.460 Smith & Wesson Magnum

Kill the Dead

I just finished reading Kill the Dead, by Richard Kadrey. I enjoyed the book, but it must go onto the wall of shame. There are several things to call out.

My main beef has to do with his over-the-top selection of the .460 Smith & Wesson Magnum for his protagonist in this book. It’s a very powerful cartridge, and a very big gun. Kadrey wouldn’t be the first author to use a comically excessive firearm in a story (see Dirty Harry, which I should probably write about also).

There’s no doubt that such a gun would be effective. Of course, Kadrey uses all the tropes, including knocking people down and vaporizing heads. However, a gun like that would be very impractical because of its recoil, and the time required to get the gun back on target. One does not rapid fire such a gun. The purpose of this cartridge is for hunting large, dangerous game.

The gun only holds five shots. Kadrey describes a melee with zombies, and the protagonist definitely fired it more than five times, and definitely didn’t stop to reload.

And he wears this gun where? Inside his pants? Like I said, it’s very big, and depending on the model, it weighs somewhere between 3½ and 5 pounds.

Also, the character raids the ammo supply of someone’s panic room, and he finds ammo for this gun. .460 S&W Magnum is fairly uncommon. Right now, there’s probably less than a 50% chance that if you went into a random gun store, they would have ammo for it in stock. No one would have this in their panic room unless they had a .460 S&W Magnum there, and why would they? (The story is set in Los Angeles, where there is no large, dangerous game.)

Kadrey also makes fun of a “little” Sig P232. A P232 is compact, and certainly smaller than an X-frame revolver, but it is certainly not the smallest or least powerful handgun out there, and it’s no joke to be shot by one.

I probably wouldn’t have written a post about all this, except that he also wrote about the smell of cordite.