Review – Styx by Bavo Dhooge

By: Bavo Dhooge
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Shuster/Simon451

I stumbled upon this book at the library and immediately picked it up (mostly because I thought the author had one of the most awesome names I’ve come across) and I’m pretty happy I did. Styx, written by Flemmish author Bavo Dhooge, is a mystery novel with what is probably the most original twist on a zombie story I’ve ever seen.

No, really. Trust me on this. It’s pretty awesome.

Rafael Styx, the main character, has got it tough. His marriage is falling apart. He’s no closer to catching the serial killed dubbed “The Stuffer” than he was when the first sand filled body showed up. Oh, and he’s taking bribes from the local lowlifes. Then, just when he’s got a fresh lead and enough motivation for a fresh start, the unthinkable happens. Styx is murdered. More importantly, he wakes up again. But a little dose of zombie-fication isn’t going to stop Styx from finding the Stuffer, especially when he’s Styx’s murderer.

Styx makes for a good anti-hero with rather original dilemmas – how to walk around town when your flesh is rotting and how to keep your fingers and other extremities from falling off to name a few. However, I found myself drawn more to Delacroix, Styx’s partner. I couldn’t completely empathize with Styx. It wasn’t that he was a zombie. That I was fine with. He was just generally unlikable. He was gruff, mean, and not really in the ‘has a secret heart of gold’ way that you can often find in mysteries and thrillers.

The slip from a detective story into the weird, horror lined novel it became was rather seamless. It felt natural, or as natural as it could be. And then it sort of…stagnated? I’m not sure if that’s the right word. Interesting concepts were touched on. I liked that Styx became part of the other-world. I liked that he could see ghosts, and that time sort of ceases to exist for him. They were great concepts. But I feel like Dhooge could have pushed these concepts, or the serial killer plot, farther than he did.

Even so, I liked this book. It is different than a lot of things around today, and was a good read. The ending closed up loose ends fairly fittingly. If you like mysteries, or are looking for an original spin on a zombie story, give Styx a try.

Read If:
you like mysteries, you like an original spin on a zombie story, you like novels in translation

Don't Read If:
you don’t like anti-heroes, you don’t like police/detective mysteries, you are tired of zombie stories

About author

Kathleen Townsend

Kate writes things, reads things, and writes about things she reads. She’s had a few short stories published, and works as a freelance editor. Favorite genres include epic & high fantasy, science fiction, time travel stories, video game related tales, light novels, and manga.

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