*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Most of the zombies I read about are the mindless, infected, and/or shambling kind. But I much prefer my non-human creatures to be main characters in books rather than monsters to be killed, so having a zombie protagonist this time made me all excited, and for good reason because this was such a unique, creative take on the creatures!
See, in this version, they’re still fully functioning, but they have to drink alcohol to stay “alive” because it pickles the brain, and, if rigor mortis starts to set in, they have to electroshock their bodies back into action. But since they’re dead, any injuries they get don’t actually heal, so, for example, our protag Braineater Jones here has to remove maggots from his bullet holes each morning, and all the zombies have their own little tips and tricks in order to keep their bodies looking and functioning as alive as possible. Also, their body parts stay alive even when removed, which leads to some extremely interesting scenarios, like Jones having a severed head as a partner in his detective business and a brothel where the men get to choose a head, a torso, and legs separately to form one woman. So what I’m saying is, I absolutely loved the creativity of the zombies and their whole little zombie society. The author really had fun with all the oddities and mishaps that would come with being a walking, talking corpse.
The writing was also great in that Braineater Jones had a fantastic voice. I’m no expert on the lingo and culture of the 1930s, but it felt pretty right. It was definitely not just a character from the present plopped into a 1930s setting. The way Jones talked, his thoughts, the slang he used—it really added a lot to the book.
The book was also funny in this sarcastic, bizarre, sometimes twisted, sometimes disgusting (literally, because their bodies were rotting corpses) kind of way. It’s not for the faint of heart or the easily offended, but the absurdity of some of the situations combined with Jones’s commentary made for a highly entertaining read.
There was also the crime noir/mystery aspect of Jones trying to solve his own murder case, but honestly, I’m not a big crime mystery person. I just liked the book for the fun zombie-ness.
So overall, it was a fantastically strange and unique zombie book that was so much fun to read!
Anyone who likes humor that's not for the faint of heart and who wants a creative, fun take on zombies that's urban fantasy-esque rather than apocalyptic.
Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.
But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.
As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.
Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.