Pitch and Plug with Salty Ink

“Belated Pitch and Plug, with Corey Redekop” originally published in Salty Ink, 4 July 2013.

If you know Corey Redekop, you know he’s not big on talking about his work, so I had to pull this out of him. Hence the delayed Pitch and Plug for this 2012 novel. It’s a gory, gorgeously written spin on the zombie genre, and I fully endorse it and admire it for taking a bite out of what can constitute CanLit or literary fiction these days. 

Pitch the book to a potential reader …

Husk is about a zombie.

Now, you’re thinking, “I watch The Walking Dead, I know zombies,” or “Zombies are so played, they’re last year’s twinkling vampires and shirtless werewolves,” or even the horrific notion, “I don’t like zombies.”

Yes, Husk is ostensibly a “zombie” novel. Just as J.J. Abram’s Lost ostensibly “makes sense,” Fox News is ostensibly “journalism,” and Stephen Harper is ostensibly “not a reptilian underlord draped in human skin.”

Husk is so much more than the archetypical “fleeing from a shambling corpse” scenario: within its pages you’ll discover a satire on celebrity, a love story, a bildungsroman, a conspiracy thriller, a comedy, a monster movie, a do-it-yourself surgical handbook, a religious allegory, a personal journey of discovery, and a medical drama (Husk; the Brian’s Song of the undead).

And lest you think, “That’s all well and good, but talk is cheap, let’s see us some results,” Husk was designated:

  • one of the top books of 2012 by the editors of Amazon.ca,
  • a top book of Fall 2012 by The Toronto Star,
  • “a darkly comic, but sur­pris­ingly light-hearted, mind-meld…Camus meets Palah­niuk,” by bestselling author Andrew Pyper (The Demonologist),
  • “a superb blood-splattered com­edy,” by bestselling author Andrew Kaufman (Born Weird), and
  • “a wild vicious romp through pop cul­ture…Husk rips the heart out of the rot­ting zom­bie genre and shoves it down your throat,” by bestselling author Peter Darbyshire (The Warhol Gang).

Alright, enough stroking. If I haven’t sold you on Husk by now, I give up.

Share a random fact about the book …

Only one of the following statements is true:

Not once in Husk is the word zombie ever uttered.

Reading Husk out loud has been proven to lower blood pressure, increase libido, improve breath, suppress appetite, relieve cold sores, and soothe children to sleep.

Sheldon Funk’s name in the original manuscript was Tellovsky Q. Funkenstein.

I designed the entire book as sly homage to Stephen Soderbergh’s film classic The Limey.

Writing the many scenes of blood-soaked, gore-glazed, innards-exhibiting carnage were some of the most joyful times I’ve ever had writing fiction.

Husk is Pope Francis’ favourite literary blasphemy.

The original title of Husk was Healthy Eating. Healthy was the last name of Sheldon’s boyfriend.

And one other random fact: I had never heard Portishead’s song “Wandering Star” until well after Husk was published. Nevertheless, the lyrics are weirdly apropos:

Those who have seen the needles eye, now tread,
Like a husk, from which all that was now has fled,
And the masks, that the monsters wear,
To feed, upon their prey.

Weird, that.

Plug another author’s work …

It’s not that I don’t want to plug another’s work per se: it’s just that there’s too much good out there to choose from.

So rather than pick one novel, I shall endorse an entire publisher. ChiZine is, without a doubt, the most exciting Canadian publishing house in ages. In book after book after book, the Toronto-based co-publishing duo of Brett Savory and Sandra Katsuri deliver astonishing works of fiction that transverse genres and consistently hit literary highs. Their eye for talent is unparalleled, and their passion for their art is inspiring.

Thanks to ChiZine, I have been introduced to: the wondrously strange western horrors of Gemma Files (A Book of Tongues); the masterful imaginations of David Nickle (Rasputin’s Bastards) and Douglas Smith (Chimerascope); the stunning surrealism of James Marshall (Zombie Versus Fairy Featuring Albinos), Craig Davidson (Sarah Court), and Claude Lalumière (The Door to Lost Pages); the sinister weirdness of Tony Burgess (People Live Still in Cashtown Corners); and the subtle majesty of Robert J. Wiersema (This World More Full of Weeping).

These novels have all, to a one, blown me completely away. And these are only the Canadian authors on the roster; I could easily add another two paragraphs on the ChiZine’s spectacular international offerings.

You pick up a Chizine offering, and I guarantee you’re going to read something unlike anything you’ve read before.