Friday, 9 July 2010

Gorezone Review, July 2010: It's GORE-TASTIC!

This is what was said about The Dead in Gorezone (

"I don't know whether it's a comment on the bad quality of writing of contemporary adult horror, or the excellent standard of contemporary teen-horror, but it's apparent when reading the likes of The Dead that there is little difference between the feel of either with regards to use of language, structure and tone.

As is to be expected from a novel targeted at the younger demographic, The Dead is absent of much explicit horror, and the prose is simple enough to be digested by its target audience. but then, neither graphic violence nor excessively orotund prose (*cough* Henry James *cough*) have ever been a sure-fire guarantee of quality horror.

The Dead, as you may well deduce from the title, features a delightful amount of deadage. Following in the footsteps of former Fast Show maestro Charlie Higson, author David Gatward is keen to prove that you need not fill a novel with guts, sex and swearing in order to produce a good read. For any parents wondering how to get their little ones into the genre without scarring them for life, there's a good argument to be made as to why The Dead is a solid starting point.

Story-wise it's basically the same old 'dead try to break in to our world' that we've seen hundreds of times throughout the history of horror literature, but it's told here with a briskness of style, and an accessibility serves the story well with some quite knowing humour in places.

Perhaps there isn't as much depth or description as one would like, but this is targeted at a youth audience and, bearing this in mind, it achieves its aims more successfully than many adult horror novels.

Gatward shows skill in developing suspense (his use of all five senses is particularly notable) and there are nods in the story to the classics (the mention of Lazarus isn't without significance), which suggests he's a man who takes his craft seriously." (Andrew McQuade)

VERDICT: "Hey, anything that gets teens away from Twilight is a good thing, right? A weekend spent in the company of The Dead is a weekend spent well."

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