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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

No Flesh Shall Be Spared Review

Todd Jepperson

Have you ever considered how the world would really wake from an undead nightmare? We all imagine everything falling apart and the living population dwindling down to a few superhuman, courageous survivors who hole up and kick zombie ass for the rest of the foreseeable future. But what if it didn’t go that far? How would we handle things if there was widespread destruction and panic, but we got a grip on it before everything went to complete chaos? Reality TV, folks. We pop ourselves some popcorn and make a spectacle out of it. We turn it into a no-holds-barred pit fight to the death and celebrate the winners as flag bearers of human triumph.

This multi-perspective novel comes out of the gate strong and sets the mood right from the beginning. If you can get through the first scene in that nicotine stained trailer, you already have a good idea where this book is going. Soon thereafter we’re introduced to the novels main character, Cleese; who’s either drunk, in a brawl, or in a drunken brawl. He’s hard as a stone and never seems to avoid trouble. The organizer of a zombie pit fighting league sees potential lying under the soft surface and recruits him. Cleese is teamed up with one of the best, a no-nonsense warrior named Monk, who shapes him into one of the most dangerous entertainers the league has ever seen.

This is a bitter and murky peek into the human condition through the eyes of one of the most descriptive authors I’ve ever read. There are a couple of wordy bits throughout the narrative, but you can clearly see Carnell’s skill as a writer in each and every line. Known around the genre for his work with Fangoria Magazine and various other horror pop-media outlets, I was fortunate enough to meet him and his family at ZomBcon in Seattle and was very happy to receive a copy of this novel for review. What we have here isn’t just a mass-market paperback with zombies in it. It’s a piece of art. Every part of the book feels intentional; from the smoky pit fight scene on the front cover, to the structure and form on the inside. If you’re looking for a somber and creepy change of scenery among the horde of popular horror fiction, buckle up and get your eyes on No Flesh Shall Be Spared by Thom Carnell. Welcome to hell; it’s showtime.

Thom Carnell is a horror writer whose fiction has been featured in Swank Magazine, Carpe Noctem Magazine, and in the horror anthology, Bloody Carnival from Pill Hill Press. He also works as a journalist and his interviews and profiles can be found in Fangoria Magazine and on Dread & He is the co-host of The Night Crew Podcast, a Senior Programmer for Seattle’s ZomBCon and Crypticon, and a programmer for the Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival. He is a graduate of the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science, a certified eye enucleist, and a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist. He lives in Bellingham, WA.

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