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.
*Thank you to the author for a complimentary copy of the audio version of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Two genres I haven’t really dipped my literary toe into before: crime noir and zombies.
This book was fit both categories and now I can’t get enough of either! It was recommended to me by a Twitter peep and fellow book lover (and an author) @ReneeConoulty , who apparently has impeccable taste.
Let me gush about the story first, before I start telling you about just why you should listen to the audio instead of just reading it.
So. It’s the 1930’s and during the Prohibition, zombies exist and – uh oh – they need booze to slow down their decomposition and keep them sane otherwise they turn into your classic braineater.
Braineater Jones (not his real name, post death amnesia is a bitch) is searching for clues to explain why he is walking around with a bullet hole through his chest and why he is, in fact, dead. The story is told from his perspective, following him as he uncovers the truth about his new nature – he is an instantly likable character, though he does have the gritty, sexist wears-a-trenchcoat vibe about him.
When he wakes up from his untimely death, he is given the job as a PI for the zombie community – the police aren’t too helpful when it comes to protecting and serving the more dead members of society so they look to Braineater Jones for some security, which he provides (for a fee). Along the way, he meets some mix and match dismembered prostitutes and a dismembered head who assists him in his case.
I absolutely loved the head, (I listened to the audio rather than reading the book, so I’m going to guess the spelling of his name as Alcibe) he was snarky, loyal and hilarious.
And the Old Man. I can’t possibly give you his description, you have to find out for yourself. It’s just….. excellent and so very wrong.
The best things about this story would have to be originality, the daaaaaark humour and the atmosphere – in my mind, all the women looked like variations of Jessica Rabbit and the men were wearing trenchcoats and smoking cigars. The pulp thriller…ness of this book is positively intoxicating and needs to go on your to-read list if you have any interest in crime fiction or zombies.
Right. The audio.
Steve Rimpici is now one of my favourite voice actors – he also sounds the dead ringer of a certain Nick Valentine on Fallout 4 (which I lost months of my life to and am still not done with). I know the characters are both crime noire unconventional detectives but wow…. the resemblance is uncanny (and absolutely coincidental).
His character voices are out of this world and brings the creepy atmosphere of this story to a whole new level. I would pretty much listen to any audiobook narrated by this guy now, as well as any book written by Stephen Kozeniewski.
Just imagine what macabre, terrifying and talented children these men would have together.
All I can hope is that this book is the beginning of a series, so I can while away yet more hours at work listening to dead men walk while I do my thing.
‘So out this guy pulls – I shit you not – a bicycle pump and one of those long balloons like a clown uses to make balloon animals. Why he had those objects, I don’t know.’