Sunday, May 3, 2009

On The Nightstand

KISS OF LIFE: A Generation Dead Novel
by Daniel Waters

One of the nice things about having so many writers as friends is that sometimes they send you stuff like advance readers copies of their books. It makes you feel just a little cooler than average mortals, and when you've got a friend who is as good a writer as Dan Waters, it also gives you something really cool to read.

As anyone who's ever met me probably knows, I'll talk about how much I love Dan at the drop of a hat. I know a lot of people, am friendly with a fair number of them, but I've got a short list of people I count as true friends. Dan's high on that list. So it should come as a bit of a shock that I sort of hate him. Why?, you might ask. Well, because of books like KISS OF LIFE.

It's good. God help me, it's really good. The guy makes writing look so damn easy. And considering that at least on the surface it's a teenage zombie love story, there's no reason I should love it as much as I do. But like everything Dan writes, it's so much more than just what you see on the surface, which works so perfectly in a book about teenagers on some metaphorical level that it makes my creative brain hurt more than a little.

I was around when Dan came up with the idea for GENERATION DEAD, and the fact that there's a sequel now, and more sequels to come, is just too cool for words. But the fact that the sequel is as good as the first book, if not a little better (there's even a nerdy writing mechanics thing in the first section of the book that would drive me crazy if it wasn't handled as masterfully as Dan does it), is just another reason to hate the guy. And the facial hair. I can't grow a goatee to save my life, and yet Dan has one, proving once and for all that if the two of us are twins separated at birth, he's the evil one.

KISS OF LIFE hits the shelves May 12th in the States. I don't want to give away any of the story, but I really admire the choices Dan makes in this one. There's an easy way to tell a story, and there's a more nuanced, textured way, which usually turns out to be more interesting in the end. Dan always picks the more challenging way, and this book is no exception.

I never hesitate to shill for my friends, but Dan makes it really easy. I really enjoyed this book and its predecessor, GENERATION DEAD. And I can't wait to read the next one. Maybe by then, I'll be able to grow a goatee. I doubt it, but hope springs eternal.

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