Series: HESSIUS MANN
Plot Type: UF, heavy on zombie horror
Ratings: V5; S1; H2
Publisher and Titles: Roc
Dead Mann Walking (10/2011)
Dead Mann Running (9/2012)
In the world of this series, technology has advanced (or regressed) to the point that a company named ChemBet has made it possible to bring a dead person back to life through a "patented, self-perpetuating, neo-magical, electrostatic radical invigoration procedure, RIP for short." (Dead Mann Running, p. 3) Of course, the newly revitalized person has none of the attributes of a live human being. Instead, it has most of the traditional characteristics of a zombie: persistent rotting, lack of emotion, stiffness of motion, dry (REALLY dry) skin, and wonky memories. Coming back from the dead is called getting ripped: from the acronym for the process, and ripped persons are called chakz. Real live people call themselves livebloods to differentiate themselves from the chakz.
Click HERE to read my review of Petrucha's fascinating paranormal novel, Blood Prophecy.
As the story opens, Hess is sitting in his office in the Bones (the chak part of town) when he gets a new client, a liveblood named William Turgeon. Turgeon wants Hess to track down a chak named Frank Boyle, another unfortunate man who was mistakenly executed and then ripped. Frank's father has died and left him a fortune, and Turgeon has been tasked with finding the heir. The plot follows Hess as he locates Frank, only to find that Turgeon is not exactly what he has portrayed himself to be. In the meantime, Hess has been following the TV coverage of a series of murders in which dismembered chakz are discovered around the city—all missing their heads. Eventually, Hess realizes that he has stumbled into a nightmare in which he is on the list to be the next victim of a sociopathic killer.
Here is his description of the sound made by a crowd of moaning chakz: "It rose above the crackle of the car fire, one sandpaper-dry voice overlapping another, making a steady rush, like the ocean on a white-noise machine. When a chak moans in torpor, I take it for sorrow, profound sorrow." (p. 41)