Halloween Review: Circus of the Dead by Seth Blackburn

Kindle edition: 32 Pages

Series: Short story standalone

Publisher: Seth Blackburn

Find on GoodReads

“Twenty years ago, the dead destroyed the world of the living. The survivors scattered in the wake of the Scourge, erecting small towns in the worlds’ most sparsely populated areas.

For young Gabriel, the walking dead are merely the memories that haunt the eyes of those old enough and lucky enough to have survived. He is more concerned with his hard life in America’s desert, where his chores keep him busy and the husks of books stashed beneath the cellar of the library are his only freedom.

Until the circus comes to town.”

This short story, with its oddly unexpected HEA ending, is brilliant! Exceptional. *checks dictionary for other synonyms* Clever, genius, inventive, profound (oh, yes, it is), sharp, masterly. Okay, I think you got it.

A first person narrative, from the MC’s point of view, Circus of the Dead is about the survivors of the Scourge, the zombie apocalypse that destroyed the world, living a primitive life in a tiny, nameless town.

The town’s preacher, Rev. Joe, has taken upon himself the role of leader, preaching to the townsfolk teachings of the Bible, turning them into an almost cult-like community. They live a quiet, empty life until the circus comes to town.

When Fancy Man, as Gabe dubs him, invites  them to the circus with promises of showing them a living dead, he’s met with apprehension and hostility from most of the people, with Rev. Joe in front. His invitation, however, causes people to divide between those who are curious – mostly the young ones who’ve never seen a zombie – and those that are clearly against the circusfolk.

Gabe and his brother, Christopher, both under the age of 18, sneak into the middle of the night and go to the circus. In the middle of the night’s event, everything goes to hell. And that’s all I’m willing to say.

Blackburn’s writing is epic! Descriptive and detailed, the zombie scene and one other (that I will not name) are surprisingly chilling. His world-building is so good to the point where I can easily imagine this depressing,desert setting. He writes a sequence of events that I couldn’t predict, started by a twist I sure as heck didn’t see coming.

Every metaphor and comparison, every paragraph is building up to that one game-changer scene and it.is.great!

Seriously, how have I not heard of Blackburn until now? Such a smart, fantastic read.

To  makes things better, this is free on Smashwords so go get it! Now.

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