Zombies for Jesus

Johnny Townsend. BookLocker (www.booklocker.com), $16.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-60910-100-8
Eerie, erotic, and magical, this book of loosely connected stories delves deep inside the consciousness of American Mormons. Set mostly in the South, Townsend's tales feature Mormons with a lot on their minds: environmental collapse, church politics, racism, and homophobia. But mostly they think about transgressing the church's restrictions on sexuality. "She felt guilty for sinning," Townsend (himself a Mormon) writes of one character, "but there was something exciting about it, too." Some of the stories' plots wander into the supernatural—a girl is visited by the ghost of religious leader Joseph Smith's wife, a woman's breasts come alive after her silicon implants interact with electricity—but Townsend keeps his stories grounded despite the fantastic elements, allowing him to reveal what it means to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Reviewed on: 10/17/2011
Release date: 01/01/2010
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