This decidedly weird novel is narrated by a smart domesticated crow named S.T. (short for Shit Turd) who has been lovingly raised alongside a not-so-smart bloodhound named Dennis. Their master, a guy they call Big Jim, was clearly not the finest specimen of humanity, though both crow and dog are so adoring that they never seem to realize this. S.T. unironically refers to humans (the ones he likes, anyway) as MoFos, and believes that junk food is the holiest of mankind’s many achievements. The story begins when Big Jim succumbs, along with the rest of the MoFos in Seattle, to something very like a Zombie Apocalypse.
S.T. is a hilarious storyteller, spouting a combination of comic expletives, almost-childlike misunderstandings and, oddly, actual wisdom. The first chapters are pretty liberally salted with four-letter words, sophomoric potty humor, and disdain for almost everything. But S.T. must tone down his obnoxiousness in order to coax Dennis to leave Big Jim’s house in search of help. Eventually S.T. forms a family (or, rather, a murder—he is a crow, after all) with Dennis. The two undertake an increasingly complex and outrageous series of missions as S.T. realizes that no help is coming from the humans, and the animal kingdom is on its own.
As the story progresses, S.T.’s cocky voice is overtaken by a different voice, obviously that of the author. Since I am not a particular fan of horror, I appreciated having the gory decline of humanity described by the snarky, detached voice of the crow, who is in love with all the wrong things about civilization. But author Kira Jane Buxton is in love with nature in its all its glory. To her, even the dangers are wonderful. As Seattle becomes a wilderness populated by rescued pets and freed zoo animals, the narrative switches toward Buxton’s own lush, gorgeous prose. The zombification of mankind has never been more vibrant, ecologically sound, or sadly appropriate.