Twisting zombie fiction into a curiously different direction, James Paul Caiden's The Rapture of Willard imagines a dysfunctional family, united in an isolated farmhouse while the zombie apocalypse rages outside. Will they survive? Will the zombies kill them? Or will Willard get his gun and kill everyone first? The risen dead boil hungrily in the fields while the domineering Willard discusses the merits and demerits of Catholicism, the Bible and more, and sons seethe with fury and memories. “Sam always hoped that each time he visited his parents that his mother might look more healthy and alive,” writes the author, ironically prefiguring the un-life of the antagonists. But Mom’s not dead yet, and just maybe this final argument will be one where she learns to stand up for herself. The telling’s quick, short on character development, long on description, and slightly pedantic on dialog. But the tale enthralls with a strangely compelling dinner-table conversation, then provides great food for thought with the sting its tail.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to buy this when it was free.