Welcome to one of the January 13th stops on the blog tour for Hungry Business by Maria DeBlassie, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more reviews and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)
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About the Book
Hungry Business: A Short Story
by Maria DeBlassie
Published 12 October 2020
by Kitchen Witch Press
Genre: Gothic Horror (Cozy)
Page Count: 17
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
From the multi-award-winning author of Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings comes a cozy Gothic short story about searching for soul, meaning, love in a world that’s forgotten the power of everyday conjuring.
Looking for love can be deadly…
You know how it goes. You go out, hoping to meet someone. You wade through your fair share of brainless automatons, lifeless bodies, and ravenous undead good at passing as human.
The more you go out, the less hope you feel and the colder your body gets. But you keep at it. All you need is one beating heart to match your own before yours stops pumping altogether. How hard can it be to find one living, breathing human in a city full of bodies?
It’s hungry business.
Currently on sale in Kindle eBook format for $0.99 USD!
This one looks a little better, you think optimistically.
You sit across from each other at the dinner table. The white tablecloth is as smooth and unblemished as his collared shirt. He has dressed for the occasion, taking care to hide the evidence of his affliction as best he can (though truly there is only so much he can do with a missing ear and half a brain). Still, the tuxedo and carefully applied makeup are enough to create the illusion of pumping blood beneath his pallid, blush-stained cheeks—in the right light. Which is another reason why you chose this place. Candlelight can hide a multitude of sins.
His manners are studied and smooth, as if he has spent a lot of time practicing more human-like movements and behavior. You admire a man who makes that kind of effort. He watches you as much as you do him, as if he is trying to remember what it was like to be alive. When you reach for your wine glass, so does he—only his thick decaying fingers almost crush the stem, whereas your nimble live ones carefully bring the dark red liquid to your mouth. You try not to notice how he stares at your lips—stained now from the wine—wondering, perhaps, how you taste.
My Rating: 5 Stars!
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads.
I was granted review access to Hungry Business through two avenues, publisher Kitchen Witch Press on NetGalley and blog tour organizer Goddess Fish Promotions, and I would like to thank both and author Maria DeBlassie for this opportunity. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
I will do my best to tighten up my normally lengthy review style in an attempt to keep this review shorter than the source material. In just 17 pages, Maria DeBlassie paints a vivid picture of life in the aftermath of a Zombie virus outbreak, specifcally that of an introvert with a strong will to survive who’s finding out that perhaps the desire for companionship is not a good enough reason to keep coming in contact with the undead. The main character possesses a healthy amount of paranoia in a time when only the paranoid get to keep living.
I love all the little world-building details that are deftly sewn into the narrative, like how grave dirt can be thrown at the Hungries to the same effect as salt or holy water on a minor demon, and I love all the little details that the main character cherishes as she holds onto her humanity. The cat in the window across the street who shows up every evening to stare back at her. The multitude of extra blankets she owns, just to feel warmth.
At the start of this story, I thought the main character was a killer of some sort. She has a corpse as a dinner partner and she does a lot of talking about hearts, ones still beating and not. My one criticism is that the corpse isn’t dealt with on page after that. Was it a metaphorical corpse? Is it someone who contracted the virus and didn’t feed? Is it someone who contracted the virus and she had to dispatch them? Is this the reason why she spends a good chunk of the story attempting not to acknowledge her fear that she’s infected?
This short story answers enough questions to leave the reader willing to accept that this is where the story ends but leaves enough open that it could be expanded, in the future, to a longer piece. That wouldn’t be an unheard-of thing to do. Robert J. Sawyer’s 2013 novel Red Planet Blues begins with an updated version of his 2005 novella Identity Theft. I’d love to know how the main character’s life goes now that she’s made the decisions and discoveries she made in these 17 short pages.
I highly recommend this to anyone who loves horror, suspense, dark humour, apocalyptic science fiction, or zombie stories in general, and I am definitely interested in reading more fiction by this author. (Especially a longer version of this!)
About the Author
Maria DeBlassie, Ph.D. is a native New Mexican mestiza blogger, award-winning writer, and award-winning educator living in the Land of Enchantment. Her first book, Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings (Moon Books 2018), and her ongoing blog, Enchantment Learning & Living are about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and the life of a kitchen witch. When she is not practicing her own brand of brujeria, she’s reading, teaching, and writing about bodice rippers and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there. Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at www.mariadeblassie.com.
Maria DeBlassie will be awarding a free ecopy of Hungry Business to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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