Review

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

“Angel Crawford is a loser.

Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she’s a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who’s been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.

That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn’t have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there’s a job waiting for her at the parish morgue—and that it’s an offer she doesn’t dare refuse.

Before she knows it she’s dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey—just when she’s hungriest!

Angel’s going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn’t, she’s dead meat.

Literally.”

It’s getting more popular to write a zombie novel that is from the point of view of the zombie.  Most of the ones that I’ve seen thus far have gone the somber route, using the zombie’s condition to reflect on the ills of society and such things.  And while there is some of that in Rowland’s novel—Angel has multiple issues, not the least of which are drug addiction and an abusive father—the author mostly attempts to keep the tone light.  Admittedly, the humor can be a bit morbid at times—Angel’s frustration at bodies showing up at the morgue without their brains is both nauseating and comical—but gallows humor does work, especially in a story of this kind.

And speaking of “nauseating”, readers should be forewarned that there are some fairly graphic scenes in this book.  Angel works as a morgue tech, and of course there’s the whole “eating brains” issue, so parts of this novel are not for the squeamish.  Personally, although I found the concept interesting, I waited a bit before reading this novel, because it’s not a good idea for me to read gross stuff when I’m stressed!  However, brains and blood aside, the icky scenes aren’t lingered over and so shouldn’t cause too much distress.

I liked Angel as a character.  She doesn’t deny or try to gloss over her issues, and it takes the entire book for her to really start making changes in her life.  Rowland portrays Angel as a young woman on the very edge of losing everything—health, sanity, even her life—and having to pull herself back from the brink.  She may be named Angel, but she’s no angel!  She’s a down to earth young person with very real problems, but she never flings around an overabundance of angst.  Rowland found just the right balance between a bad kid and one trying to turn things around.

I wasn’t quite as enamored of the murder mystery that interweaves through Angel’s storyline.  I’m not sure why, but I think it was because I got the sense that Angel’s community wasn’t all that large, and a small community shouldn’t have quite as many deaths (and unusual deaths) as you see.  But this is a small quibble in an otherwise well-written novel.  Everything ties together in the end, and if Rowland doesn’t write any more about these characters, the book still comes to a satisfactory end.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie isn’t your normal tale of the undead.  It’s sharp and fresh, with a fast-talking and savvy heroine who practically grows up before your eyes.  If you’re looking for something funny and a bit off the beaten track, then this novel is for you.

This review was originally posted on August 29, 2011.

This book was a personal purchase.

(Description nicked from Goodreads.com.)

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