Title: Styx (Amazon Link)
Author: Bavo Dhooge
Release Date: November, 2015
The tagline sounds so snazzy – “Zombie Cop vs. Serial Killer”. The book… isn’t.
Instead, it’s a pedantic crawl through middle-aged self-pity, with periodic gory bouts speckled to allow the tag of “Zombie” to be tacked onto this for sales purposes. I’d like to say that my disaffection was a culture issue (it’s a translated work by a Flemish author), but that’s not what’s going on. I’ve actually spent time in the city where the novel is set, and I didn’t find the detailed geographic and locality references to provide any perks.
In the end, this is a crime drama that isn’t very engaging, with an attempted novelty of a protagonist (anti-hero?) who died halfway through the book and happened to inexplicably wake up again in a state of vague decay. This isn’t some great duel of criminal minds – it’s merely going through the motions.
To be fair, I understand what Dhooge was trying to do. But what I can’t understand is why the editor/agent involved tried to sell this as something special or unusual. It reminded me of Going After Cacciato for all the wrong reasons, a little too obscene for the sake of obscenity rather than adding depth to the tale.
If you’re looking for a zombie book and you’re not a middle-aged male with joint issues, look somewhere else.