By Tom Piccirilli
Mal’s redneck cousins from Moon County come calling because Grandma Callie, who raised him in the same “witchy ways” as his sister Lulabelle was brought up. Although he left home to try for a normal life, he’s still got the gift, and right now Moon County needs all the help it can get. The dead are coming back – out of the muck, shallow graves, sinkholes, and deep green morass. There’s a new lifeform rising in the swamps, reanimating the dead, and Mal and Lulabelle turn out to be brilliant scientists as well as powerful backwoods witches.
Pale Preachers is well-stocked with Piccirilli’s trademark brand of dark humor, quirky characters, shocking violence, and some of the best dialogue this side of a Tarantino film. As is usually the case with Piccirilli’s work, he may be looking at a familiar trope like zombies, but he’s determined to twist said trope into some fresh, unfamiliar shapes. Here, he cherry-picks the tried-and-true zombie concepts to whip up a new breed of undead. These zombies are a little faster and a little smarter than what you might expect, and they might be here because somebody thought that magic and science would make good bedfellows. They might also be the kind of vessel that certain dark malevolent forces would snatch up to use for their own purposes.