My Life as a White Trash Zombie
After waking up in a hospital ward as a zombie, Angel Crawford of Tucker Parish, Louisiana finds herself working in a morgue, which is handy because she has to eat brains or die. She doesn’t understand at first how she got this job there’s no way she’s qualified for, but as she learns how to steal and eat the brains she needs she discovers a large, hidden-in-plain-sight world and her place in it.
The premise sounds pretty hokey, but from the first page you’ll see that author Diana Rowland knows how to write funny. Angel is, no joke, a total loser. A pill-popping, sleeping around, welfare junkie loser. Part of the humor is watching Angel try to be a good citizen for once in her life without having the slightest idea how, and with no experience. At the same time, she has to learn how to steal brains without getting caught, which is more difficult than you might imagine. There’s also the whole secret society, evil corporation stuff to learn.
The book is a little thin, word-wise, but Rowland packs a lot into the first book of a series. There are five of them so far, and they all have a great title. So far I’ve read the first four, and as with most series they tend to get a little weaker as they go along. Typically, this is because an author starts with a great concept and gets you used to a character and their setting, then change everything every time the character comes back. The essence that you liked in the beginning becomes unrecognizable, watered down and changed. Rowland doesn’t totally lose sight of Angel’s character, but as she engages in the world out of the gutter, the funny loser becomes a zombie hero with rough edges. The books are still fun, but there’s a slight decrease every time.
Book two has Angel falling for the wrong dead guy, because don’t the heroines in these novels always fall for exactly the wrong guy? Somehow this always works out, despite the drama and angst of two ill-suited sweeties sparring over affections while surviving the increasingly dangerous world. Book three takes a darker turn when fake zombies show up and the big world baddies descend on the town. This is where the humor to darkness quotient begins to swing into the black a bit. It’s till funny, but things are a lot more serious than before. Book four has Angel moving beyond her small town into the larger world and taking a larger role in the goings on.
Book five has a more jet-setting-zombie Angel than we’ve seen in the previous books, and I haven’t read that one yet but I probably will because I like her character and the author is fun and knows how to write an action sequence.
White Trash Zombie is a fun series that I recommend if you like your zombies funny, sentient, and conflicted about eating brains and being forced into a normal working life. Diana Rowland is a good writer who had the unfortunate experience of having her idea stolen by someone who made a mint off a tv series. Still, it’s no small thing to write a solid series of books, so give this one a try some time.