Polonius tells us, “Brevity is the soul of wit”, and in our modern society brevity is more important than ever. Especially when it comes to social media marketing and pitching products to a society with a short attention span. To this effect, I have instituted a new series on my blog with the apt, if not-so-original, name “Brief Book Reviews.”
Sticking with my love of alliteration, I have decided to start this series with author Brett Brooks and his novel Edible Complex. Everywhere one looks these days, zombies surround us. They’ve become a bigger and bigger part of pop culture ever since George Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead. With the mainstream popularity of The Walking Dead, zombies are enjoying a high-water mark. In fact, Broke Guys Productions joined this craze several years ago when we wrote a feature-length screenplay entitled Night of the Living Rednecks.
In those properties, and in all the best zombie media, the undead are treated as a metaphor. In our version, we’re commenting on the meth epidemic in the Southeast. Kirkman seems to be saying that one should not fear the sheep in society (the Walkers); instead, one should fear the wolves (the Living). In Romero’s sequel, Dawn of the Dead, he’s commenting on out-of-control materialism and consumer spending. Brett Brooks’ novel is no different, yet so different.
In Edible Complex, the zombies are quite peculiar, even finicky creatures. They’re not a fan of human flesh, unless provoked. They possess a herd mentality, following alpha zombies and the trends set by them. One day, the zombies may crave cereal. The next, cabbage becomes popular. This presents a challenge to those tasked with meeting the ever-changing demands of the undead hordes across the globe. With this take on zombies, Brooks’ crafts a wonderful metaphor on modern marketing and how it affects trends in pop culture and consumer spending.
He does so with wicked wit, a clean writing style, and an excellently paced novel filled with characters who are three-dimensional, possessing complex motivations. No one feels like a true villain. Or a real hero. They are people doing their best to follow their inner truths, which sometimes places them at cross purposes with the other characters. The conflicts feel natural, not forced. The same with the plot development, climax, and resolution.
In a world filled with zombie media, be sure to check out Brett Brooks’ Edible Complex for a funny, thought-provoking story in which zombies are not only a reality, but a key demographic.