I Can Live With That
When Splatterpunk author of the year Christine Morgan says Starving Zoe is 3 Starts, I have no grounds to disagree! Many great novels and albums over the years have been considered ‘middle of the road’…
“This installment in the ongoing kickbutt Splatter Western series takes a bit of a departure from the others; instead of a large cast of characters with a whole shootin’ gallery of body count, the stage is set for much more solitary, lonesome, personal horror. (In some scenes, extremely personal; really bad stuff happens to really sensitive body parts, and “degloved” isn’t usually a word you’d want associated with any of them … yeesh!)
Robert Jack’s childhood is like something out of Dickens by way of Gangs of New York, an Irish orphan growing up fending for himself on the mean city streets, getting by however he can and building up a reputation.
Eventually, though, the heat gets too hot, and he heads out west with his sweetheart, Zoe. Their plans to start fresh and make a life together are interrupted when the past and the law catch up with them, resulting in Robert agreeing to join the Confederate Army.
It’s the classic tale, a soldier far from home, thinking longingly of the girl he left behind and how happy they’ll be … only to finally get there and discover one rude awakening. Turns out Zoe has been less than faithful, and just like that Robert Jack’s world shatters into vengeful violence.
A cavalcade of ugliness, awfulness, and atrocities ensue as Robert’s true hateful nature is starkly revealed (with heaping helpings of racism and sexism) and Zoe — or, what’s left of her — seeks her own monstrous revenge. And there’s no escaping from it; the most abominable aspects are referenced and relived to the point of feeling almost belabored, risking losing their effectiveness from sheer overload.
I did stumble a few times over some anachronistic-seeming word choices, and I’m still not quite sure I get how the “starving” aspect of the title was meant to fit. Overall, far from a fun feel-good read, heavy on the hate and gore and nastiness, definitely not for everyone.” – Christine Morgan