Married with Zombies (Living with the Dead)
by Jesse Petersen
Review by Steve Sawicki
Orbit Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780316102865
Date: 01 September 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
First it was vampires, then witches, then werewolves, and now zombies. Jesse Peterson wades into the latest form of supernatural menace with both feet and tongue firmly in cheek. David and Sarah are having some difficulties in their marriage. In fact, it appears that things are pretty much going to end in divorce although they do drag themselves to a session of marriage counseling. On the way to the office they notice some odd things--a missing guard in the parking lot, a missing receptionist, and their usually very punctual therapist is a few minutes late.
Well, imagine their surprise when they barge into the therapists office to find her hunched over the Wonderful Wilsons, the couple with the session previous to theirs, happily munching away on their body parts. They manage to off her with a letter opener and a stiletto, and then have to get past the Wilsons, the parking lot guard and a number of other animated dead as they make their way home. Home is where they find their zombie neighbor, who has somehow managed to get himself disoriented in the shower. Sarah puts him to rest with the toilet seat and suddenly their relationship problems don't seem to be as large as they were before.
This is the first book in a new series (the second book, Flip This Zombie is due out in January), although I'm not sure a zombie series is going to prove to be as popular as many of the other supernatural offerings that are out there. But, we'll see.
As for this book, it is well done, with Peterson keeping the dialogue and banter light and comedic which balances out all the grisly death that goes with the territory. The protagonist couple are well suited to the situation (although they spend way too much time grappling with creatures that can turn you in one bite). The actual suspension of disbelief is not that much of a stretch here thanks to the way Peterson lays everything out. Peterson also keeps things movie at a fairly fast pace, which also helps keep you moving through all the death and destruction. It's a humorous book, well put together, with a coherent beginning to end progression.
I liked this book although I had a moment or two where I though the characters just weren't being all that smart and I wondered why so many of the zombies were getting close enough for hand to hand when there were so many long distance weapons available. I mean, if I have to go out and kill poisonous snakes I want to keep as far away from those fangs as possible and not be trying to strangle each one by hand. That was the only real issue I had though.
I do wonder whether the subject matter will sustain a series. I like the protagonists but the zombie threat is pretty unidimensional. Hard to introduce a lot of variety into a being that is essentially falling apart as it searches mindlessly for human flesh. I think Peterson has her work cut out for her in this area.
Go. Buy. Enjoy. It's a different enough book and well written to boot that you should have no problem finding much joy in the turning of the pages.