Wednesday, July 1, 2009


It took me a while to track down Bryan Smith’s Deathbringer, probably because people are starting to realize he is the next big thing. But it was worth the wait. This is Smith’s take on the zombie genre, but is much less derivative of the classic zombies than most.

In the supernatural realm, there are entities known as Reapers, whose job is to collect the souls of the dead. One of these Reapers desires more power, and has come up with a plan to challenge God himself. He goes to the town of Dandridge, Tennessee (that Tennessee is the locus of evil doesn’t surprise me), where a mystical book (shades of The Evil Dead!) is placed in the hands of Mike O’Bannon, a young police officer grieving over the murder of his fiancée. O’Bannon reads from the book, which causes the dead of Dandridge to begin to rise from their graves, killing the living and converting them into part of the undead army. This will ultimately able the Reaper to exterminate all life on Earth, and provoke a confrontation with the All-Mighty. There is a representative of the other side sent to stop him, but is he up to the task?

The zombies of Deathbringer are fast-moving and sentient, which makes them more dangerous than the usual crowd. They also retain the memories of their human lives, and can feel some remorse for their actions, which adds depth. As is usual with Smith’s books, the story is action-packed and fast moving. As with his other novels, I would highly recommend it.

A couple of quick additional notes:

In searching for a cover photo to steal use, I had the misfortune of running across the Amazon reviews for this book, which are mostly incomprehensible. I guess some people get kicks by tearing things down. Yes, it is like looking into a disturbing mirror.

I had the fortune of getting a sneak peek at Smith’s next book, Depraved, which will be out from Leisure later this year. Don’t miss it, it might be the best book of 2009.


Bryan Smith said...

Thanks for the review.

I stopped looking at Amazon reviews around the time Queen of Blood was released. However, I am well aware of the several negative reviews of Deathbringer. While there are of course some people who just legitimately dislike the book for whatever personal reasons they have, I feel compelled to note that at some point after Deathbringer came out I posted a blog calling some Amazon reviewers fucking morons (or words to that effect). A spate of those very negative reviews followed very closely on the heels of that blog. So, at least in the case of that book, I really think the ratio of good vs. bad reviews is sort of unfairly skewed because I posted something I, in retrospect, can only view as...misguided.

I could go into this more, but it's not really worth it. Deathbringer and HOB are several books ago now and feel like ancient history to me, but I couldn't let this pass without adding this comment.

KentAllard said...

Thanks for the clarification, Bryan, it explains a lot. I loved the book (although I think you've gotten better with each of your books) and couldn't understand why some of the reviewers talked about it like a box of the books crushed their dog.

Jim Mcleod said...

for what its worth I really enjoyed t