Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eat Your Heart Out by Dayna Ingram

Book:  Eat Your Heart Out
Author:  Dayna Ingram
Publisher:  BrazenHead

Earlier this week, I was looking at my blog schedule for the next several months, and saw a fresh and frisky list of contemporary romances lined up like quarters on the pool table in the back room of the Liquor Barn.  It occurred to me that, perhaps, I needed to consider throwing a little more variety into the schedule so that I can continue to serve the varied wants and needs of the lesbian reading community.

It also occurred to me that I need to buy dog biscuits, change my sheets, and call my mother, but my twitchy little dyke priorities prevailed.

Lesbian literature comes in all shapes and sizes.  With a wee bit of effort, any reader can find a long list of genres that meet her reading proclivities.  There’s romance, mystery, adventure, drama, poetry, paranormal, and erotica—just to name a few. 

If you get really picky, you can even ferret out a few esoteric subgenres, such as erotic poetry that involves blood sucking, big busted, space pirate floozies, loosely based on Marlowe’s The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus.

SpecFic isn’t easy to define, mostly because it’s an umbrella term for the more fantastical fiction genres, which include science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian/dystopian fiction, apocalyptic/ post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate time history.

If you follow The Rainbow Reader, you’ll notice that I haven’t really covered much speculative fiction in my reviews—mostly because zombies totally freak me out, but also because authors and publishers haven’t poked me in the belly and said, “Hey! Lady! Read this!”

I know that a fairly significant number of Lesfic readers don’t “get” speculative fiction, and avoid it like dental dams in favor of more traditional romances and mysteries.  Still, I suspect it would surprise most readers to learn that works by Euripides, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Heinlein, and Bellamy are all considered well within the SpecFic genre.  In addition, LGBT themes and characters have flourished within SpecFic, even before it was considered cool, edgy, or politically correct.

How else would you describe the angsty relationship between Gollum and Precious?

In Dayna Ingram’s debut novella, Eat Your Heart Out, Devin’s daily routine as a low-level manager-in-training at a furniture outlet store in Nowhere, Ohio, is wildly disrupted when a real-life zombie eats a star struck, Firebird-driving, tweed-coated octogenarian on the doorstep of the store.  Before Devin and smokin’ hot, badass, zombie killing, B-movie actress Renni Ramirez, who just happens to be couch shopping, can make a move, the zombie invasion begins, and friends and neighbors become tasty morsels for the throbbing throng of slick, suck-swallowing zombies that are invading the city center.

Over the course of the next twenty four hours, Devin and Renni fight zombies, share clothes, eat minibar munchies, have desperation sex as a hoard of zombies close in on them, briefly join Nick Fury and his rogue band of government generated zombie killing genetic mutants, discover the existence of delirious psychosomatic undead, and are saved by the gum popping Cherry, the foul-mouthed Brad, and the cheating ex-stripper girlfriend-cum-gun-wielding warrior, Carmelle Soufflé. 

Original Movie Poster
Eat Your Heart Out is a 146-page orgy of heart pounding, rip-roaring, sidesplitting, sex saturated, action-packed goodness wrapped around a gooey zombie center.  The characters are rich and filling, and the dialogue is sharp and clever.  This novella proudly displays each and every one of the over-used conventions and eye-rolling effects that make cult films like Evil Dead and Night of the Living Dead so bad they’re good.

And I’m talking about stumbling, shuffling, lurching, crawling, lip-smacking zombies, rotting flesh, bone saws, government virii, sex at the most inopportune time, and tater tot breath.

The story, which is carefully constructed in the first person present-tense narrative, contains moments of sharp humor, keen insight, fresh descriptions, frisky flirting, and true grit.  The zombies are crafted of viscous gore and grisly, ghoulish appetites. Devin is self-effacing, smart and quaintly quirky, and Renni is a badass zombie killer in real life. 

Dayna Ingram is an author to watch out for in the future, and Eat Your Heart Out is an instant classic: the lesbian equivalent of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, only with Naked Twister and a preponderance of truck balls.  Even if you’re not a fan of SpecFic or zombies, this book should not be missed.  It’s a quick read, full of humor, action, and crisp flirtations, and I’m giving it a 5.0 out of 6 on the Rainbow Scale.

I want more, even if it means I have to sleep with the lights on.


  1. I am not sure I'd like it - but then the genre has never inspired me - yet I suppose I could have a look at the Kindle sample and see what I think. Thanks for making it attractive despite my original reluctance.

  2. Hi Hannah, thanks for stopping in to drop a note. While it isn't true for most zombie books, "Eat Your Heart Out" is a fun feast full of twists, turns, and tasty surprises. Not many books featuring hungry undead can make you laugh out loud, but this one gets you coming and going.

  3. My Gods, Salem - I think you could make the Elko, Nevada phone book interesting! You're the sit-down comedienne of book reviewing! Best as always - yr friend in the Yellow Pages

  4. What a coincidence! I just finished Eat Your Heart Out yesterday, and I loved it!

  5. I would have to agree that Salem does turn a word quite nicely. I have snorted coffee through my nose reading a few of her 'bon mots". However, I've been to Elko overnight and that phone book is not even remotely interesting even in the yellow pages section. haha That being said and knowing that folks will turn into zombies from all the high fructose corn syrup, I might have to give this a read, even if I have to read through my fingers with one eye open. Thanks again, Salem.

  6. Hiya Ladies! Thanks for stopping by to discuss small businesses in Elko, and this lovely little undead book - I still find myself chorteling over it. That's a true sign of an unexpected keeper.