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CR3 #15: The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten by Harrison Geillor

This story of a small Minnesota town's reaction to the zombie onslaught is nothing genre-changing. It is not going to blow your mind or change the way you look at zombie literature forever. However, it's a fun story, well-written and entertaining.

Lake Woebegotten is a town in rural Minnesota. It is the sort of place that has only two police officers, and where the mayor doubles as the town's used car salesman. Things are going along in fairly normal fashion until one night there is a crazy celestial event which seems to lead to some surprising problems. The issue begins with zombie fish, and soon the whole town is trying to handle the risen dead (human and animal alike) while still continuing to deal with their typical small-town problems (who is sleeping with whom, who is worshipping Norse gods, who is keeping an arsenal in his home, who is a prolific serial killer.) The characters are not exactly deep--most are simply caricatures--but a few of them do manage some development. My favorites were probably Father Edsel, the priest, and Julie, the owner of the local cafe. The book is written in shifting perspective, so we get to drop in on quite a few of the residents of Lake Woebegotten.

The dialogue and in particular the descriptions can be very funny, and are an effective parody of Garrison Keillor's "Lake Wobegone" stories. The middle of the book is non-linear and takes place over the course of several months, so it can get mildly confusing. However, in some ways it was very effectively done, because the characters would say something and you'd be left wondering just what exactly happened when baby Jesus tried to eat everyone at the Catholic Christmas pageant?

As I said before, this is not going to knock you off your seat and change your life, but it is a fun read. The plot moves along, and I found myself laughing quite often. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys zombie fiction and also has a sense of humor about it.

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