Friday, November 8, 2013

Tarbabies, by Allen R. Brady

I just recently finished reading Tarbabies, by Allen R. Brady.  It's an apocalypse told on a local scale.  When the protagonist first hears about them in Manhattan, they're considered more of a nuisance than an actual threat.  But soon after that, they continue to spread outward from the city.  Finally, there's nowhere to go.

What are tarbabies?  Well, we're not entirely sure.  It's not like they're fast, vicious monsters like werewolves or vampires, and they're not really zombies, either.  Just don't let them touch you.  In fact, they've been called different things by different people.  But "tarbabies," named after Brer Fox's scheme to catch Brer Rabbit in the Uncle Reemus tale, seems to be the name that "sticks." 

Here's an excerpt...

"That thing on the porch won't go away. I called the police, but I don't think they're coming. They've got their hands full with the Manhattan quarantine, so they can't waste their time on a nothing little town like Otterkill. That means it's up to me and the neighbors, and there are fewer of us every day. Fewer of us, and more of them. Every person we lose is one more monster to deal with. The Spiller family, the folks from the Retirement Center, even the Mathises' Rottweiler are now stalking the streets, waiting for someone to get too close. A single touch is all it takes. I don't know which of my neighbors became the thing on the porch, and I suppose it doesn't matter. I've got to get out of here, but the Tarbabies are already showing up in Albany, and Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. There's nowhere left to run, and there's no point in hiding. Not when the shadows themselves are after you."
The menace of the tarbabies builds throughout the book, as the creatures start appearing everywhere.  There is a particularly harrowing scene on the Appalachian Trail, when the main character and his wife are pursued by a "thing that was a duck."  If that sounds funny, it's because it is.  But Brady still makes it frightening.
Allen Brady is a local writer here in the Hudson Valley, and I've performed in a couple of shows that he's written or co-written.  Tarbabies is published by Spore Press.  I look forward to more novels from Allen in the future. 
Hopefully in December, I'll be able to give you a little blog about my NaNoWriMo efforts this month.  Until then, keep reading!!!
Alan Andrews

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