By Thomas S. Roche
Night Shade Books, $14.99, 297 pages
Generally, the protagonists of zombie apocalypse stories are just ordinary people trying to survive the unthinkable. In The Panama Laugh our narrator Dante Bogart (DON’T call him Frosty) is somebody who’s been surviving the unthinkable long before the dead starting eating everybody. Frosty is a “military contractor”, a Blackwater-style mercenary who’s spent his entire adult life in transit from one hell hole to another. One could say that he’s uniquely qualified to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Written in a scorching fast first-person narrative, The Panama Laugh follows Frosty as he tries to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding his last 5 years as a prisoner/patient zero in a bio-terror laboratory. Along with his best friend Van, and his ex-girlfriend Trixie, Frosty (Stop Calling Me That!) Bogart travels from Panama to San Francisco, the epicenter of the plague, aboard a stolen nuclear cruiser.
The action sequences are unbelievably tight, and fast paced. The creatures, who acquire an evil laugh as they become zombies, are singularly creepy. Thomas Roche’s debut novel is surefooted, and very very fun to read. If you like a little gallows humor, and like your anti-heroes dark as pitch, you’ll love The Panama Laugh.
Reviewed by Brad Wright
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