BY CHAD LUTZKE
Sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing. If your town was nothing more than a neon-lit cluster of pizza parlors and VHS rental stores in the 80s, then you know what I’m talking about (actually, that doesn’t sound so bad right now). But sometimes something comes along wearing the skin of something else seemingly quite familiar, only to be stripped down to reveal you haven’t actually seen this before. For me, that skin was Terry M. West’s All of the Flesh Served.
When it comes to both zombie and/or post-apocalyptic, dystopian fiction, I think it’s safe to say the market is embarrassingly saturated with it. However, some can never get enough, some just feel comfortable there, and others are searching for the same doomed planet but with different tasting tropes that give a fresh flavor to the otherwise dead horse.
For me, All of the Flesh Served does just that--adds flavor to an increasingly bland scenario.
West paints an ugly (or beautiful, depending on how you look at it) dystopian world impregnated by the lies of its government, establishing values in a paranoid breed of men who are doing what they can to both survive and appease their god. This doesn’t feel like any kind of post-apocalyptic bandwagon being jumped on but a unique world with fresh ideas and characters that are easy to root for (and despise). Plus there’s cannibalism!
While I normally stay clear of rehashing synopses in my reviews, I will say this: Along with the cannibalism, there is action, drama, and a heavy underlying commentary on the world we live in with the author presenting an interesting “what if” scenario.
In the 70s, Black Sabbath wrote doom-filled anthems warning us about the dangers of war and political demons. The 80s brought us punk rock angst as the anger went up a notch, the youth declaring war with their voice. In 2017 Terry M. West lays down his own rebellious medium with a dark picture of the future if man can’t get along and continues to keep on the blinders.
All of the Flesh Served is an intelligent, fresh and tasty dish that every fan of the subgenre should consume before drinking more of the Kool-Aid.
Any record of the 45th that does not recognize him as a prophet is propaganda and a lie. False history. The truth is with the 45th. His word is absolute for it is God's word…
Hundreds of years after the great cataclysm, the Ministry of the 45th survive in a network of scientific bunkers. The last bastion of the old holy order, the 45th are bent on rebuilding the scorched earth and eliminating God's enemies. The Ministry wages a war against the mutant topsiders that occupy the dead states of the Soviet Union of America. Defending the 45th are the Red Guard, genetically engineered soldiers who are programmed to obey through their lifebrand. Dr. Morgan is a serviceman for Unit 468 of the Red Guard. His lifebrand being medicine, Dr. Morgan is the longest surviving field medic to serve. But Dr. Morgan is a deeply conflicted man with violent fantasies that contradict his pledge to preserve life. After escaping an abduction by the topsiders, Dr. Morgan's faith is cracked. During a furlough in the high Chancellor's bunker, Dr. Morgan is hailed a hero and taken off the front lines. But he soon realizes that someone has altered his lifebrand and lifted the veil that concealed the greatest deception ever perpetrated. Dr. Morgan has just become the most dangerous man in the wastelands. And when he discovers who the real enemy is, the revelation unleashes a fury strong enough to destroy what is left of the earth.
All of the Flesh Served is a disturbing vision of what could one day come.
Included as bonus material: the original short story that would become All of the Flesh Served: A Novella.
Chad lives in Battle Creek, MI. with his wife and children where he works as a medical language specialist. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene including articles, reviews, and artwork. Chad loves music, rain, sarcasm, dry humor, and cheese. He has a strong disdain for dishonesty and hard-boiled eggs. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue and Scream magazine. He is a regular contributor to Horror Novel Reviews, Halloween Forevermore and Heavy Planet. His fictional work can be found in several magazines and anthologies including his own 18-story anthology anthology, NIGHT AS A CATALYST. He has written a collaborative effort with horror author Terry M. West, THE HIM DEEP DOWN. In the summer of 2016 Lutzke released his dark coming-of-age novella OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES. Later in 2016, several more releases will be added to Lutzke's body of work, including his PALE WHITE coming-of-age vampire series, CAR NEX: FROM HELL THEY CAME, 47-16, A David Bowie Literary Tribute and AMERICAN DEMON HUNTERS: BATTLE CREEK with J. Thorn. Stay tuned! Chad can be found lurking the internet at the following address: www.chadlutzke.weebly.com