Review of Richard Johnson’s “Dead Drunk”
Dead Drunk provides the reader with a different take on surviving the zombie apocalypse. Often times the moral of the story when it comes to apocalyptic fiction is that the screw ups tend to get their comeuppance. Someone might have some dumb luck and avoid getting slaughtered right away, but for the most part, if you are a coward, an imbecile, or a callous, crass, self-absorbed fool you either wise up right away, transform into some sort of crony to the chief bad guy, or die in a very gruesome and often satisfying way, presuming that the author has made you despise said person throughout the tale.
In Dead Drunk we are introduced to Charlie and his band of misfit friends. Most of them are thirty-something slackers who are horny, drunk, drug addled party boys focused on little more than where they can get their next buzz. Some of us remember guys like these from college-or at least our first year of college, before many of them flunked out. Of course, Charlie does have some friends who are responsible adults who like to have fun every now and then, and that is where our story begins. One of Charlie’s more responsible buddies is getting married and that is an excuse for a rager of a bachelor party. Things get wild, of course, but it isn’t until the next day, when everyone is nursing their hangovers that the real party begins.
An infection has spread through Chicago, where the story takes place, and suddenly people are chomping on one another, spreading whatever infection has caused them to crave human flesh and go completely nutso. Charlie and his friends hunker down in his rundown apartment, trying to figure out how to survive with minimal food but a whole lot of booze.
This story is a mix of traditional zombie survival and crazy party-boy lunacy, with a rogues gallery of characters that most of us would find hard to like, except perhaps if you are in that period of life where getting drunk, trying to get some action, and being permanently buzzed supersedes all else. Certainly, the author does a commendable job of showing hints of maturity among the group and slivers of humanity amongst them. Charlie shows signs of becoming a better man and Big Rob, one of his best friends, for all his oafishness, is probably the best person of the lot. It helped prevent me from rooting for the demise of all of them from the beginning.
Of course, this is an amusing book, not meant to be taken too seriously. I didn’t go in expecting there to be an emotional attachment to any of the characters, though a few were formed and there were a few touching moments buried in a sea of booze, bongs, and boners that reside within its pages. The writing is solid and the humor rude. So if you are someone who easily offended or doesn’t appreciate the humor of movies like The Hangover, this probably isn’t for you. But if you enjoy low-brow comedy mixed in with your zombie gore on occasion, give this one a shot.
Dead Drunk can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C6AGNM6/ref=cm_cr_thx_view