This series, if you can find it in a store, typically gets shelved under “Horror”, but I don’t know. I found out about the first book while trying to watch all of the movies directed by Don Coscarelli. He mostly directs horror movies like Phantasm and Bubba Ho Tep, so I guess that makes the book that the horror movie was based on a horror book. There is plenty of horror in it, but it’s also very funny because there is plenty of humor in it, but it’s not a comedy because there is a good solid serious story under those other layers.
The thing about these books is that each one is better than the last. The horror is more involved. The humor is more pervasive and integrated. The story and the development of the characters is stronger, more personal, and more positive (no, really).
Interspersed with all the bloodshed and explosions, with all the running gags and one-liners, there is some intricate plotting and utterly awesome prose. I read some passages out loud to Sharon because I was just stunned by some of the wonderful things Pargin writes for his characters.
You don’ have to read all the books in order to appreciate any one of them. If you don’t think you have the patience to “get all caught up”, I say don’t bother. Jump straight to this last one even though it will spoil the shock that John doesn’t die at the end of the first one. It’s definitely the best of the series so far.