Mark Henry,
Happy Hour of the Damned
(Kensington, 2008)

Funny footnotes? The only thing I've thought those two words had in common was the starting letter, but Happy Hour of the Damned has convinced me that yes, footnotes can be funny.

There are 132 footnotes in Happy Hour's 290 pages. Before that scares you off, they cover everything from undead abbreviations (USO: Unknown Supernatural Origin) to explaining that a "my eyes mid-roll" is "standard operating procedure for show of irritability." They range from "don't have anything in your mouth when you're reading them" to "oh, why did I stop reading the wonderful narrative to look?"

Footnotes are just the tip of the iceberg of what makes Happy Hour different. Mark Henry's also included drink recipes and playlists in exhibit frames on several pages.

Bluntly, this should NOT work, but it does. There's everything here to distract you from the narrative. Amanda is both learning how to be a zombie and trying to find a lost succubus named Liesl. The zombie lessons include such things as what not to eat -- just about anything but booze, which really isn't a problem since alcoholism runs in the family -- to how to spackle yourself back together when your undead skin's been damaged.

We've also got delightfully labeled flashbacks, occasional lists (OCD much?) and strange twists and turns in abundance. But Henry's timing is exquisite -- just when you're about to get totally lost, he throws you a bone and sucks you back into the main plot.

Amanda Feral is your typical catty, clothes-and-cars-conscious, self-involved chick-lit heroine who tripped on a donut box that she tossed away for someone else to pick up and died. (God I love poetic justic, don't you?) She was so twisted in life, she was having a delicious affair with her therapist, Martin Allende. There's about as much character development as you'd expect, the reviewer says with her tongue firmly planted in cheek.

This book is HILARIOUS, but it's an acquired taste. Readers with a weak stomach should not apply! If you love totally twisted far-out horror film humor, you will get more than a happy hour reading this book.

review by
Becky Kyle

19 April 2008

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