Review: “In Beauty, Like the Night” by Norman Partridge

2 of 5 stars.

Included in Extreme Zombies edited by Paula Guran, this story gives an account of a shallow, wealthy man’s attempt to hole up in the face of a zombie apocalypse. Nathan Grimes, made wealthy from his exploitation of Grimes’ Girls (think Playboy Bunnies) has bought a private Caribbean island to serve as his bunker. As the mainland and his New Orleans mansion get overrun by predatory mainland zombies, Grimes flees to his bunker-mansion-island with two bodyguards and coke-addicted, former Miss October Ronnie who’s a couple years past her prime. He awaits the arrival of his private helicopter containing the current year’s twelve monthly models, his photographer, his pilot and co-pilot. His plan is for the nineteen of them to hold up safely on the island until the government is able to restore order, possibly two years hence in his estimation. Then, he’ll have a lock on the best, most profitable female bodies around.

Grimes is a creep in the extreme. Thankfully, while flirting with parody, the tale manages to stay just this side of mockery. Otherwise, Grimes is just too easy a target. He cannot credit any of his followers with intelligence, and his paranoia grows rapidly. Just as he can’t see his girls as anything more than breasts and thighs, he starts to question who’s alive and who’s undead. It all becomes a blur to him. And his paranoia is fully armed, with a shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality. Eventually, he starts to question whether he would even know if he’d become undead. Or is he finally starting to question his humanity?
 
 
 
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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