Review: White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, by Diana Rowland

This is the third in Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series, and it has kept up the brain-munching pace of the earlier books. Things with her kind-of boyfriend are still in the one-shamble-forward, two-shambles-back stage. Her alcoholic dad is struggling to reform. And zombie mafia and evil corporations are still using her as a pawn in their shadow war. Did I just say zombie mafia? Why yes… yes I did.

I really enjoyed this book because I felt that Angel, our eponymous White Trash Zombie, finally came into her own. In the first two tales, she was struggling to find her way between forces that would use her as a pawn, but I think this time she really established herself as a player to be reckoned with. And as always, Rowland hits this one out of the park with excellent writing and a great character voice.

However, I do have a mild complaint that she (and a couple of other folks) were not as wary as I think they should have been. When a dangerous character arrives briefly on the scene, they simply write it off as something to keep an eye out for. Meanwhile, I was screaming at them to load up, hunker down, and call in the cavalry. But apart from that, they were all fairly sharp, especially towards the end when the, um… brains hit the blender.

So, it’s a good installment. The denouement was long enough that I thought perhaps Rowland was wrapping up the series as a trilogy, but according to her FAQ, she has at least three more novels planned for Angel and her zombie friends. Look for the next one sometime in 2014.

Review: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues, by Diana Rowland

This was a fun sequel to My Life as A White Trash Zombie. While the first book didn’t end on an obvious cliffhanger, this one managed to pick up pretty much right away with more drama and spunky zombie attitude.

Our narrator/protagonist, Angel, is finally settling into her new life as a zombie and figures she has some breathing room now that she has dealt with the zombie hunter from the first book. Ha! Think again, because now she’s getting dropped into the larger world of zombies, complete with power plays, mobster politics, and hidden agendas. Allies become enemies. Enemies become allies. And to top it off, she’s getting hassled at work because… if you can believe it… it’s an election year, and someone wants to score points against her boss at her expense.

I had a fun time with this. The character voice is great, and her plight makes life as a zombie less about “Rrrrg” and more about “How dead do I smell today?” While the first one squicked me several times with all-too-vivid descriptions of the taste and texture of a “brain smoothie”, this one avoided such over-the-top sensory paintings. I think my only complaint was one shared by our protagonist, that too many people did not take her seriously when she suspected things were getting weird. Well, at least weirder than being a zombie.

This one does end in a more unresolved state than the first book. I won’t go so far as to call it a cliffhanger, but I will say that my first act upon finishing the book was to look for the next one. Sure enough, it looks like we’re rounding this one out to a trilogy with White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, due out July 2, 2013.

Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie, by Diana Rowland

The title on this one really grabbed me, and I just dove in. It’s a first person account of a young Louisiana woman who wakes up in the hospital after a night of heavy drinking only to discover that she’s now a zombie. Well, she doesn’t realize it right away, but as her new job at the county morgue brings into contact with delicious brains, she starts to figure it out.

She’s not the shambling, mindless kind of zombie. Nope, as long as she gets some brains on a regular basis, she can pass for one of the living. And so she begins her new life, working at the morgue and building up a stash of, er… brain food, but she is also dealing with her old white trash life with a drunk father, and drugged-out shit of a boyfriend, and three more years left on probation for a car she didn’t actually steal in the first place.

But how did she become a zombie in the first place? And what’s going on with all these strange murders in town? And OMG! What happened to my stash of brains?!!

So, it was a fun ride, and I really liked our protagonist. It was also a pretty good mystery, trying to figure out how she became a zombie and how the murders tied into it all. About the only thing I had trouble with was the rather effective descriptions of the taste and texture of human brains. Suffice it to say, I won’t be eating any tapioca soon.

There’s a sequel out, and I may give it a look as well.