Created by Bentley Little
Given the uber-popularity of television’s The Walking Dead, it would be easy to slag The Walking off as a rip-off, except… horror writer Bentley Little’s 2000 zombie novel not only predates the popular TV show and its myriad spin-offs and clones, but it actually also predates the comic book series by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore that the show was based on.
In fact, now I’m wondering where Kirkman got his title.
But I digress…
Los Angeles private investigator MILES HUERDEEN has a problem. No, not that he’s a middle-aged divorcee living with his dad, or that his decision to work for a big Detective agency hasn’t quite turned out to be as exciting as he’d once hoped, even if he can console himself with the thought that at least “sometimes he could pretend he was Philip Marlowe.”
No, his big problem is that his late father, Bob, the victim of a fatal stroke, won’t stay dead, but is strutting around his room buck-naked, save for a pair of cowboy boots. Apparently, dear old dad is but one of several re-animated corpses that have started to pop up across the country. Even more perplexing, though, is that the recently deceased have not only begun to walk– they all seem to be shuffling in the same direction: towards Wolf Canyon, a remote, off-limits location in Arizona once owned by the federal government.
But that’s only half the story, as the other part of the book takes place in the Old West, where a persecuted religious cult, lead by their charismatic William Johnson, lead the faithful with the intention of establishing a settlement. Their destination? Wolf Canyon.
As Miles begins to investigate, questioning the families of other “walkers,” things become even stranger and yes, surprisingly violent, the two disparate story lines smacking up against each other, finally becoming one as Miles comes face to face with… well, that would be telling.
The author, Bentley Little, is known for his horror fiction, full of his trademark “satirical turns of plot and wit and genre.” I suspect it was the keen reception of a couple of Little’s previous short stories, featuring a nameless private detective, that convinced him to use a P.I. as the protagonist of The Walking.
- “The overwhelming sense of doom with which Little (The Revelation) imbues his newest novel is so palpable it seems to rise from the book like mist. Flowing seamlessly between time and place (from the present-day hassles of HMOs to the once-uncharted territory of the American West), the Bram Stoker Award- winning author’s ability to transfix his audience while relinquishing scant details about the foreboding evil is superb.
— Publisher’s Weekly
- “The horror event of the year.”
— Stephen King
- I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts
Things That Go Bump in the Night, and the Eyes Who Go After Them