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Review: Gil's All Fright Diner, by A. Lee Martinez

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mattormeg:


"Gil's All Fright Diner" tells the story of two blue-collar monsters (werewolf trucker Duke and his vampire buddy, Earl) who stop in for a slice of pie at a greasy spoon diner and find themselves drawn into a deep-fried world of teeny-bopper sorceresses, zombies, Elder Gods, amorous ghosts and haunted mini-golf courses.

It seems that Loretta, the establishment's owner, is having a bit of a problem with ravenous, plodding hordes of undead "godless abominations" (zombies) who continue to haunt her diner night after night. While Loretta is as handy with a shotgun as she is a skillet, having to dispatch the darned things every night is starting to scare off what few customers she has.

When Duke and Earl drop in for a quick bite (the aforementioned pie), Loretta pays them $100 to suss out the root of the diner's zombie problem. This leads the duo to run afoul of an angry jailbait sorceress named Tammy (who prefers to be called Mistress Lilith) and her dumb as a sack-of-hammers boyfriend Chad, who together are conspiring to awaken the Elder Gods with a handful of spells from The Abridged Necronomicon and a formidable knowledge of the occult power of pig Latin.

The duo manage to ruin Tammy's nefarious plot with a bit of ingenuity, detective work and an old Dodge pick-up.

This book, Martinez's first, is a fun, quick read full of deadpan humor and skewering jabs at the romantic cliches that permeate the vampire myth. Stylistically, it reads like a cross between Joe R. Lansdale and Douglas Adams.

It's a good yarn and well-worth picking up. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I gave this novel a rating of "7" because of the occasional frustration I experienced with the characters: sometimes they just seemed a bit too purposefuly eccentric and quirky, but most of the time they're all used to good effect.

I was able to adapt the malevolent - yet cheerful - ghouls from the book into fairly befuddling antagonists for my Savage Worlds Game, and as the diner is as much of a "character" in the book as Duke and Earl, I could easily see it becoming the base of operations for a longterm off-beat horror campaign.








 

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