Booster & Reeves: The Night of the Revenants by Troy Blackford

Booster & Reeves: The Night of the Revenants by Troy BlackfordIn a similar vein to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, Blackford successfully merges classic literature with paranormal thrills. In this case, the period social comedy of P.G. Wodehouse with a thoroughly modern zombie apocalypse.

Broderick Booster is happily ensconced in his New York apartment playing the latest cybernetic zombie shoot-em-up when his valet, Reeves, informs him the dead really have risen – albeit without the latest in transhumanist upgrades. Brow-beaten by his domineering (and deceased) Aunt Gertie, Broderick agrees to chop the zombie invasion off at its root. Ably assisted by Reeves, he bumbles his way through the stumbling hordes.

Blackford ably matches the challenge of not only adding genuinely horrific paranormal threat to a comedy of manners without losing the humour, but also transferring it to the modern-day.

However, as with most mash-ups, the union of tropes and themes also requires sacrifice; although the novel is recognisably an homage to the works of P.G. Wodehouse, it lacks some of the more subtle nuances of his style.

As befits a pastiche, the leading characters are almost entirely modern American versions of their almost namesakes: Booster is oblivious but willing; Reeves is competent and self-effacing. However, Blackford also makes them sufficiently self-contained that readers unfamiliar with the originals will not find them mere cut-outs.

This presence of character is especially evident in the supporting cast: the characters not directly based on classic Wodehouse figures are both plausible and consistent with the stylised protagonists.

The zombies, as is only fitting, are characterised by their lack of character. Shambling across the page they are a skilled balance of massed threat and individual ineptitude.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I recommend it to readers approaching either from Wodehouse or horror.

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