"Hell Notes" by M.K. Hobson
"Hell Notes" by M.K. Hobson is a treatise on the dangers of really good Chinese food. Well, no. Rather it's an exposition on the virtues of maintaining a healthy marketing mentality. Scratch that. It's a discourse on the merits of marrying a beautiful chef. Okay, okay. What it is is a humorous tale about a marketing agent who stumbles upon a shoddy, low-end Chinese buffet, the Cheerful Panda, and falls in love with its beautiful cook and her twice-cooked pork. When she is abruptly replaced by a different chef, he is provoked to investigate, heartbroken and despondent at the notion of never tasting her cooking again. Hilarity and horror ensues when he is mistaken for a kuei, a hungry ghost, and is introduced to the reality of fine dining a la the afterlife.
Humor is difficult to write well, but Hobson has a knack for it with her astute descriptions, wry punch line deliveries, and quirky sense of the absurd. She demonstrates a deep and profound grasp of a truism overlooked by many writers: humor and horror make excellent bedfellows. When gore is undercut by laughs and fright by grins, it makes for a delectable recipe, sure to please. "Hell Notes" has good pacing, a novel storyline, and dexterous prose. But most importantly, it's funny.