Entering a zombie themed book with the title ‘Keep Your Crowbar Handy’, you are going to expect a lot of zombie deaths by crowbar. Honestly, a few pages in and the zombies aren’t going to be the first thing on your mind. In his novel, S.P. Durnin has created a rich set of characters that are just trying to survive through a zombie apocalypse.
It really felt like a mix of a classic noir detective novel in the terms of the main character and a zombie apocalypse, without the mystery. The reason I say that is Jake, the main character, seems to have fallen into a sea of women he shouldn’t be able to spend so much time with after the outbreak.
Let me rewind a bit and start with the plot so that this makes more sense. In ‘Keep Your Crowbar Handy’, we follow the viewpoint of Jake, a former military journalist who trained with the unit he followed and has since turned editor and ghost writer. He’s found Laurel who is the redheaded woman of his dreams and things seem to be going great until a zombie outbreak occurs. I did say women, though, right? Also at Jake’s side is Jake’s best friend, Kat, who happens to have blue hair and a penchant for swordplay. Mix in an ex-girlfriend and a retired Navy Chief named Foster, who knows a bit of everything, and you have the main members we’ll be following.
Now you may have noticed I mentioned some of the survivors have a pretty good skill set there. While most of these will seem a bit absurd compared to the survival skills us common folk have – in all likelihood we’re going to be the ones eaten by the undead – people who have actual training and plans in place will be the survivors and this novel focuses on just such a group of people.
How do the dead start to rise and why do they munch on humans? Like most good zombie films that isn’t the cause to be reading this. The point here is to read some great character development as the group attempts to survive in this horrifying new world. Aside from the zombies, though, the other reason to survive would be the pure amount of sex found in this novel that in some areas would put YA readers to shame.
While the sex is hot, this is a zombie novel and is treated as such. There are hordes of undead that need to be avoided and killed. There are shots of humanity at both its best and its worst. Moral decisions come up that make you wonder what happened to the person you used to be.
While a great read (and quick! I sped through it and had it done in 2 days), the novel had some editing errors you may notice along the way. It was truly a shame to see them pop up. However if you are anything like me, it won’t drag you out of the story since you’ll be so far in, that before your brain realizes it read an error, you’ll already be turning the page to read more! Honestly if it wasn’t for the editing errors that popped up now and then, this probably would have had a 4.5 on the rating scale.
All in all the writing is sound, the humor is great, the survivors are fun to follow and each truly speaks with a voice of their own. If you are looking for a new zombie or horror novel to pickup, this one is an absolute great way to finish off your summer reading!