on 11 September 2013
She's ba-a-a-ack. Our favorite li'l punk zombie, Angel Crawford is back in her third novel as she is still trying to figure out her new unlife. Who would have thought being dead would be so complicated?
Angel, along with her partner Derrel Cusimano, is a coroner's assistant for St. Edwards Parish in Louisiana, and her unlife continues its complications as there is a movie being shot in the town. Ironically, it a zombie movie, and it is called "High School Zombie Apocalypse!!", yes, two exclamation points. As the movie is being shot and staged, Angel is called out to pick up a corpse, it seems that somebody has had their brains spilled from an accident. Too bad, so sad, brains spilled means brains wasted. After all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. While there, Philip, a zombie that Angel created in the last novel turns up and saves Angel from an attempted murder. If this doesn't raise suspicions of bad deeds being done in St. Edwards again, then after Angel is invited to a swanky hoity-toity dinner by Uncle Pietro, head of the local zombie mafia, that will be invaded by a real zombie, not a movie one, and she is attacked this time by Philip, certainly will.
Along with this, there are the mundane occurrences that keep Angel busy, she's studying for her GED, tutored by, big surprise, her nemesis. Her relationship with Marcus, her zombie cop boyfriend, the zombie who turned/saved her back in novel one of this series, is moving into the way serious mode, and, oh yes, she's having to deal with the mysterious coming and goings of her recovering, and sometimes relapsing, alcoholic father Jim Crawford.
As the novel progresses, she finds that there are a surprising amount of real zombies working at the zombie movie, and they have a special, and a not necessarily healthy, interest in Angel, and why do people involved in the zombie production keep dying? You're not paranoid if people, or zombies, keep trying to hurt you, as Angel is attacked, several times, once rescuing Heather, a daughter and sister of Angel and Pietro's sworn enemy.
Even the elements seem to be trying to get on her bad side, as she gets caught in a local apocalyptic event. As the novel progresses Angel feels put upon and lonely; she can't talk to the mundane humans in her life about her problems, and she can't talk to her boyfriend as he is upset over her relations with Uncle Pietro. Then she turns out to have developed a power only zombies five-hundred years old should have.
As the novel progresses we learn more about Pietro's operations, we are introduced to Pietro's zombie operatives, find out who the real enemies of Angel are, we find out who this "Heather" is and why she is important to Pietro and Angel, and her "health" status starts becoming one of the worst kept secrets in St. Edwards.
Rowland has managed to create a character in Angel Crawford that is as entertaining and as original as Mercy Thompson, and let's face it, Angel's universe is only getting more and more interesting, and with the introduction of the five hundred plus year-old Pietro, Rowland has created a universe that she can now explore in both the present and the past. Heck, we don't even know how old Marcus is. Of course, it wouldn't really be a good idea to start reading about Angel with this novel, start with the first novel for a full appreciation of Angel's character. In the first novel, she goes from being a first-rate pill-popping, alcoholic, loser, to her continuing redemption as a, not-quite, respectable and upstanding, albeit dead, citizen. Throughout these three, so far, novels we see how, with help, how she reforms herself, and through that, the redemption of several other others around her. Her father for instance owes her more than he would probably ever acknowledge, and this is the novel that Angel and her father start to heal their relationship.
And let's not forget Daniel Dos Santos cover. Oh my, I'd like to know the model's name and what else that she's modeled for. Sexy and humorous at the same time, Santos shows Angel having been abused, and having given the attempt to kill her again all that they could, and failing, it's now Angel's turn, `cuz baby's got a bat and that's the least of it. Let's face it, I just don't think that the bad guys are going to be able to run fast enough. Of course, it really doesn't illustrate anything, and it's exploitive, I wouldn't be caught reading a book with a cover like this in church, but what the heck, I'm going to give Santos a free pass.
"White Trash Zombie Apocalypse" as a novel really doesn't stand on its own, but it is a great episode of a great series. I enjoyed it. Let's hope somebody decides to turn this into a tv series. Great zombie, brain-eating fun for the whole family.