(1 customer review)
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Four years ago Byron Shales was a manager for a department store. Now he hunts down and captures the newly zombie-fied dead, and resells them at auction to the highest bidder. What his buyers do with them after the sale is finalized is none of his business, and frankly he couldn’t care less.

His beliefs and apathy come to a sickening halt when he elects to keep one young woman for himself, and discovers that all his pre-conceived notions about these non-living creatures have been a lie. In fact, the truth about Rothsburg’s Disease may be more horrifying than the flesh-eating creatures it infects.

1 review for Isabellla

  1. Alan Preece

    First things first; I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Anyone who spends any time in the horror genre would be hard pressed not to scroll past a list of zombie novels these days. There are whole series based on the Romero-rendition of the classic creature, and though many of them are enjoyable and exiting reads very few bring anything new to the table. The zombies in nearly all these books are classic Romero and owe a huge debt to what the great man brought to the screen in Night of the Living Dead.

    Most are essentially fan-fiction, some are well written fan-fiction but nearly all fit securely in this category; though occasionally an author attempts something a little different.

    Gail Smith is one such author and the novelette – at a mere fifty-six pages I can’t even bring myself to call it a novella – in question is Isabellla; and no, that isn’t a typo.

    Now I would not go as far as to say that Gail Smith does anything new in Insabellla, anyone who has spent any time around the sub-genre will have seen all the elements before, but what she does do is present us with a story that takes a different route; like someone improvising using familiar moves and steps but following no recognisable pattern. She introduces elements of introspection and romance while shying away from the more common action set-pieces that usually dominate such stories.

    There is action, and there is blood and gore and all the other things you’d expect; but the focus is not on any of these and they are treated more to a means to an end rather than the bread-and-butter of the piece.

    This is a welcome change but not an altogether successful one, but I suppose this is to be expected when there is a melding of two genres that are usually considered opposites; horror and romance. This isn’t to say it can’t work or doesn’t work, there have been some good cinematic examples (Return of the Living Dead III and Dellamorte Dellamore come to mind) but it is an uncommon pairing so the attempt, if nothing else, should be applauded.

    For me Isabellla is a novelette straining against its restraints, a bare-bones walk-though of a larger tale where we learn more about our living hero and undead heroine as they strive to remain, or regain, their humanity amid the crumbling moral fabric of post-zombie-apocalypse society. When the last words of the story rolled by I felt a little disappointed that the story would not evolve more as there were many places it could have gone; and I suppose if anything this should be considered a compliment, though perhaps a slightly back-handed one.

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