Stealing Propeller Hats from the Dead
Stealing Propeller Hats from the Dead is a collection of ten zombie novellas. Eight of the ten stories have been previously published. For examples, “Zee Bee & Bee,” which is also known as “Propeller Hats for the Dead,” can be found in Deadcore: 4 Hardcore Zombie Novellas and “Do the Münster Mash” and “Doppelgänger Radar” are in an earlier Keaton publication—Fish Bites Cop! Stories to Bash Authorities. Keaton’s tales turn morbidity into normalcy in his latest compilation.
Whether set within a “normal” daily zombie lifestyle or at an apocalyptic moment, David James Keaton’s storytelling is well-balanced mix of downright creepiness and dark humor. With the exception of “The World’s Second Shortest Zombie Story” (which is a whopping three sentences long), Keaton’s plots are replete with colorfully defined casts, unexpected twists, and surprise endings. While periodically including stories with random quotes, Keaton makes sure each story opens with an aptly designed goth illustration by Luke-Spooner. The mostly third-person stories may vary one from the other, yet there are reoccurring themes that tie them all together, such as references to previous plots, Pittsburgh (zombie center), doppelgangers, dogs, and zombie movies, to name a few. Although the majority of Keaton’s tales are short, “Zee Bee & Bee” (in its fully unedited version) is the largest of the novellas and the only one penned in first person. Narrated by none other than a Truck Zombie, he comes up with an idea to offer a honeymooners-zombie attack game at a B & B, which doesn’t go quite as planned.
In “Greenhorns,” it’s all about Jake and his morbid adventures being on a Crab Masters reality show. ” . . . And I’ll Scratch Yours” (a reference to a Peter Gabriel album) is an interesting story about Flora and her unique Helping Hands massager. A creepy blind man, a dog, and a new meaning to Peter Gabriel’s “Intruder” lyrics can be found in “Do the Munster Mash.” “What’s Worse” is definitely by far the creepiest, which features Jason, “the boy who drove around with a dead baby, telling it dead baby jokes.” Ralph meets his destiny via a ball pit and the Brazilian Wandering Spider in “The Ball Pit.”
Paramedics, who are madly taking care of victims supposedly bitten by dogs, learn the real truth in “The Doppelganger Radar.” In “Three Days Without Water,” the few remaining men in the town of Agua Fria make a futile attempt to outdo the zombies. Lastly, “Send More Paramedics” includes 2 different zombie-drinking games, The Living and The Dead, to be played while watching your favorite zombie movies. Each game has a list of bulleted movie characteristics. The point of the games is to drink each time a characteristic is identified. There is a third game, The Undead, which is a combination of both games and, in jest, not recommended by Keaton. Amusing and entertaining, Stealing Propeller Hats from the Dead is a perfect read for zombie enthusiasts.
David James Keaton
Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing