Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human(Umuzi)
If you’re looking for a light holiday read, this isn’t the book for you.

But, if you’re looking for something slightly offbeat that fuels weird dreams then Charlie Human’s Apocalypse Now Now will do the trick.

As an added bonus by reading this you can finally tick off that hidden item on your reading goals for the year – you know the aim people are loath to admit – read and enjoy more than one South African author’s work.

The opening paragraphs very clearly let you know that Baxter Zevcenko is not your average protagonist.

Then again, when you have someone musing on how you react and think upon finding out that you’re a serial killer, isn’t the average teenager’s thought process – or at least I hope it isn’t the average teenager’s thought process.

The one average thing about Baxter is that at first glance, and admittedly most the first half of the book, he is a jerk. Fortunately for us he does become more of the traditional antihero as the story progresses.

Baxter’s journey into a reasonable, likeable guy starts with the disappearance of his girlfriend, Esmé. Before he starts his quest into tracking her down, he’s just the head of a small school syndicate trying to get the warring gangs of the school to declare a truce as to not put his business in jeopardy.

He refers to most people as either pawns, there for his manipulation, or NPCs [non player characters] who don’t matter; like I said he’s a bit of a jerk.

Esmé’s disappearance has a policemen focusing on Baxter as the reason for it – there’s a serial killer on the loose and the latest victim just happened to have a connection to Baxter.

This leads to Baxter taking some interesting actions, those actions lead him to meeting Ronin, a supernatural hunter.

Not only does Ronin have something to help Baxter deal with his killer headaches, he also introduces Baxter to the supernatural underworld. Our antihero is understandably a bit sceptical about all of this, but then he has his first encounter with an elemental…and things change.

What Human does well is interpose the chapters with various articles and reports. We read some reports on Baxter by his psychologist, and various articles on strange things.

Things including mythical creature porn, a sceptical debunking, a look at a dwarven form of martial arts, and something from a South African historical journal. These articles and reports do a great job of having you go back and forth on is this real or are we going to get one of those it was all a dream  - or in this case a psychosis – resolutions.

Human has a great mix of various mythologies and creatures making-up the supernatural world Baxter finds himself in.

We meet dwarfs, tokoloshe, zombies, osiraii, and one of the more enduring characters a bok-boy, Klipspringer. Klipspringer adds a soft and fluffy edge to the supernatural; something that I found to be just the right touch with all the other hard, scary, ‘monster of the week’ supernatural items in the story.

All in all though this book is a great one, and if Human is ever tempted he did leave himself a great way to bring Baxter back into our lives.

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