The Reapers are the AngelsHolt Paperbacks
Release date: Aug 3, 2010

THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS is one of the coolest book titles I’ve come across in a long time. It caught my eye on the shelf at my local library. Now, if you’ve read some of my other reviews you know that I dig zombies. You might also know that I’m in the midst of a constant search for what I consider the perfect zombie novel, the one that has all those little details that make me go, “Right on.” Alden Bell, with Reapers, is a contender in my book.

Now, much of the zombie fiction out there is of the pulpy, B-movie, grind house variety. And there is nothing wrong with that. Pulpy, B-movie, grind house type shit is to me infinitely better than your average New York Times bestseller or top grossing Hollywood popcorn bullshit film. Reapers is something different. Reapers has more in common with Cormac McCarthy’s work than that of Tony Monchinski (who I love) or Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead graphic novel series. It’s post-apocalyptic Southern gothic.

The opening lines of the novel are, “God is a slick god. Temple knows. She knows because of all the cracker jack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe.” Oh my god. I can’t describe how much those words stuck with me: “God is a slick god…” So fucking cool.

It’s like this: Temple is around 17 years old. The Zombie Apocalypse began 25 years before she was born. The ruined world is the only one she knows. When she was young, she and her younger brother were taken in by an old man who taught her how to survive. In some ways she reminds me of a Ronin, a master-less samurai with nothing to fight for except her own survival. And survive she does; the girl is a bad-ass.

Now, Temple has never known a true home. She wanders between the badlands and the compounds that consist of what’s left of civilization, searching for her place in the world. Because of all she has been through, PTSD is too light of a term to describe her emotional state. A new tragedy sets her off on a journey different from anything she has dealt with before.

Temple is a character that truly touched my heart. She is somebody I’d want to protect, although I know she would never let that happen. Reapers is a lonely book. It’s the kind of loneliness that tears at your heart. You all should pick this book up and feel what I felt – it’s worth it.

Dave Wahlman