Ginger Nuts of Horror
When I opened up Florida Gothic, I wanted to love it. The style is thick and full of vivid, realistic detail; the character we initially start on is pretty interesting; the setup is all right: an old man with nothing much to live for gets killed in a Florida hit-and-run accident involving a crocodile; he then comes back as a zombie.
So far so good.
Then the other characters come in. They aren't just the lowest of the low. They are the lowest of the low at great length and in vivid detail. Again, the writing is really good here. But the author keeps reminding us that we're not supposed to like these other characters, because they aren't characters but caricatures. We're not supposed to empathize with them or really even put their tawdry skins on over our own. They're unlikable characters, fair enough, but the author can't stop reminding us of that--and doing so booted me out of the story. Repeatedly. The characters don't just do what they do, they spend pages trying to justify themselves while the author winks at the reader about how terrible the characters are. I get it already...
If it hadn't been done with such depth and vividness, I wouldn't have minded; your mileage may vary. If you enjoy watching people you constantly are reminded to hate putting themselves in a train headed for a brick wall, then this may be the book for you. But I wanted the author to go big or go home - either fully invest in their mundane evil and stop winking at the readers, or make them so over the top that it felt like a story about the little guys finding a loophole to screw over the truly big bads of the world.
A near miss for me, but one that made me want to put the book down every time it wasn't the zombie's POV.
Stuck in a twilight world between life and death… A hit-and-run driver leaves Ernesto Martinez to die by a Miami canal. Then an alligator comes along to finish the job. Being dead gives Ernesto plenty of time to think. He thinks about his wife, taken from him too soon by illness. He thinks about his daughter, the victim of a drunk driver. He thinks about his death as he watches his body slowly decompose. Most of all, he thinks about injustice. The meth head ex-con living in the Everglades. The judge enjoying retirement on the Gulf Coast. The son of a Colombian drug kingpin partying in South Beach. These men care nothing for the pain they’ve caused. But they’ll soon know what it is to feel pain