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Book Review: Voodoo Child: Zombie Uprising – Author William Burke

Voodoo Child: Zombie Uprising
By William Burke
301 Pages

Maggie Child is a chopper pilot that sustains a devastating crash and barely escapes with her life thanks to the help of an ominous supernatural, demonic like creature. She awakens within a top secret military experiment facility and finds adversity in the form of drug induced interrogations. Her only answer to survival is somehow fleeing the institution and seeking the help of her Uncle Rip. Sanctuary may be found a remote isle in the Caribbean where a hostile takeover has transpired in the local government. The very same officials will not rest until a Voodoo Priestess is sacrificed. Maggie soon realizes she has a secret of her own: she may very well be the only key to overcoming an apocalyptic uprising of the undead.

Every now and then something special comes along within the horror genre that rejuvenates one’s passion for this realm. At first glance when I’d been assigned the task of reading Voodoo Child for novel review I admittedly sighed in resignation while somewhere in my cerebral sanctum had uttered, ‘swell….another zombie story.’ I’d made the dreadful mistake of allowing my over indulgent experiences preconceive what this reading odyssey was going to be like.

Rest assured it’s more than suffice to say this author William Burke breaths fresh life into the undead category. This special formula of mish-mash zomblielore/supernatural/voodoo refuses to relent until the final pages. Voodoo Child is the sort of novel that makes audiences fall in love with reading again.

Perhaps the greatest oddity upon charting this reading adventure was the fact that not a mere twenty four hours prior I was reminiscing about a lost television show titled Creepy Canada. The pseudo-documentary reenactment styled programming showcased everything that inspired skin crawling grandiose in the early 2000’s, somewhere around 2002 if I’m not mistaken. It was a staple in my household. I’d spend endless hours re-visiting tales of spirits and hauntings from my hometown of Port Perry, Ontario and Niagara Falls, where I currently reside. I missed that show greatly and had to find it again. Upon reading the author’s liner notes for Voodoo Child an undeniable chill crept up my spine in realizing the lineage between the two.

If the name William Burke seems familiar to you, there is an excellent chance you’ve encountered his work a number of times over; just in different media. He’s credited for writing for Creepy Canada, as well as writing and directing for Hauntings and Horrors on Destination America. His cinematic writing resume packs a wallop and to truly get a full appreciation I implore you to visit the IMDB page. I couldn’t be more thrilled that this gifted writer has commenced a journey into a whole new realm with Voodoo Child as his inaugural novel experience.

Voodoo Child: Zombie Uprising epitomizes the trials and tribulations of a strong, independent lead protagonist as a female. Burke strengthens the bond of a potential vast demographic under this premise alone. We’re fascinated with what makes her tick and desperately seek out how she overcomes obstacles that seem to wait around every corner.

There are dual or even at times three simultaneous plots unfolding to keep the reading audience intrigued. As we learn about Maggie Child we also are introduced to James Gallo, the big wig at Talos Corporation that is sent to investigate the proceedings at the underground experimental facility. While all of this is taking place we learn of a hostile political takeover in the Isle De Fantomas and the lengths taken to assassinate a local Voodoo Priestess. Burke manages to compress a tremendous amount of adrenaline fueled action without becoming dependent upon over indulgent exposition. As a result the reader is lured deeper into the fray in anxious anticipation of what happens next.

Whether looking at the protagonists introduced or their collective opposing antagonists each are as equally infectious as their predecessors. While the good guys are cut from an inquisitive cloth that we can’t wait to get to know better and get behind, the villains act out in abominable ways that prompts the reader to love to hate each further.

The dialogue is often whimsical and provides levity. It’s no real surprise to learn of some of Burke’s early influences in Mad Magazine. His admiration for humor comes shining through. The rapport between Maggie and Sarafina, the Voodoo Priestess is especially noteworthy and will inspire a hearty bout of laughter from even the most cynical of readers.

Easily the most promising element of Voodoo Child: Zombie Uprising is the fact we’re promised additional volumes following the exploits of Maggie, Sarafina and company. The final paragraphs of this edition unwinds with just the right balance of summing things up and a classic cliff hanger. I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank Mr. William Burke for rejuvenating a love for the undead that I had just about thought was, well completely dead. When it comes to book two and its release, I’ll be the first in line.

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