Posted on March 18, 2008 by alanajoli
A good urban fantasy can be like a mixed drink. It’s got to have the right flavor—but it’s also got to have a lot of kick. Not so much, of course, that you’ll regret it the next morning. The characters in Mark Henry’s Happy Hour of the Damned might not liken themselves to mixed drinks, but they would certainly appreciate the allusion. Because few zombies appreciate liquor like the heroines in Henry’s novel.
Rightly called both a “zomedy” and an “urban fantasy attack on political correctness” by the author, Happy Hour of the Damned reads like a Kevin Smith movie, if Kevin Smith were ever to feature the undead elite in his films. Full of zombie debutantes, undead reality television, and the usual plot to take over the world via Starbucks, the novel treads new territory in urban fantasy: it’s the first place I’ve ever seen zombies as heart-breakers (rather than just heart-eaters—and even then, sometimes they just stop at the brains). Amanda Feral defies the zombie stereotypes, however, and takes Seattle’s post-life post-party by storm. In the company of fellow zombie babe Wendy, gay vampire Gil, and succubus Lisle, Amanda is an up-and-comer—until the fateful night when Lisle disappears, texting Amanda for help. With that, the remaining trio set off to do something none of them particularly want to be involved in: a search and rescue mission.
But of course there’s more to the mystery than meets the eye, and when Amanda starts dealing with the person she believes to be the literal devil, random “accidents” that could not only end her life but ruin her cosmetics (and no zombie recovers from a deformity!) start making it absolutely impossible to go the places where she needs to be seen. What’s a zombie to do?
Henry’s first novel creates an absolutely believable alternate Seattle, gives a new spin on multiple undead species (have you ever seen a windego in a bar? Neither had I), and features bitchy characters that you want to succeed despite themselves. From cosmetic raids on a funeral home to demonic maternity wards, Happy Hour of the Dead is well worth reading—pick it up!
Review by Alana Abbott