Saturday, January 12, 2013

'Married with Zombies' (Living with the Dead #1) by Jesse Petersen

Solidly written zombie novels make me happy – I mean really happy. Like, “I just ate a heap-load of chocolate” happy. Unfortunately for me, my preference for the more lighthearted and quirky variety, like ‘Warm Bodies over the ‘War Z’ dystopias make this sort of happiness rare to come by.  But I was not to be deterred. Once I’d finished up ‘Warm Bodies’ last month I diligently began hunting for my next zombie-fix.

Although my search did take me to a few odd titles, it eventually dropped me at the feet of ‘Married with Zombies’ by Jesse Petersen and these words caught my attention about halfway through the blurb:

Once upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they're on the verge of divorce and going to couples' counseling. On a routine trip to their counselor, they notice a few odd things - the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that their counselor, Dr. Kelly, is ripping out her previous client's throat.

For me, those words and beach-read inspired cover were all I needed to download and get started. With that description and a title that harkens back to the days of Peg and Al Bundy, I was all but guaranteed that it would be quirky – but would it be good?

Well, let’s put it this way. ‘Warm Bodies’ is the Lindt dark chocolate truffle of zombie fixes. It’s heartwarming and serious and doesn’t leave you holding the bag, needing more. ‘Married with Zombies’ is great, but it’s more like a Reese’s mini  – shorter, louder, takes itself a whole lot less seriously and really? Who just has one peanut butter cup mini? Not me, that’s for sure and it makes the whole idea that this is a new series to sink my teeth into that much more enjoyable.

Author Jesse Petersen has a great sense of humor through the whole thing and I’ve got to say I laughed out loud more than a few times. The characters were good, and given the relationship the two mains have at the start of the journey the buildup is excellent. If you’ve ever lived with someone for more than a few years you’ll probably end up appreciating this one for the no-nonsense, honest love these Sarah and David have for one another.  

Bottom line: If you like your zombie novels terrifying and filled with pointless teeth-gnashing, this one probably isn’t for you at all. If you’re more interested in seeing what happens to the people on the ground, how relationships can get stronger even in the midst of near-certain doom, you’re on the right track. As for me, well, I certainly love Reese’s… and already plan on picking up ‘Flip this Zombie’ soon.

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