The Horror Honeys: Hardcover Honey's Book of the Week!

Hardcover Honey's Book of the Week!

A Hardcover Honey Review

The Dead Run - Adam Mansbach

Adam Mansbach is the author of several earlier works, and may be best known for his parody kid's book "Go the Fuck to Sleep", but he's trying his hand at a new genre with his book "The Dead Run", and it's a solid effort.  A catchy title and cover image drew me in quickly and I found it hard to put down.  A great opening line in Chapter 1 ("Jess Galvan walked past at least five of the seven deadly sins before he even reached the bar") gets things off to a speedy start and Mansbach never takes his foot off the gas.

The ostensible hero of the book, Jess Galvan, gets himself mixed up in some bad shit right off the bat and when he tries to do the moral thing, he's rewarded with a trip to hardcore Ojos Negros prison.  Galvan's chapters are balanced by two other storylines - one focusing on Sherry Richards, a wallflower Texas teenager whose mom has gotten them involved in a local cult lead by the charismatic and seemingly ageless Aaron Seth, and the other focusing on Sheriff Bob Nichols, a burned-out former jock in an ill-equipped and underfunded department in the same town.  When Sherry disappears and Sheriff Bob is called to investigate, he teams up local therapist Ruth Cantwell, who had been counseling Sherry and her mom since their departure from the cult compound.  Sixty-seven miles of desolation lie between Nichols and his Mexican counterpart, Fuentes, and strange things seem to be happening in the desert.

Meanwhile, when Galvan is told during a prison yard workout that he's been summoned by "El Cucuy", he laughs it off - El Cucuy, you see, is the boogeyman of Ojos Negros Prison, something the guards use to make prisoners fall in line, a fable, a story.  When Galvan wakes up chained to a handful of other prisoners in the basement of Ojos Negros and is told to fight for his life, he learns that El Cucuy is all too real.  Not only is El Cucuy real, he's been around a while.  And I mean a while.  And El Cucuy has a job for Galvan.  Galvan is to be his Righteous Messenger, carrying a box across the miles of desert for a very special delivery.  What's in the box, you ask?  Oh, just the still-beating heart of a virginal young girl.  Which can only be delivered by "a pure man".  El Cucuy needs it delivered to his son, the aforementioned Aaron Seth.  Then, and only then, will their new world order commence.  Or so thinks the wretched Aaron Seth.

Galvan sets off across the desert, and here's where the action really kicks in - there's some supernatural backstory about El Cucuy's wife who died at his hand, but the important takeaway here is that she now commands the long-rumored "Virgin Army" who lie beneath the sand and interfere with El Cucuy's repeated delivery attempts.  Will Galvan succeed where other "pure men" have failed?  Will Sheriff Bob be able to find missing teenager Sherry Richards before her V-card makes her yet another victim of the cruel men who populate the book?  As the storylines hurtle towards one another, you'll appreciate some awesomely cinematic set pieces, including the appearance of the Virgin Army (think mini-skirted undead hotties who pull themselves up out from underneath the sand "like a swimmer boosting herself out of the water"), an amazing car chase sequence involving cars and motorcycles, some amputations, white-robed cult elders and people bathing in a literal hot tub full of the blood of virgins.  It took me back to my middle-school years with the Stephen Kings and the Robert McCammons - sprawling stories of people good and evil converging on one another.

Hardcover Honey says - You'll love it.