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All the Tommys in the World by Javier Gombinsky #BookReview

For horror Youtubers Lilith and Nate, zombie movies are escapist fantasies. So when a real zombie uprising in the streets of New Southport is quickly thwarted, they know those familiar-looking ghouls are hiding something. They should know. Born with a weak heart in the funeral town of Leatelranch, built around the largest cemetery in the world, Lilith’s parents raised her with zombie stories to keep her from learning the truth about what happens inside the cemetery walls. As for Nathan, the caretaker’s son… he has his reasons to be so cowardly. So when they get outsmarted by seemingly droning ghouls and are forced to split up, the uncanny coincidences are undeniable. And as things start to look more and more like Lilith’s apocalyptic visions, and as a darker threat lurks, it’ll be up to them to piece the puzzle before everyone they love faces a fate worse than becoming a zombie.

Can they be stopped? Are they just playing dead? Do they have a plan?

They know something we don’t. And whatever it is, they hate us for it.

Book cover for All the Tommys in the World by Javier Gombinsky

Title: All the Tommys in the World | Author: Javier Gombinsky | Publisher: Pigfarm Press | Pub. Date August 17, 2021 | Pages: 554 | ISBN13/ASIN: B094767STG | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Source: NetGalley | Unstarred Review

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All the Tommys in the World Review

Javier Gombinsky wrote, at the end of this work in a section titled “About the Author”, that “Since then, he’s been consuming all things horror and zombies, and keeping a list in the back of his mind about all the things he wanted to happen, but didn’t.  This list ultimately became All the Tommys in the World”. He is well and truly in touch with his work.

There are many problems with Tommys. Let me list just a few.  The zombies all share a sort of hive mind and give creepy knowing smiles from time to time.  The big question, set up by the book’s blurb above, is what do they know?  What do they want? What is their plan?  While there clearly are answers intended for those questions they are never revealed to the reader.

The zombies know the future – until they don’t!  That’s a tension point, why do they believe they know the future and why has this ability suddenly failed them?  While there clearly are answers intended for those questions they are never revealed to the reader.

Early on the story splits into two parallel threads, one following Lilith and the other Nathan.  After a long sequence of zombie scenes and adventures Nathan has taken up care of a group of children and they think they have found a safe place.  They fall asleep and wake up eight years later. With green blood but totally alive and not zombies.  Why? I don’t know. No effort is ever made to explain either of these facts.  I literally could go on with a dozen other examples of plot lines that just get dropped for no explicable reason. While there clearly are answers intended for those questions they are never revealed to the reader.

There are other smaller issues that raised my hackles but would have been more palatable if there was a plot that held together.  Lilith is in the back seat of a car and attacks a zombie in a way that is physically impossible, she would have to have been in the front seat, and she definitely was not. We get a description of her grandmother’s eyes and their movements and are told that her eyes are closed.  How does that work? One very interesting character has an eye patch and moves it from eye to eye based on what he needs to see, but we never find out why.

In the end, we come back to the author’s story notes that he collected over the years.  There are a number of specific scenes and ideas that are interesting, any one or two could have been a sound foundation for a story.  The fundamental flaw in the work is that it never rises above a collection of disjointed scenes or concepts to become any sort of unified work. The ideas don’t hold together and too many of them are never resolved.  There is no solid foundation but rather a series of separate bricks to walk on. It’s a shame really.

You can purchase a copy of this book via your normal retailer, but please consider purchasing it from a local indie bookshop instead.


child death, suicide

Published inHorror Book ReviewsUncategorizedUnstarred Reviews

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