Zombies At Tiffanys by Sam Stone. Book review

ZOMBIES AT TIFFANYS by Sam Stone, Telos, p/b, £9.99. www.telos.co.uk.
Reviewed by Stewart Horn

Some reviewers begin with a kind of mental checklist when reading a novel. The list might include fully realised characters, believable and engaging situations, elegant prose, perhaps a little social commentary or satire in the subtext. Well, forget all that. Sam Stone has her own checklist:

• Zombies (lots) tick
• Action (non-stop) tick
• Gore (truckloads) tick
• Steampunk gadgets tick
• Feisty heroine (with machine gun) tick
• Mad inventor tick
She throws in a solar powered laser pistol, a hot-air balloon and several other treats for good measure.

If you’ve read Capote’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’, it won’t make any difference – a couple of the names are similar and it’s set in that shop, but it takes place in a different century and the characters have no real relation to Capote’s – it’s really only starting point for Ms. Stone to construct her own zombie steampunk civil war era funfest. It’s as though Capote’s original has been disembowelled by a zombie horde and a strange, misshapen version of it has opened its dead eyes and shuffled onto our bookshelves.

From the description and the cover, you’d expect this to be trashy nonsense, and it is, but that doesn’t matter – it’s also great fun. I laughed aloud several times and I award Ms. Stone extra marks for sheer audacity.

The prose is readable, coherent and unpretentious – it’s a way of getting the action across without any superfluous style. Likewise the characters – they exist to kill zombies, get eaten or move the plot along without any of that annoying depth that might slow things down.

Ms. Stone revels in blood-soaked excess and invites us to the party, asking very little in return. This is a jolly way to spend a couple of hours and it will delight fans of zombie fiction everywhere.