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Literature / Paradise Rot

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"A separate ethical distinction can be made between killing a human for food (homicidal cannibalism) and eating the flesh of a person who was already dead (nacre-cannibalism)."
— From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."

"I'm gonna need to puke."
Kyle Brightman

Paradise Rot is a novel by Larry Weiner, published in 2014 as the first in the Island Trilogy.

Due to a litany of causes, advertising man Kyle Brightman snaps mentally when a pair of elderly women block the supermarket aisle and starts attacking them, complete with egg throwing, mace, and tasers. This causes him to be sent to the St. Eligius Pych Ward, 5th Floor, where he meets the Rambo-esque Oscar Pilson. During his recovery, Kyle is given the advice to take a job in the Caribbean, specifically the Island of St. Agrippina, which is in much need of an ad man.

When he is released, he takes the job and journeys to the Island, where he meets his partner and copywriter, Cate Hendrickson, during the recovery from the booze filled flight over. The next day he discovers that he and Cate basically have carte blanche on how to design the island's advertising campaign. And also that ninety percent of the other hotel staff are zombies. And that there's a crazy survivalist woman out there killing them. And that the whole hotel is a literal tourist trap. After that, things get a little hairy...

Followed by Once Again With Blood.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Jackson Farraday is just so nice about biting people's throats out.
  • Arms Dealer: Oscar gets into this after he's released from the hospital.
  • Attractive Zombie: Cate Hendrickson.
  • The Bartender
    • Thierry Delasix runs a "Tavairn" out in the jungle that Kyle keeps running into.
    • Desmond might actually fit a bit better into this trope, as he runs a place with drinks and dispenses wisdom to the hero at an opportune time. The fact that it's an espresso cart has nothing to do with it.
  • Battle Butler: Kampo the manservant. He's the most physically imposing of the zombies and manhandles Kyle a few times.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Desmond is a very polite, small, and outspokenly gay zombie that turns out to be just as good at this Rambo stuff as Oscar.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: Swerves between this and horror at the zombies eating people.
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: All of the zombies have these installed, enough that it's a key indicator as to who's really a zombie. It even gets them nicknamed "Pearly Whites."
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Kampo, Jackson's seven foot six Caribbean manservant fits the bill. Subverted as he's more of personal assistant, although he still gets his hands dirty.
  • Fiery Redhead: Cate is sarcastic as they come and also just about as Irish as it's possible to be.
  • Funetik Aksent: Thierry Delasix, by way of the French Caribbean.
  • Gambit Pileup: Jackson Farriday's plan to run St. Agrippina's as the Zombie Land Grab and Buffet is put off track by the Woman's and the Dog's continual assassinations of his higher ranking employees. Then Kyle and Cate Join in on it and eventually run into Dory, who has been fermenting a rebellion with the more stupid zombies. Things get worse from there.
  • Mood-Swinger: Kyle has Bipolar II, which is usually represented as this.
  • No Name Given: Intentional on the part of the Woman and the Dog.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Of the 'sentient as long as they eat brains' variety.
  • The Renfield: Kampo May have been one once, but now he's simply Jackson's zombie manservant.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Oscar has been in so many wars and conflicts, as both a soldier and later a mercenary, that he can't seem to stop getting into even more.
  • Shout-Out: So, so many!
    • Apocalypse Now: "Saigon. I'm still in Saigon." is said multiple times throughout the book.
    • Law & Order: Kyle loves all of the series', but likes SVU better because its crimes are more titillating.
    • Pulp Fiction: "This is some fucked up, repugnant shit," Kyle said, quoting "Pulp Fiction" as he watched Thierry pull the skin off of a dead goat.
    • The Wizard of Oz: "Where am I?" "Your choices are, Kansaaaz? Heaven? Or Thierry Delasix's tavairn?"
  • Slipping a Mickey: Thierry does this to Kyle when he starts being too loud about the zombies in his Tavern. Results in Instant Sedation.
  • The Starscream: Dory Parthenia starts the whole shebang with a plan to get rid of Jackson.
  • Talking Animal: The Dog becomes one after he gets bitten by a zombie.