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It begins when hardheaded mountain matriarch Granny Mustard decides she wants to live forever, but then is killed. Her slow-witted but equally hardheaded granddaughter Jenkie decides to pick up the ball and run with it, taking Granny's unperfected immortality moonshine recipe, a socially-inept friend named Bink, and dreams of fame and fortune to an abandoned trailer up in Desper Hollow.
But slow-witted doesn't stand against the terrible power Granny initiated. Jenkie's experiments only worsen the troubles with Granny's original recipe, bringing dead critters and a few stray folks back to a state of hungry, vicious, mindless animation. Now a stash of the living dead is locked up in the back of the trailer, a howling heard that has Jenkie terrified. And Armistead, one of the red-eyed living dead, seems way too alert for comfort.
Mountain resident Kathy Shaw and Hollywood pitchman Jack Carroll, who is looking for the next hit reality show, find themselves caught up in the growing horror surrounding Desper Hollow. They can't avoid it and must face it head on. So must Armistead, who fights the fog of his ghastly condition to discover the truth of who he really is.
Desper Hollow by Elizabeth Massie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a hard book for me to review - I decided on four stars because the five-star beginning peters out to a three-star ending. I went with the average.
I love books that run like films in my head and this is one of those stories. Once the narrative starts rolling, Massie doesn't interrupt me with confused imagery or jumbled conversations or breaks in the prose pattern she's established. She also uses purple prose humorously. Massie is now responsible for one of my new favorite similes: "...her heart pounding like a teenaged boy on a hooker..."
That being said, this is a book teetering on that fine line between those who will enjoy the sardonic humor from those who won't and might possibly be offended.
I loved the character Bobby Boo Anderson. Yes, he was a play off the stereotype of a backwoods country boy - that was kind of the point. What made me fall in love with Bobby Boo was that I saw bits and pieces of many guys that I know in real life encompassed within the character. Stereotypes are rooted in reality. Massie, who possesses a vagina, even pulls herself into the joke, by using a narrative style that would typically be regarded as masculine because of its strong language, violence, and whiskey-theme. Here in Appalachia, we call such a woman a Darlin' Cory. That stereotype is also reflected in the characters of Granny and Jenkie Mustard.
This book takes a stab at the social b*llsh*t we put ourselves through - and for what? None of it matters when the zombies arrive.
But the story begins to fall flat as the character list dwindles. The strong beginning made me expect an explosive ending and, instead, the story lost its steam.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.
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