Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan
A comedy thriller featuring sex-crazed zombie cows – The publicity says “Shaun the Sheep meets Shaun of the Dead”. Shouldn’t work, but somehow it does! It won a half-share of the inaugural Terry Pratchett “Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now” Prize, set up by Sir Terry with publisher Transworld. So what’s it about then?
Strange things are happening in Scotland. Some cows have gone mad in an abattoir, and the situation is being dealt with.
Meanwhile: Teenager Geldof Peters, is itching, allergic to the hemp clothes his rabid hippy vegan mother makes him wear; Terry works at the abattoir, and is paranoid a) about getting a girlfriend, who b) is immune to the stench of death that clings to him from his job; and Lesley McBrien is a journalist under pressure – she’s being made redundant and only a scoop will do.
These three disparate losers will end up being flung together in a race for their lives to get the full story out of Britain which, as more animals become infected, becomes a martial state and is quarantined by the rest of the world. The story is that the zombie-animal disease is a bio-weapon unleased by terrorists, but Lesley, Terry and Geldof know differently, as does their pursuer, the evil Mr Brown who will do anything to prevent the truth from getting out…
Geldof reminded me rather of Adrian Mole, although not as pompous, and of course his family with their lofty eco-credentials were easy targets for parody. They contrasted with their oafish burger-loving neighbours naturally, which gave plenty of scope for jokes about lentils.
Our three heroes will, of course, have to transcend their own ineptitude and personal stereotypes to overcome the forces against them and raise their game to outwit the scheming Brown. Even without the zomboid animals all over the place, there is gore and ultra-violence aplenty, and the plot races through its pages.
It was a fun read and I raced through it. I shouldn’t quote from an ARC, so to give you a flavour, I will offer you a comparison instead. This book reminded me of nothing so much as a Christopher Brookmyre novel with added zombie cows. I’m a big fan of Brookmyre – I don’t think this was as good as his debut, Quite Ugly One Morning, but not too far off, and I can see why Pratchett & co liked it. (7/10)
Source: Review copy – Thank you.
Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan. (Doubleday. 2012) Corgi paperback, 384 pages.
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