Author: Diana Rowland
Series: WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE
Plot Type: UF
Ratings: V4; S2; H3
Publisher and Titles: Daw
My Life as a White Trash Zombie (7/2011)
Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues (7/2012)
The author adds a great deal more to her zombie mythology in this book, explaining that these zombies were not created by a virus like many of the zombies we find in paranormal fiction, but by a parasite that uses prion proteins as building blocks. The process appears to be a surreal combination of vampirism and demon possession. A person must be on the verge of death when he or she is gnawed by another zombie, thus releasing parasitic spores into the new zombie's body. The full explanation of the process is quite lengthy and technical in nature and comes about half-way through this book.
In this world, zombies can heal themselves and give themselves super strength and speed if they regularly and frequently consume brains. If they miss a few days, however, they begin to fall apart in the familiar zombie way—strips of skin falling off, skin color turning gray, and rotting odor growing stronger and stronger. In book 1, the whole idea of the super-strength zombies and the healing powers of brains just didn’t work for me. It was as if the author took the traditional vampire mythology and forced in zombies as replacements for the vamps:
> Are created by the bite of another vamp
> Must have human blood to maintain strength
> Attain super strength through excessive blood consumption
> Become mindless monsters without blood consumption
> Are created by the bite of another zombie
> Must have human brains to maintain strength
> Attain super strength through excessive brain consumption
> Become mindless monsters without brain consumption
Note added after reading book 2: Although there are still a few points in the mythology that still need clearing up (like the zombies' inability to recognize a fellow zombie on sight—or smell), book 2 does clear up a lot of questions for me. The author builds the new information in as part of the plot, although it is presented in kind of an info-dump manner. Still, better to get all the details out there, one way or another.
This is a book that I wanted to love: great cover art and a terrifically inventive premise. Angel Crawford has always felt and acted like a loser, dropping out of school to lead a pill-popping, alcohol-fueled life. Having a mentally ill, suicidal mother and an alcoholic father hasn’t helped the situation. Currently, Angel is on parole for possessing a stolen car. As the story opens, Angel has just been picked up by the local police from the side of a country road—naked and full of drugs. She can’t remember anything about what happened that night. The next day, Angel receives an anonymous note telling her that she has a job in the county morgue and if she doesn’t show up and act right she will be going to jail. When Angel reports to work, she is surprised to find that she has no problem with the dead bodies, no matter what state of decomposition they are in. She is even more surprised that her stomach growls every time a brain is exposed during an autopsy. So…Angel seemingly has a new addiction: brrraaaaaaaains! Add in a cute police detective and a serial killer who chops off heads, and you have an imaginative new paranormal series. The major theme for book 1 is that Angel’s zombiness actually saves her life. By the end of the book, she has cleaned up her act and has become an upstanding citizen.