Christine is an award-winning author and journalist from Wisconsin. She loves writing odd little stories with a touch of the macabre. I’m currently reading her book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and loving it.
When I mention zombies to some people, they cringe and complain about the blood and gore. They’re grossed out.
Maybe they don’t watch The Walking Dead or are a crime TV fan instead, which has its own share of blood and death, albeit in a different format. But in either instance, it’s a depiction of something we fear—crime, death, danger—that draws us in. It’s watching or reading about what seems impossible or often unbelievable.
Real life, of course, can be more frightening than anything an author can create. That’s what makes actual killers scarier than any monster with fins, scales, fur, a non-beating heart, or other elements. You can’t imagine what leads someone to cross the line to the “forbidden” and kill their own family, or attack a stranger, or do even worse things.
Maybe that’s what made writing my recently released book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, so interesting and challenging. In reality, it’s almost hard to accept that Lizzie—a seemingly “normal” Victorian woman, Sunday School teacher, daughter of a wealthy businessman—could so viciously attack and kill her elderly father and stepmother. At least that’s what the jury probably thought, declaring her not guilty of the crime in June, 1893.
But was she?
That’s what we have trouble with, and what makes human killers so scary: they don’t have four eyes, or scales, or whatever. They can look perfectly normal, like your neighbor; like the girl or guy next door. And even more frightening? You can’t see what’s going on inside their heads.
In my case, writing about an accused killer had to come with a reason as to why she did it. And what more plausible reason could there be for viciously striking them in the head, especially once you look at the actual autopsy photos, than to say she committed the crime since her family members had turned into zombies?
It doesn’t mean the crime should be taken less seriously, of course. It was a terrible crime made even more horrific if she was indeed guilty and got away with it. But as this year marks the 125th anniversary of the murders, it’s far enough in the past to make it more of a historic event.
Sadly, history is full of real-life monsters, from Genghis Khan to 1920s mobsters, Manson, and those who kill out of hate, for so-called “honor” or other nonsensical reasons. The list is endless. The human race is drenched in blood. Maybe it’s true that it seems worse the older you get.
And that’s the scariest part of all: fictional monsters can be vanquished, but the human soul has a darkness that often can’t be cleansed.
About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter:
Every family has its secrets…
One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become… zombies?
Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.
WIN A ZOMBIE MUG: For those of you in the U.S. and Canada, leave a comment on any of the blog posts for the event or LIKE my Facebook page and you’re entered to win one of three of these zombie mugs. I’ll draw a new name all three days of the convention. Winners will be announced in the right column.