From the author of the hit series, The Morganville Vampires, comes this new series that begins with a novel called “Working Stiff” and takes a new look at urban fantasy. Although it’s true that anything with vampires, werewolves, and zombies is not exactly a ‘fresh’ idea in this day and age, Ms. Caine proves yet again that she knows how to twist and turn these characters into something new and exciting.
Bryn Davis is a zombie—a member of the large ‘undead’ community. In the first tale, Bryn was killed at her job and revived with an experimental drug called Returne, which was discovered in the lab known as Pharmadene. Because of this miracle, Bryn is now not only the owner of a mortuary, but also works for the government. As long as Bryn has her injection of Returne each day, she’s able to function and live her life, or non-life, depending on how you look at it. Now that the government has taken over Pharmadene, they’re adamant that no one discover the drug, and they have the power to ‘take care’ of anyone who tries to blow the lid off their finding.
Bryn, surprisingly, has made a decent life for herself. Her business, Davis Funeral Home, is doing well; and her significant other, Patrick McCallister, knows about her undead status and loves her anyway. They actually run a support group for the Returne undead. Unfortunately, some of the group members are coming up missing and Bryn suspects that the government is ‘helping’ them to disappear.
Even if you’re not among the millions who are interested in zombies, you’ll have a type of ‘awakening’ with this series. While still offering the usual crime and punishment and thrills and chills, this is also the first series that provides the undead with a new ‘face.’ Instead of just scaring people, they’re getting more into the financial world that Gordon Gekko and his “Greed is Good” mentality once made famous. This series will keep you up at night…not because you’re frightened, but because you’re intrigued.
Until Next Time, Everybody,
(First reviewed by Amy Lignor, for Suspense Magazine)