When the manager of Gil's All Night Diner asks transient customers Duke and Earl to lend her some assistance against an onslaught of zombies, the pair agrees to take on the task for $100, revealing after the job is done that they know something about the supernatural: Duke is a werewolf, and Earl, his best friend, is a vampire. What begins as a one-night job turns into a regular employment opportunity as it becomes clear that someone has targeted the diner for some unknown reason. A teenage witch, a lonely ghost, and a mysterious cult with one member round out the cast of characters in this laugh-out-loud comic fantasy that should appeal to fans of Spider Robinson's Callaha tales and Terry Brooks's Landover novels. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Two friends-Earl (as in the Earl of Vampires) and Duke (as in the Duke of Werewolves)-are driving along one evening when their truck runs out of gas. They wind up at an all-night diner in Rockwood, a small desert town that has a bit of a zombie problem. They help Loretta, the diner's owner/cook, fend off the zombies that are drawn to her eatery. Impressed, she asks the two to stay on and help her take care of some other supernatural problems in the town and to learn who is raising the ghouls. Duke and Earl discover that Tammy (also known as Mistress Lilith, Queen of the Night) and her loyal but dumb boyfriend are plotting to end the world in order to resurrect the old gods. Similar in style and humor to the work of Douglas Adams and Joe R. Lansdale, and Shaun of the Dead, this comic horror-fantasy is packed with warped humor and action. The characters are likable, three-dimensional, and quirky. The story is fast paced, interesting, and unpredictable. Martinez carves out a nice little bit of entertainment with surprising depth.-Erin Dennington, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A first novel explores the dynamics of the horror novel and comes up with Wolf Man Meets H.P. Lovecraft. After all, Universal Pictures started this whole horror revival back in the mid-1930s just as Lovecraft was departing to meet the old gods of Cthulhu, so why not meld the two scary venues into one? Here, Martinez leads us into the lives of Earl the Vampire and Duke the Wolf Man, who met on the night that Duke first changed from human to werewolf, attacked Earl in the woods and began eating his guts. We meet these two argumentative lowlifes in their ratty pickup truck as they pull into Gil's All Night Diner in Rockwood County in the middle of nowhere. Even in human form, Duke is huge. Earl, defying Bela Lugosi's Hungarian hauteur, has a really bad comb-over on his balding pate. Gil himself disappeared five years ago-to rule the universe, we later learn-and left fat Loretta to run his diner. Over the years she's shotgunned about 185 zombies, but they continue to attack the eatery in small groups. Duke and Earl decide to stick around and help Loretta ward off these unwelcome walking dead. It turns out that Rockwood County has been pestered in recent years by various occult disturbances, thanks to Tammy, a high-schooler intent on becoming Lilith, Queen of the Universe. To that end, she's been studying her abridged Necronomicon and raising zombies to take over Gil's diner as her very own gateway to Lovecraftville. Meanwhile, Earl comes across Cathy, an attractive teen ghost guarding a no-longer-used local graveyard, and they fall for each other. That's as much plot as you need to know. Promising launch for a buddy horror series. Who's next: Frankenstein?
Analog Science Fiction and Fact
If there's any justice in this world, Martinez is already working on a sequel to star Duke, Earl, Cathy, and the ghost of a plucky little dog.
Delightfully droll, this comic romp will be a crowd-pleaser.
It's horror both humorous and grisly, a twisted take on small-town America and buddy adventures.
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Traditional necromantic horror treated as Southwestern fun.
A rippingly wonderful novel, funny enough to wake the dead and gripping enough to captivate the living.
Voices of Youth Advocates
Do you know a young man twelve to seventeen years old who hates reading? This is the book for him! . . . A funfest of ghouls, zombie cattle, ghosts of various kinds, and lots of battles featuring decaying flesh and body parts. . . . Reads like the work of Douglas Adams. . . . One young reader gives highest praise: 'I buy the book . . . and read it straight through! I've never done that in my life, but I couldn't put it down.'
Alabama The Decatur Daily
A supernatural concoction spicier and tastier than a bowl of Texas red. . . . The funniest book you ever read about the undead, the occult, and Armageddon. . . . Martinez infuses his comic horror story with dry Texas wit, playing skillfully with the reader's expectations and the hoary conventions of the horror genre.
bestselling author of Dead to the World Charlaine Harris
Can a vampire find true love with a ghost? Can a teenage witch open the gates of Hell? Anything can happen in A. Lee Martinez's wacky debut.
bestselling author of Callahan's Con Spider Robinson
Not since Christopher Moore has anyone managed to make The Damned so damned funny. Martinez's Earl of Vampires and Duke of Werewolves are memorable characters, fully realized and totally plausibleif you believe in Texas, at leastand I hope to meet them again, and again.
author Sunset and Sawdust Joe R. Lansdale
Gil's All Fright Diner is a hoot of a novel. Fast-paced, Texas-wit-funny, sharply written, sharply observed. Pure blood-sweet entertainment from a Alex Martinez, a writer whose future books I look forward to.
The story finds its footing through its personable likable characters and the absurdly awkward fight they put up against increasingly bizarre supernatural terrors. . . . Gil's All Fright Diner really goes the extra mile to distinguish itself from the pack, creating a unique mythology and canon rather than relying on pre-established guidelines for its various creatures. . . . It's an appetizing snack perfect for devouring quickly over a hot cop o' joe.
Cemetery Dance Steve Vernon
The best book that I've read all year. . . . This is tale telling at its finest. Martinez's writing flows as smoothly as cold draught beer. I recommend this one highly.
Read an Excerpt
The waitress smiled. Her smile vanished as her eyes fell on the glass diner doors. "Aw, damn it. Not tonight."
Earl glanced to the front. Nine shambling corpses in various stages of decay were pressed against the glass. Their yellow eyes (for those that had eyes) stared hungrily. Purple tongues licked peeling lips.
"Told'ja I smelt zombies," Duke said without turning from his meal.
The walking dead smashed their way through the glass doors. The lead corpse, in a paisley blue suit, stumped forward on stiff legs.
"Don't you worry none, boys. I'll handle this."
She pulled a double-barreled shotgun from behind the counter, took aim, and squeezed the trigger . . .