You may know Nick Cato as the co-author of TWO TWISTED NUTS, or the editor of Horror Fiction Review, or the owner of Novello Publications, or the smarter half of the hosting duo of Lair of the Yak. You may not have known that he’s also a novelist. That’s because his first novel hasn’t come out yet. But it will, soon, and it’s called DON OF THE DEAD. 

My chapter-by-chapter but spoiler-free comments are here to help you decide if DON OF THE DEAD is a wise purchase on your part. 

PROLOGUE: Great opening. Can it be that Mr. Cato has topped TWO TWISTED NUTS: A CHAPBOOK OF TESTICULAR TERROR? How is such a thing even possible?

CHAPTER 1: I don’t know what “scungili” means, and I’m scared to look it up. I don’t think “moistfully” is a real word, but its use here is exquisite.

CHAPTER 2: E-mail from Nick: “You’ve never had scungili? Next time you come to NY I’ll take you out for some. Hope you don’t mind spicy sauce.” Despite context clues indicating that this is probably a harmless Italian dish, I’m still scared to look it up. Chapter Two is filled with awesome nicknames, including “The Calimari.” 

CHAPTER 3: Carlo has a very, very odd issue with cigar smoke. And now we’ve got something very sinister involving cursed sauce. I hope it results in zombies.

CHAPTER 4: Uh-oh…somebody’s gonna get whacked…

CHAPTER 5: Okay, you’ve gotta love a chapter titled “Insane Old Men.” If I’d known the book was going to be this entertaining, I wouldn’t have screamed “No! NO! NOOOOOO!!!!” when Nick asked me to read it.

CHAPTER 6: Woo-hoo! Mobster slapstick!

CHAPTER 7: This book seems to be a bit violent. I hope that people who pick up a book called DON OF THE DEAD aren’t offended.

CHAPTER 8: Despite the title of Chapter Five, it’s Chapter Eight that has the insane old man. This chapter also has a truly great line that I’m going to steal, publish quickly, and accuse Nick of plagiarizing. Score!!!

CHAPTER 9: Wow, I really need to change my printer’s toner cartridge–I can barely read this! If this were a bad book, I could say “But it’s actually better this way!” and everybody reading this blog would have a hearty chuckle. Unfortunately, it’s a good book, and so my hilarious comment about it being better when the text is illegible will have to wait for some other time when I’m reading somebody’s book and posting about it chapter-by-chapter and the ink runs dry. 

CHAPTER 10: Ooooooh yeah. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Bring ’em on! 

CHAPTER 11: I’ve never seen a character get killed in quite THAT way before!

CHAPTER 12: An old woman has just spilled half of a cup of tea! How much violence can Nick pack into one book? (Also, this chapter has severed heads.)

CHAPTER 13: I’ve switched to the .pdf. The “section breaks” graphic is cool.

CHAPTER 14: This book sure isn’t stingy with the mobster action! There are gunfights, car chases, and whackings galore. I approve.

CHAPTER 15: Chomp!!! 

CHAPTER 16: This chapter is called “Let’s Make a Meal.” And with that, I can officially offer my endorsement for Nick Cato’s DON OF THE DEAD, coming soon from Coscom Entertainment.

CHAPTER 17: Chaos! Mayhem! Munching!

CHAPTER 18: Best martini olive simile ever.

CHAPTER 19: It is my belief that every author worth following must write at least one cool scene involving a weed whacker (see: MANDIBLES). And thus, Nick comes an author worth following. I salute him.

CHAPTER 20: Halfway through, and still lovin’ it. This book better not crash and burn in its second half, or I will do everything in my power to destroy Nick’s career. It will be OVER! I will RUIN him if he screws this up. You hear that, Cato? Don’t botch it.

CHAPTER 21: Gracious! A shocking revelation!

CHAPTER 22: The situation grows more and more dire!

CHAPTER 23: Bad doggies! Bad doggies! Don’t do that!

CHAPTER 24: I couldn’t help but imagine a musical number early in this chapter. It’s probably for the best that Nick didn’t include one, though. (Hopefully nobody is actually following along with this while they’re reading the book, but if you are, a couple of bonus points if you can explain my reasoning.)

CHAPTER 25: Splattery zombie goodness!

CHAPTER 26: Zombie action, mobster action, and military action. This book has everything!

CHAPTER 27: Boy, did TRANSFORMERS 2 ever suck. Oh, sorry, got distracted. Back to DON OF THE DEAD…

CHAPTER 28: Extreme messiness averted!

CHAPTER 29: This book is way better than TWO TWISTED NUTS. In fact, if you bought TWO TWISTED NUTS thinking it was going to be as good as DON OF THE DEAD, you should immediately demand a refund. TWO TWISTED NUTS sucks compared to this. (Nick’s part, anyway. My part is still a delightful romp.)

CHAPTER 30: When you have “piles of mangled corpses” and “garnish” in the same sentence, you know you’re reading a winner.


CHAPTER 32: The carnage! Oh, the carnage! Nick Cato, have you no respect for human or zombie life???

CHAPTER 33: A good ol’ fashioned mobster interrogation. Gotta love it.

CHAPTER 34: The term “over the top” has been appropriate throughout the book, but particularly right here in Chapter 34. In fact, I’m going to capitalize it as “Over The Top.” Wow, this book is Over The Top. But not the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling movie. 

CHAPTER 35: Zombies are such misunderstood creatures…

CHAPTER 36: We’re hurtling toward what I assume will be a frenzied climax, filled with bloodshed and dining. I think I’ve read enough to offer my final blurb: “Nick Cato is an author to watch!” — Jeff Strand, author of ELROD McBUGLE ON THE LOOSE

CHAPTER 37: Wait, I can do better than that. “DON OF THE DEAD is better than some other books I could name.” — Jeff Strand, author of that one story in BLOOD LITE that you didn’t read because you only bought it for the Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris stories.

CHAPTER 38: Okay, if this book actually goes in the direction that’s implied from a scene in this chapter, I’m going to be filled with giddiness and glee. But he wouldn’t dare…would he?

CHAPTER 39: How much action can one book have? It’s madness! “DON OF THE DEAD is a [good]…book with [good] writing and…I read it [fast].” — Jeff Strand, author of THE SHINING

CHAPTER 40: And the grand finale. It didn’t go in the direction I thought it would from Chapter 38 (see prior comment) which means that =I= get to write that into a book! Hahahahahahaha!!! “DON OF THE DEAD makes DARK JESTERS look like THE HORROR FICTION REVIEW!” — Jeff Strand, author of DORKY McSNORKLE HOOKS A BAD FISH

EPILOGUE: The end. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but you’d have to be a complete FOOL not to order a copy of this book. A fool! A common, unwashed fool! It’s a mobster zombie novel—what else do you need? For more information, check out:

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