Saturday, May 28, 2011

Book Review: DJ Zom-B and the Ungrateful Dead by Vinnie Penn

DJ Zom-B is a fast-paced debut zombie novel from author Vinnie Penn, who is the host of radio talk show The Vinnie Penn Project as well as an online contributing writer to MSN, Maxim and Cracked. As the book starts, our lead character, Luke Zombulli, better known to the world as abrasive radio personality DJ Zom-B, wakes up to the hellish world of a zombie apocalypse. After holing up in his apartment for a few days, he decides to venture out to the local radio station in hopes of broadcasting and searching for other survivors. Once there he meets other survivors but learns that humans are just as deadly, and much more twisted, than the zombies roaming the streets.

DJ Zom-B is a fun and thrilling book from Penn, though it is a little short in length at 171 pages. Penn, who has experience in the broadcasting industry, delivers quirky observations and quick witted comments through smart-ass (but inherently likable) DJ Zom-B. The zombie action isn’t half bad either, but the real terror doesn’t start until the villains of the book, some unlawful lawmen, arrive to round up both survivors and zombies. They plan on using the zombies, as well as the survivors, for their own personal, errrr, “entertainment”. Yup, it’s just as bad as it sounds!

The book also features a pop princess, her lovelorn deejay, a sound engineer that may or may not be turning into a zombie and several other characters that look to DJ Zom-B for leadership. Some of the characters are more developed than others (for good reason, since some characters quickly become zombie snacks), but we get a good feel for those in for the long haul.

I originally thought that the book would stick to a storyline like the film Pontypool (review) or even Dead Air (review), but the book doesn’t take place mainly in a DJ booth, but rather all over the state of Connecticut as the survivors try to escape the zombie hordes and unscrupulous lawmen. This was a relief for me, because I didn’t want to read a re-hash of these fine films. I also thought the despicable acts by the lawmen were far more horrifying than the gut-munching the zombies were doing, and was glad that Penn shifted his gaze a bit from the terror of the zombies to the callousness of humans.

While DJ Zom-B is a fun zombie novel, I thought it would have perhaps worked a bit better had it been condensed into a short story instead. There are several points in the book that just drag on a bit too much and I feel the story could have been more efficiently streamlined. Nonetheless, DJ Zom-B was an enjoyable read and is recommended for fans of zombie (and human) mayhem.

Available on Amazon!

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