Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
Tim Curran is an up and comer in the horror world. Since the early 2000s, Curran has released over a dozen novels, along with a large compliment of short stories and novellas. His style of writing is akin to the grindhouse films of the 1970s and his occasional cheesy delivery puts his writing on par with Edward Lee and Carlton Mellick III.
This is not as insult. Lee and Mellick are both very successful writers within the hardcore horror subgenre. Curran stands among them, mass-producing very enjoyable fast-paced stories. The works are not for the more serious horror aficionado, but offer a quick escape from the mundane.
Cannibal Corpse, M/C follows the biker John Slaughter as he journeys through post-apocalyptic Midwest America. The task is simple: save a scientist to free his brother and have his criminal record wiped clean. Riding with his brothers in the Devil Disciples Motorcycle Club, Slaughter must deal with parasitic worm rains, mutants, rogue military elements, nuclear fallout, and their arch nemesis – the zombie bikers of the Cannibal Corpse Motorcycle Club. All of this is the product of an ancient evil known by many names and a confrontation of biblical proportions is inevitable.
The story is so varied. It almost reads like a bizarre mix of Lord of the Rings, Sons of Anarchy, and Fallout. It has a bit of everything. One moment, Slaughter is rocketing down the highway trying to avoid gigantic spiders and the next, he is on a peyote-fueled vision quest. Lies, half-truths, and misdirection complicate matters as Slaughter finds he can trust no one. Nothing is as it seems.
This may seem problematic or overly complex, but somehow Curran makes it work. The ridiculous nature of the narrative fits with the hero. John Slaughter is like the Conan of a new age, screwing and killing anything that stands in his way. Facing off against a dozen soldiers with only a pistol? Sure. Cage fight with a super zombie? No worries. Knife fight with a regenerating supernatural entity? I wouldn’t bet against our hero.
Curran reveals the narrative slowly, building both momentum and suspense. Cannibal Corpse, M/C is not a great story, but it works. There is no underlying theme or point to it all. It is unabashed pure pulp harkening back to the golden age Howard and Heinlein only written with 21st century sensibilities. Throughout it all, Cannibal Corpse, M/C maintains its horrific vibe and is a fine addition to any speculative fiction library.