Stanley Dabernath was not exactly what one would call a success in life: thirty-five years old, sixty thousand dollars in debt (his Demented Whackos Video business having never really taken off), recently evicted from his apartment, subsisting on a diet of Ramen noodles (stolen, at that), and reduced to swiping alcohol from his parents to use at meetings with his few remaining potential business partners.
And so a cynic might argue that Stanley’s death (more spectacular than anything he ever accomplished in life – drowning in milk in a freak accident) was not really much of a loss to the world. Ah, but his death ironically gave him a second chance at life. Literally. Project Second Chance “rescued” Stanley from the morgue and, well, brought him back to life. On live TV (to record ratings).
Suddenly an international phenomenon dubbed “The Amazing Mr. Corpse” by the press, Stanley finally has the fortune and fame he always craved. Except, you know, he’s a semi-rotted, kinda smelly zombie. Nevertheless, determined to make the most of it Stanley rides the wave of talk show appearances, rap video cameos, beer commercials, product endorsements (t-shirts, candy, action figures), and personal appearances that come rocketing his way. A zombie living the high life.
You’d think at this point the weird factor couldn’t get ratcheted up much further, but only if you’ve never read a Jeff Strand book. Because it does. A lot. Throw some religious fanatics, a kidnapping and ransom, superhero-esque crime fighting, black magic, the blood of virgins, cannibalism (though is it really cannibalism if one of the parties isn’t technically human?), and a good old fashioned riot into the mix and now we’re really rocking! In fact, it doesn’t just rock, it’s downright sinister.
If you asked me what my favorite Jeff Strand novel was, the one I’d want with me on a deserted island, well… I’d cheat and take two: Dweller and Pressure. But for pure, unadulterated, foul-mouthed, off-the-wall Strand at his horror-humor sarcastic best there is nothing that comes close to The Sinister Mr. Corpse. And so, on this Thanksgiving Day I most definitely give thanks for the writing of Jeff Strand.
Note: The Sinister Mr. Corpse was published in 2007 as a limited edition hardcover with a print run of less than 300 copies and quickly sold out. Since then the only way to find a copy has been to troll eBay in hopes that some fool would put theirs up for sale. But despair not! Jeff has indicated that he intends to make an e-book version of The Sinister Mr. Corpse available at some point after the first of the year.
Coming tomorrow: A guest blog from the demented Mr. Strand himself to wrap-up Jeff Strand Week.