Book Review: Promiscuville - Rise of the Dead / Author: Chris Wade / Publisher: Wisdom Twins Books / Release Date: Out Now
Where can I begin? Where, oh where can I begin? As I laboured my way - and trust me, this was a real labour - through Chris Wade’s self-published zombie horror novella Promiscuville I kept looking for some clue, some hint somewhere that this was actually a foreign language book badly translated into English. Surely there can be no other explanation for something as laughably shoddily-written as this tacky, sloppy, sleazy little book? But the sad truth appears to be that this has been written in what Chris Wade might purport to call his first language. English. Shakespeare’s language. We’ve come a long way, baby…
Promiscuville: Rise of the Dead is trash. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; trash, in the right hands, can be breezily entertaining if you’re in the right frame of mind and it’s done with the necessary style and sense of self-awareness. But it appears that Chris Wade has written his horrible, clumsy, ugly little book in the genuine belief that it’s reflecting modern society, the decline of morale standards, that it encapsulates what he sees as Britain’s disintegrating social standards. I’m not sure about all that, it’s possibly a debate best left to Question Time; but if nothing else Promiscuville stands as an appalling testament to tumbling educational standards if its author genuinely believes that it has any worth as any sort of publishable literature. It’s hard to believe that Chris Wade has read any other books ever if he honestly felt that he’d created something here that should ever see the light of day. At best Promiscuville resembles the sort of fiction very immature teenagers who’ve watched too many horror films fancy writing because they think it’s really cool and look, I’m using swear words like grown-ups do.
This tosh purports to be set somewhere in the UK in “a place so foul and overrun with wild debauchery they really should have taken it off every single map commercially available”. This once-thriving industrial town has, apparently, become “the epitome of sin” - and with a name like Promiscuville it’s hardly surprising. I daresay neighbouring Shagtown’s not much better. Unfortunately Wade’s not skillful enough to actually tell us what’s so bad about the place; it seems to be full of losers and sleazebags and, interestingly, “the largest amount of drunks in the western world.” That seems to be about it as Promiscuville doesn’t introduce us to anyone much more debauched than any modern city’s ragtag collection of largely-harmless down-and-outs.
The plot - and the word has never been used in any looser sense - seems to concern a woman in psychiatric care suspected of murdering her husband. He was, it seems, “a right scummy piece of rubbish” but his wife tells of a rabid inhuman creature which actually did the deed. An appallingly-worded newspaper report states, interestingly, that “it’s not yet been decided if his wife is the killer.” Who, I wonder, is going to make this momentous decision? To cut a long and utterly pointless story short, there’s a zombie uprising due and soon enough it happens and blah blah blood and gore.
Promiscuville is irredeemably, unremittingly dreadful. The characters are grim, the plotting is non-existent, sentence structure is all over the place, grammar is largely out of the window, dialogue is risible. The long-awaited zombie uprising takes the best part of 100 pages to arrive and suddenly it just happens and the streets of Promiscuville are overrun by zombies who are suddenly described as “mutants”.
I can scarcely begin to scratch the surface in describing how desperately artless and witless Promiscuville is. It really is the worst thing I’ve ever read. It’s supposed to be a condemnation of the decline of society in the 21st century but really it’s just a warning about the dangers and perils of unchecked self-publishing.