The Gist

I just read Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Think Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets Dawn of the Dead and you got the gist of it.

Duke the Werewolf and Earl the Vampire stop for a bite to eat at Gil's All Night Diner, an out of the way small town eatery. Then the zombies attack. The steward at the diner hires them to fix her zombie problem. And lay a gas line.

While addressing the Zombie problem, Duke and Earl uncover a ghost dog, a spirit trapped in an eight ball, and a cult determined the bring about Armageddon. A running theme through the book is that "Towns with movie theaters" don't have cults. The antagonist is named Tammy which doesn't hurt.

Duke and Earl are the perfect satirical comedy team. Duke has the attitude of "I'm gonna do what I gotta do to get the job done." While Earl does the same thing, but only grudgingly.

Here are a random passages from the book

[during the first zombie attack]
... Loretta returned "Where's your friend?"
[Duke the Werewolf] nodded toward the mound of moaning dead bodies.
"I'm really sorry about your friend there. How about a free slice of apple pie?"

"Earl shoved with all his might, but all the unnatural strength of the undead couldn't fit the steamer trunk into the back seat of a used Volvo." ( The steamer trunk is Earl's daytime bed of course )

"...Tammy flipped through the latest edition of Crazy Ctharl's Hard to Find Sorcerous Emporium. The catalogue was a necessity for the modern high priestess. In the Dark Ages, finding fresh mandrake root or the spleen of a virgin wasn't all that hard. In the twentieth century, who had the time to dig around beneath a hangman's tree of figure out what a spleen even looked liked? Crazy Ctharl's catalogue was a lifesaver.'

"No boys after nine-thirty. It was another of her dad's dumb rules. She could hang out with Chad late at night, just as long as it wasn't in her bedroom. Never mind that it was the one place in the world they'd never do any of the things her dad objected to.... Parental rules had little to do with Logic."

"The world was a bad TV show stuck in reruns and in desperate need of cancellation. Which was why she was so looking forward to ending it."

Final Thoughts

For a young adult book this book had a lot more sex, swearing and death than I was expecting. But it's all presented in a manner similar to what you might find in a Far Side cartoon. The tone is light-hearted and kept me consistently amused. I hope they turn this into a movie. It'd be a lot of fun.