Sunday, April 1, 2012

In Brightest Day, by Toni L.P. Kelner

"In Brightest Day" by Toni L.P. Kelner, in Home Improvement: Undead Edition, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner.  Ace.  2011.

Now that the voting for the Derringer Awards are over I can report that my favorite nominee, among those I didn't read last year, was this novella by an author I have long admired, Toni Kelner.  Apparently this whole book is full of "surreal estate," horror stories related to do-it-yourself.  (This makes good sense.  All of my attempts at home repair have turned into horror stories.)

“Rebound Resurrections,” I said in my best business voice. “How can I help you?”
“Dodie? It’s Shelia Hopkins. Gottfried is dead.”
“Well, yeah.” He’d been dead for a couple of weeks.
“I mean he’s dead again.”

The best fantasy and science fiction tales create a world with its own rules and logic and that's what we have here.  Dodie  Kilburn is a hougan in a reality in which these zombie-creators have their own professional organization and code of ethics.  It turns out you can only bring someone back from the dead if the deceased was obsesses about an uncompleted task.  In the case of Gottfried he wanted to finish retrofitting a house, so that's all well and good.  But someone doesn't want the house finished and is willing to keep killing Gottfried over and over to get his way...

An added treat here is Dodie's conflict with the hougan guild which disapproves of her methods.  Fun story.

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