Kill The Dead

by Richard Kadrey
2010 Harper Voyager

Method of selection: It has “kill” in the title.

First sentence: Imagine shoving a cattle prod up a rhino’s ass, shouting “April fool!”, and hoping the rhino thinks it’s funny.
Worst sentence: God said, “Let there be Light, and cheap take-out Chinese,” and the Grand Central Market appeared.
Number of African children who died of malaria, which is easily and cheaply treatable, while I was writing this review:  About 40
Percentage of you who  will fact-check that number: About 10
Percentage of you who will do anything about it: A number statistically insignificant from 0
Percentage of you who think this is HILARIOUS: 100

Other reviews: io9, The Mad Hatter, The Guilded Earlobe, David Forbes

Richard Kadrey is a quirky writer. And I use that word as insultingly as possible. With a first sentence like that, I was sure this would at the very least be an entertaining read. Instead it’s sophomoric. Not quite “puerile”, like a James Patterson novel, but definitely at that level where I actually had to make sure this wasn’t young adult fiction.

Kill The Dead is a vampire novel, so not very original. There is nothing Richard Kadrey can do with vampires that the Twilight saga hasn’t already done. And with much better-looking people. But Kadrey’s writing is almost insulting to the reader, borderline offensive. He writes quirky sentences like:

Cue the sheep who stand around pointing and the Captain Americas who run to help.


[she] wants to get out of the sun before she turns into chicken-fried steak.

The whole first three pages take place in the narrator’s head. It isn’t a story it’s a monologue. And it’s about vampires and how they’re hard to kill. Kadrey writes with this inside-joke snarkiness that reminds me of chick lit. Every other statement is snark and forced wit. None of it is funny, and nothing about this book is compelling. My health insurance member handbook is more spellbinding, and funnier. I dare you to read the outpatient benefit limit table and not laugh.

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