Genre: Historical fantasy? Alternate history? One of those.
With the popularity of stuff like 28 Days Later, Zombieland, and AMC’s The Walking Dead, it’s no surprise that zombie fiction is also gaining more exposure. The Flesh Market runs in a similar vein, but it’s a totally different story.
Based on the real-life Irish murderers Burke & Hare, who went on a killing spree in Edinburgh, Scotland, The Flesh Market revolves around a cast of characters including the aforementioned men, their wives, an anatomist at the local University, and one of the students involved in studying anatomy. Though there are multiple viewpoints, they all seem integral in telling the story of the 1827 Cadaver Riots and what transpired a year later in the wake of the dead rising to feed on the living.
What sets this book apart from other takes on the subject is its scientific approach to zombies and what their existence means for humanity. Dr. Knox, the anatomist, becomes obsessed with discovering the cause of these revenants and how to stop them. He takes cadavers from a man called Merry Andrew, but soon after, Burke & Hare become his primary source of fresh revenants for his work. The story plays with a bit of the light and dark of studies in anatomy at a point when cadaver research was looked down upon by most of the population.
The Flesh Market is a smart approach to a world inundated with sweaty, dirty people running from the apocalypse (looking at you, TWD). Rather than the world falling apart when the dead start to rise, the scientific community takes an opportunity to study the creatures and discover their working parts. If you’re looking for a change of pace in your zombie lit, this one’s for you.
Available at Amazon.
Richard Wright is an author of strange, dark fictions, currently living in India with his wife and daughter. Over a decade and a half, his short stories have appeared widely in the US and UK press, most recently in diverse anthologies such as Storyteller – A Found Book, and More Tales From The City. He is the author of the novels Cuckoo, Thy Fearful Symmetry, and Craven Place, and the novella Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow.