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?
“Fans of Douglas Adams will happily sink their teeth into this combo platter of raunchy laughs and ectoplasmic ecstasy.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[A] laugh-out-loud comic fantasy that should appeal to fans of Terry Brooks's Landover novels.” Library Journal
“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.'” Voices of Youth Advocates
“Delightfully droll, this comic romp will be a crowd-pleaser.” Booklist
“Traditional necromantic horror treated as Southwestern fun.” The San Diego Union-Tribune
“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.” Fangoria
“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.” Analog Science Fiction and Fact
“It's horror both humorous and grisly, a twisted take on small-town America and buddy adventures.” Locus
“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.” The Decatur Daily, Alabama
“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.” Steve Vernon, Cemetery Dance
“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.” Joe R. Lansdale, author Sunset and Sawdust
“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.” Charlaine Harris, bestselling author of Dead to the World
“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.” Spider Robinson, bestselling author of Callahan's Con
“A rippingly wonderful novel, funny enough to wake the dead and gripping enough to captivate the living.” David Lubar