Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Book Review: Dead America by Luke Keioskie

Dead America is nitty-gritty look at the stitched-up underbelly of America after there’s no more room in hell and the dead are forced to walk to earth. Except these zombies don’t like to eat brains and aren’t just shambling hordes of rotting flesh. These undead want equal rights and to be treated the same as people who are alive. This is now a world where embalming is a required surgical procedure and rich Dead Americans have plastination procedures to keep themselves looking alive. Yet relations between the living and the undead are shaky at best. The living think the “necros” or “neccers” are stealing their jobs and don’t deserve the same rights as those still breathing. The dead, on the other hand, feel like they are being used and abused, especially since it’s not a crime to kill an undead and necrophilia is legal. And now to top it all off someone has turned up dead (really, truly dead, not “undead”) further straining relations between living and dead Americans.

Take a look at the book’s description:

Life is tough in America. Especially when you’re dead.

Faraday thought finding a runaway girl would be easy money. But when the girl turns up dead – the first American in decades who hasn’t revived as a zombie – Faraday must hit the streets to find her killer.

Standing in his way are undead gangbangers, a police fore rife with bigotry and lifism, and the zombie crime lord of Harlem. But with the help of a necrophilic pathologist, a severed head named Dorothy and a reporter that would literally give her right arm for a story, Faraday must discover why the dead girl didn’t come back to life. And he better be quick before the animosity between the living and the dead sparks a riot that could burn New York City to the ground. 

In a country where afterlife is the same as life before death, can anyone really live at all? 

There are tons of zombie novels out there, but none that I have read have been as unique as Luke Keioskie’s Dead America. Besides its clever take on zombies, it’s got witty, quick-paced dialogue, memorable characters and the grittiest setting of all, New York City! It reads like a hardboiled, gumshoe noir novel but has the added intrigue of a world where Death lives next to the living every day!

I loved the political and social commentary Keioskie infused into the novel. It covers everything from crooked cops to racism, bigotry and intolerance to corrupt corporations and so on. Yet these messages never feel heavy-handed, they are just facts of life in the brave new undead world Keioskie has created.
Besides the nice touches of social relevance in the book, there is also unlimited action! From Faraday’s battles with two hulking twins named Dutch and Butch, to his clever quips with undead reporter Alison Kastle and and run-ins with both the cops and undead gangster Grandpa Hob, there really isn’t a dull moment in the fast-paced book! I also enjoyed all the colorful characters like unsavory forensics expert Conroy who enjoys leering at undead women, vicious undead gangbangers called z-boys, an undead witness who is nothing but a severed head, a gorgeous undead wealthy woman who hires Faraday for another case and so on. The book is just filled to the brim with memorable characters!

Dead America is a wonderfully peculiar read, combining a gritty detective story with plenty of dark comedy and gruesome set pieces. If you love zombie stories but are craving something besides the same stale old brains, you owe it to yourself to check out the revolutionary Dead America!

Visit the Dead America website (worth the visit just for the fake ads alone!!)!

Buy it on Amazon!

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