Rosen, Rob. “Queens of the Apocalypse”, Wilde City Press, 2014.
Three Plus One
When you see the name Rob Rosen on a book cover, you can be sure that you are going to get a good read. His new book, “Queens of the Apocalypse” is a romantic comedy that is paranormal and lots of fun. I don’t recall ever reading about a drag queen zombie before so this was a first for me. In fact this book is so much fun and has so many laughs that I had to stop reading (and laughing) several times. It has been a long time since a book has done that to me. There is nothing like a fierce drag queen and these are the fiercest (and funniest) that we are likely to encounter.
Rob Rosen’s recipe goes like this— “Take three fierce drag queens, plus their undead drag sister, a massive solar flare, and a few billion hungry zombies, toss in the remnants of the U.S. Army and a hysterically funny/frequently poignant cross-country trip, add a spicy dash of sizzling romance and a helping of mystery and suspense, and what you wind up with is the deliciously campy “Queens of the Apocalypse”.
I have always liked Rosen’s writing and he really proves himself and shows his talent here. How many writers can take drag queens, zombies and the apocalypse and bring them together in a story that not only a fun read but extremely well written?
Our heroines (or is that heroes?) are Destiny St. James, Miss Kit Kat and Blondella Bombshell are waiting to perform in their steel dressing room when there is an explosion at the bar when they do their act. When they venture out they are faced with dead bodies and an unbearable heat. It seems that the predicted solar flares have done their job and almost leveled place and brought customers to their knees (not that they usually aren’t) and/or to early deaths. They realize that the world they once knew is no more and that humankind (can I say “dragkind” as well?) has been almost wiped out by radiation. Their first thought was that they were the only survivors but soon the dead bodies that are strewn all over begin to come to life?…rather become the living dead and the zombie apocalypse enters history.
There are a few survivors— Max, a mortician and a couple of others join up with the queens as they begin their journey to New York to find Johnny, Blondella’s squeeze. As they travel a romance develops between Max and Destiny. What keeps them going is the hope that Johnny has not joined the fatalities.
They face problems—the army tries to block them and a zombie drag queens comes along who helps them as they travel. I am not sure to what genre this books belongs but it makes no difference really and let’s just say that it is above and beyond classification. There is a lot of action, unforgettable characters and some the funniest and snappiest dialogue you will ever read. As crazy as it all is there is something else here—a sense of belonging and loyalty that draws us in as well. I wondered if perhaps this was Rosen’s way of saying, “Enough with the paranormal crap; let’s get back to literature” and he does this by giving us a satire of that “paranormal crap”. The fact that the majority of what we read here is inconceivable and that Rosen makes it work, gives me thought that he is playing with us. LGBT literature got into this paranormal trend along with “True Blood” but unlike “True Blood”, many authors chose not to exit when they were at their prime. Rob Rosen has gone a step further and in giving us a zombie/drag queen novel that is totally implausible shows us what good literature can be if one has a sense of humor. He makes fun of himself and as he laughs, we laugh with him. I love that.
(And there is an added bonus—the foreword is by “the legendary Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence drag diva herself, Sister Roma”).