Saturday, February 2, 2013

INDIE BOOK REVIEW: ‘Dead, but Not For Long’ brings dystopian zombies to Michigan


I love zombies.

I love good zombie fare, like ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Dawn of the Dead.’

I like bad zombie fare, like ‘Resident Evil’ and that disastrous ‘Night of the Living Dead’ remake.

Most of all, though, I like zombie fiction.

The problem is, though, finding good zombie fiction is always troublesome.

For every ‘World War Z,’ there’s also some lame rip-off that is all about crunching and munching and forgets to tell a compelling story. On the flip side, sometimes you have the opposite problem, when authors take their story too seriously and forget there should be some fun involved in a zombie book.

You don’t have to worry about that with ‘Dead, but Not For Long,’ written by Matthew Kinney and Lesa Kinney Anders. It is a wonderful blend of funny and smart.

First off, the story is set in Lansing. So any Michigan resident is obviously going to have their interest piqued by that fact alone.

The setting isn’t the only thing to like about ‘Dead, but Not For Long,’ though.

The characters are richly drawn. You have heroes, you have a smart aleck kid that is tougher than she looks, you have a Christian biker gang – and a handful of doctors whose motives might not be as altruistic as they pretend.

Then you have Eric Wapowski. I have not met a character in a zombie story that I find as funny as Eric Wapowski since Shawn in ‘Shawn of the Dead.’

Eric Wapowski is a narcissistic slug that cares more about eating than client care. He’s a hospital security guard with delusions of grandeur. While I don’t want to ruin the entire story for you, let me just tell you that Eric manages to make a KFC run in a zombie apocalypse that is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read in a zombie book.

The bulk of the action in 'Dead, but Not For Long' happens at a hospital -- and the relationships and problems that stem from the setting are unique to this book, which I like.
‘Dead, but Not For Long’ is a serious book with serious issues. It also makes fun of itself, the zombie genre and the absurd situations that stem from a zombie outbreak.

There is character growth and character backslides – but most importantly, there are characters that are realistically drawn. No one is strictly a hero. No one is strictly a virginal girl that needs to be saved at all costs. And no one is strictly bad and without merit.

This is an indie, so there are a few problems with grammar and punctuation. Using "shuttered" instead of "shuddered," for example, but they're not awful.

‘Dead, but Not For Long’ is one of those books that grips you right off the bat. There are plenty of grisly kills – but the book really excels in the moments of levity. And, as I said before, it’s set in Michigan.

You really have nothing to lose.

‘Dead, but Not for Long’ is available for $2.99 on Kindle.

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