a wild and wondrous land.
Every now and then a special book comes along, that blows the cobwebs from stale and dull genre. Apocalypse Now Now, not only gives the urban fantasy genre a spring clean it gives it a well need kick up the backside.
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