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Dark Resurrection / John A. Karr

thDarkResurrectionCover.jpgSamhain Publishing, Ltd. / October 2007
Reviewed by: Martel Sardina

When the record industry started labeling albums for explicit content back in the mid 1980’s, many musicians rejoiced when their album received a warning label because they knew that being deemed explicit would translate into additional sales. This led to a glut of bands putting out albums that excelled at capitalizing on shock value but didn’t hold up over time. John A. Karr’s Dark Resurrection comes with a warning about the content though it is unclear whether or not his work will suffer the same fate.

In Dark Resurrection, Victor Galloway, a prominent surgeon, is happily married to Lenora. They have a young son, Walt, a nice house, and a seemingly normal life. When Victor suffers a heart attack, he manages to call for help unaware that the emergency personnel who respond have no intention of saving him. Victor is taken to Holy Evangelical Lady of the Lake (H.E.L.L.) , a hospital run by Tobias, a zombie. Tobias offers a nearly-dead Victor immortality in exchange for using his surgical skills to harvest the hospital’s living patients to feed the growing number of undead.

Victor accepts the offer in order to keep his family from becoming a part of Tobias’s evil scheme. To the outside world, Victor Galloway is dead. But inside H.E.L.L., a re-animated Victor is born. For reasons that are not explained, Victor is a zombie with a conscience - one who does not want to participate in Tobias’s plans.

Meanwhile, Ray Brennan, a newly hired computer programmer, notices that things in H.E.L.L. don’t operate in the same manner as the rest of corporate America. Ray’s boss wants him to limit his focus strictly to his assigned duties. When Ray questions the department’s practices, he is told to do his job, not worry about analyzing the underlying data in the various systems. Being stonewalled only peaks Ray’s curiosity, sending him on a quest to find out what is really going on.

Ray becomes romantically involved with Victor’s widow. When Ray finally learns of Tobias’s scheme, Victor and Ray wind up joining forces with intention of stopping Tobias and keeping Lenora and Walt out of harm’s way.

The novel’s premise is intriguing. However, from the story’s beginning, there is a disconnect with regard to the characters. The reader is not given a chance to care about Victor, his family, and the life that is taken from him. The reader is told that these things are important to Victor but because the reader does not know Victor when his life and family are taken, it is hard to care about what happens next and why.

Several of the characters acted unbelievably at times. For example, the reader is led to believe that Victor’s wife, Lenora is a distraught widow. She is struggling to deal with losing Victor as well as being a single parent. However, when she meets Ray Brennan, their relationship becomes intimate very quickly – too quickly - given her history. The sex scenes and some of the graphic acts of violence that occur do not appear to be integral to developing the characters or furthering the plot. There is even an instance where the same scene is repeated (once from Victor’s point-of-view and once from Ray’s point-of-view) but no new information is given to push the story forward.

While Dark Resurrection contains all the right elements for a chilling tale of terror, Karr’s execution lacked the precision that could have made this novel into a spellbinding page-turner. Zombie fans may enjoy the story for its spin on the use of the hospital setting and medical industry as a means of zombie propagation.

Purchase John A. Karr's Dark Resurrection.  

Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 at 08:34AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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