Zoombies by Karl Larew
Publisher: Karl Larew (2013)
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Another madcap adventure of the Good Vampires—especially the hilarious special agents of the New York Good Vampire Association—battling the mean old Bad Vampires to save the world from mayhem comes to us from university history professor and author of wacky spoofs, Karl Larew. Good Vampire-loving readers you know who you are! Prepare for a spookin’ and spoofing good time with this one. To newbies, join the party. You’ll have a rollicking good time. Larew has come through again with a fun read for adults who’ll surely appreciate this mash-up between James Bond, Inspector Clouseau, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

This third volume in the Good Vampire Trilogy commences, not surprisingly, with Lance and Carol snug in bed. Lance pats Carol’s bare bottom before using his spring-powered lancet to make two neat little holes in one nicely rounded cheek and begins to suck her blood. The humanly handsome Good Vampire Lance Blodgett, now married to totally human Carol, leaves no bruises, causes his beloved partner little if any pain, and takes care not to be greedy. After all, Carol must produce more blood for her own needs now that she is pregnant. However, Lance (a professor of vampire lore at a university in New York City) has been away at an academic convention and requires at least a few sucks to appease the vampire’s metabolic need for a ‘nip’ of human blood now and then.

Once satisfied, he applies a Band-Aid to Carol’s rear-end, and the loving couple turns toward each other with a passionate kiss. But no sooner has their love-making begun when the door buzzer sounds. Punching the intercom button, Lance learns that Nigel and Becky, their friends and New York Good Vampire Association special agent partners, have urgent news. As Lance lets them in the apartment, he can see the excitement in their lustrous, dark Nigerian faces—especially the pregnant Becky’s. (Yes, these newlyweds are expecting also!) Nonetheless, Lance and Carol can’t help but grumble about the exquisite timing of their friends’ unexpected arrival.

“Sorry, Old Boy,” Nigel apologizes and snickers a bit. But, he explains, they’ve got to burn rubber and get to Headquarters. Their leader, Mr. Granville, needs them NOW. As they leave the building, they discover the legendary Arnold Robertson, Ace Special Agent of all Good Vampire branches in Europe, crumpled up on the floor by the mailboxes in the foyer. Robertson is barely able to mumble a message for Mr. Granville—“pyramid in Egypt-Nubia area…secret of mummies…chemicals for zombies…find pluh, an, et, X”—before dying. The NYC agents call a Good Vampire ambulance to come for Robertson’s body before heading out.

Arleigh Granville’s Good Vampire hit men, Gladdy and Dizzy, admit the four special agents to the mansion, and they are soon closeted with their leader. Mr. Granville is saddened by Robertson’s death but realizes that it must be related to a new Bad Vampire plot in Europe and, apparently, Egypt, to overcome the Good Vampires and conquer the world. Noticing Carol’s and Becky’s ‘baby bumps’, he wonders if they’re up to accompanying their husbands to Europe to quell the plot (of course they are!), and proceeds to tell them that his wife Inge (a reformed Bad Vampire) is expecting also. Then Gladdy and Dizzy exclaim that their new wives (also reformed Bad Vampires), twins Delivah and Helovah, are suffering morning sickness. The group soon discovers that all five babies are due in October (just possibly on the 9-month anniversary of a super party celebrating the last victory of the Good Vampires over the Bad ones?). Then Lance, rubbing his chin, breaks the happy spell with the thought that perhaps Robertson was trying to say “Planet X” (wherever that is!).

After a visit to the Good Vampire Laboratory of Doctor Lester Griswold—who presents them with his latest James Bond-like secret weapons: a pen enclosing a long poison-tipped ‘toothpick’ that can pierce mummy bindings; a pistol that shoots a hardening goo that can stop and stick a mummy or a zombie in its tracks; and another pen that is actually a laser gun, whose light makes these critters turn away in pain and might also set them on fire—the four special agents are soon flying across the Atlantic on their way to Paris. Annette in Paris (a Good Vampire) has reported that the Son of Elmer (a very bad vampire) is vowing revenge on all Good Vampires.

With this news, the special agents’ task is spelled out. Although they team up with Annette and the Paris branch, the agents share a sneaking suspicion that the European group has perhaps been infiltrated by Bad Vampires. (It has happened before!) So, they decide to head to Egypt alone, where they team up with Mr. Granville’s contact, Professor Anwar Jones of the Egyptological Institute. They learn that the fiendish Son of Elmer has discovered a chemical formula that can turn mummies into zombies, who will be sent out to eliminate not only Good Vampires but also many good humans. Their bodies (even un-mummified) will be transformed by the chemical formula into more zombies, who will join the other zombies and the Bad Vampires in their maniacal plan to conquer the innocent human world—unless, that is, our special agents cunningly devise a way to stop them!

As seasoned readers of Volumes I and II can guess, and newbies will soon discover, the two special agent couples and the professor make their way from one sticky adventure to another by every means of transport imaginable (even roller skates?)—cleverly skirting danger and generally dispatching their enemies with the aid of Dr. Griswold’s ingenious arsenal of James Bondish devices. Exploring a pyramid, they run into both mummies and zombies. The dummy mummies and lumbering zombies aren’t too hard to escape from until they meet up with a zombie on roller skates—he’s soon zooming right on their tails. By golly, he’s a ‘zoombie’!

Cunningly escaping from the Egyptian zoombies, they head back to France—Alsace and Reims, then to the Rhineland in search of the Son of Elmer (aka “Ralphie”), back to the Paris branch (YES, there HAS been a Bad Vampire infiltration), and once more to Egypt—always remaining a RAT-A-TAT-TAT ahead of the zoombies, not to mention Ralphie and his henchmen.

Don’t bite your fingernails too short reading all about that, because you’ll soon follow our agents to Nashville, TN. Why? A new venue for zombie business, that’s why, this time involving Vampire Cows, and Ralphie, of course. “Who writes this stuff?” (a voice out of nowhere asks). Enough!

Remember all those babies due in October? Well, all five mothers-to-be go on maternity leave at a bucolic boondocks mansion in upstate NY, under the care of Dr. Griswold. Needless to say, the boondocks don’t remain bucolic, but you can read all about that, then join our agents in the maternity ward, and, finally, learn why this wild tale ends with a single, innocent-sounding word…breadsticks?