So we’re less than a month away from The Summer Job dropping at all fine retailers on January 7th and the reviews have already begun to roll in. I’m proud of all my work but I think this is far-and-away my best book. I guess that’s not really for me to say, though. On with the links!
Big-time, high-profile website Bloody Disgusting and Ryan Daley started things off and I’m heartened, humbled by the four words that end the review: “Cesare’s best novel yet.”
Nick Cato covered it for The Horror Fiction Review (it’s near the bottom of the page). He had some very nice things to say, even though I was initially thrown by the “smell rating” that accompanies the review. Bottom-line: it’s an actual meter of the books aroma, he’s not saying that it “stinks” (har har).
Sean Leonard, writing for Horror News, offers up the most positive, glittering review I’ve ever received. Glad to see that someone enjoyed the Edible Arrangements gift basket that accompanied every review copy.
Yeah, I haven’t talked about movies on here for a good long time. But I did talk a little bit about movies (among other things) in this interview with Blu for Horror World, so that might be enough until I get back on here, ramble about something.
In the above interview we discuss a crime novella called The First One You Expect so it’s probably best I end this litany of self-promotion with a look at the cover (by the amazing author/artist Matthew Revert). This will be out in February from J. David Osborne’s Broken River Books:
As noted elsewhere by people not half as biased as I, my publisher Samhain has really been on fire lately. And the hits continue next month with the release of The Gospel of Z by Stephen Graham Jones. I’ve been an avowed SGJ fan for a while now, so it’s a real thrill to have a book coming out on the same day, from the same publisher, even if I am going to be trounced by his sales figures.
I’ve gotten a chance to read it early and all I have to say is “Whoa!” Well, that’s not all.
I’ve made this confession before, but I could really care less about zombies. On the big screen we’ve never done better than Romero’s Dawn and we probably never will (because it’s perfect, that’s why). I’ve tried to watch The Walking Dead and couldn’t get into it although I dug the Telltale game (and the comic, once upon a time, even though I’m pretty sure I stopped reading in high school, while all the protagonists still had their limbs, so early, I guess). Whatever marketing synergy/shelf-appeal The Gospel of Z carries has zero effect on me.
Taking place a decade after the bulk of zombie canon, this is not an outbreak story, more of a near-future scenario featuring societal practices that would border on the absurd if they weren’t sold so well. Gospel offers us a world with perilously few people (and very few zombies, while I’m thinking about it), new religions (and cults), a scary-ass “is this kind of society really worth it?” military, suicide missions, flame throwers and exploding goats.
It’s scary, has some really great set-pieces that I could see Hollywood fouling up with CGI, but (like most Jones) never takes one foot out of the realm of “real meal” literature because it’s so well-written (and, in glimpses, very funny). Jones’s books are all very different from each other, it’s kind of his thing (that and they are copious) and this one is no different in the way that it has a very sci-fi feel to it, with its exhaustive invented (or at least specialized) vernacular, peculiar creatures and subcultures. There’s no way to really explain this without over-summarizing, but I think it would be best to say that The Gospel of Z takes a very simple premise (a man who’s got nothing to live for decides to see the girl he’s been living with one last time, even if she’s chosen to go off somewhere that nobody comes back from) and complicates it in the very best of ways.
At one time, apparently, the book was a lot longer than it is now. It’s not something I knew while reading it, but in hindsight it makes sense. Not in a bad way, though, but in a way that this version of Z reads like something that (if it were marketed as sci-fi, targeted to an audience who’s used to marketing shenanigans) would probably have been stretched into a trilogy (or quadrilogy or some other made up word) by a lesser writer. As it is now, it’s DENSE, almost a mythic reduction sauce, all the fluff melted away to make a book that you damn well better not try to read while you’re sleepy, because it’s certainly not going to hold your hand.
I guess that was kind of a non-review. You should buy this book.