Paradise Rot (Book One) by Larry Weiner (5 out of 5)
You really don’t want to start a review with “It was the perfect book to read at the hospital”. Except, it’s my blog, and that’s how I roll. I don’t think Larry objects, because I said it to him on Facebook and he re-posted it. This is another case of meeting an author through Mr. Craig Lancaster and or Ms. Elisa Lorello (honestly, I don’t remember. One of them posted about his book, and I was intrigued). Craig and Elisa are both authors, and friends on Ye Olde Facebook, and somewhere in there I have picked up a few authors as friends, which is always cool. Now, onto the book.
This is Book One in what I’m guessing will be a trilogy. I was hoping it was sort of a take-off of John Milton’s caffeine-deprived opus “Paradise Lost”. Thankfully, more fun that that! (Although maybe I’ve just given myself an idea on what to parody next). Haven’t you ever wanted to get away from it all? Me too. I don’t know if the island of St. Agrippina would be my ideal resort. Although on the surface, it’s paradise…it’s not as it seems under the tropical sun. Take these strange island folk with the unusually white teeth; what’s the story there? Seems the little island resort is run by ZOMBIES. Yes, flesh eating, functioning zombies. Past the spray on orange tans, it’s a jungle out there. A jungle that you shouldn’t go into. Kyle, an ad exec who’s ‘recruited’ straight from the psych ward for a job on the island, should have known something was screwy from the get-go. Quite a cast of characters on the island- a sexy, mysterious jungle assassin named Woman, her paralyzed (its butt is on wheels) Chihuahua who sings (and named Dog, no less), Cate (who he ends up falling for, only to find out she’s one of THEM. That scene? Hilarious), Dory, her sidekick who’s got a ‘problem with men’, Oscar, Kyle’s former Law & Order obsessed roommate at the psych ward, Jimmy Dank, the Rastafarian seaplane pilot, Thierry the bartender, and many others. It seems like you meet a new character (or several) every chapter. Never a dull moment here, friends. A cast of truly strange zombies and non-zombies. The point here is to get the island resort up and running, so that they can have an all-you-can eat zombie buffet.
I should warn you, though, that if you’re not a fan of 70’s music, you may have a hard time with the soundtrack to this book. If you do, well, too bad- pick up the book anyway. I have not been this entertained by a book in months. It is OUT THERE. I am also OUT THERE, so I appreciated it. My dad’s been having a tough go of it lately, and I had started this Monday, picked it up at the hospital Tuesday, and finished it Thursday, again at the point of origin. I was sitting there out right laughing. Pretty sure that a few people thought I was crazier than they normally do (these doctors and nurses know me pretty well by now. Poor people). I am pretty sure that I passed the title and author on to at least 3 people. So, Larry, if I get three people at a veteran’s hospital to read it and take their mind off of why they’re there, then I have done some small service to this book. It’s hard to describe it, but I’ll try my best. Followers of my blog know that I’m a big fan of Tim Dorsey. Well, this is as if Tim Dorsey drank the Kool-Aid, found the droids he was looking for, and dropped some acid while he was at it. Throw in some vampires, gun runners, necrophiliacs, advertising execs, and a fair share of vulgarity, and you have Paradise Rot. Not for the easily offended. Don’t take it to your church book club- you’ll go to hell. Don’t recommend it to your Oprah-worshipping former Book Club zealots- they won’t be down with the sickness. If you like unusual, side-splitting funny, and outright mondo bizarre books, THIS, my friends, is for you. Go out and get it.