Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues
by Diana Rowland
Cover Artist: Daniel Dos Santos
Review by Cathy Green
DAW Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756407506
Date: 03 July 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
When we were last reading the adventures of Angel Crawford, she had just started getting her life back together, getting a job with the coroner's office, learning that she'd become a zombie, fighting off a zombie hunter and hooking up with a really cute zombie cop. Even White Trash Zombies Get The Blues picks up a couple weeks after the end of My Life as A White Trash Zombie (reviewed in the July 2011 issue of SFRevu) with Angel picking up a batch of brain soup from the freezer in the storage unit she rents. Then it's on to a particularly disgusting pick up of a bloated rotting body from a narrow tunnel. Almost immediately after dropping off the first body, Angel is called to another scene to pick up a body. This time it's at NuQuesCor, some kind of bio-tech company producing nutritional supplements. The body is that of the security guard, who appears to have fallen down the stairs and fatally fractured his skull.
As Angel is taking care of the body, she does notice one odd thing – she can't smell the dead guard's brain. Things get even stranger once she gets back to the coroner's office and a masked intruder forces his way in at gunpoint and steals the body. Making matters worse, the Coroner and his Chief Investigator both seems to suspect that Angel might be involved, although no one else does. And her father's still drinking and needs to be dragged home out of bars. And then the newspaper starts running articles accusing Angel of losing the body. Worse still, her boyfriend Marcus asks her to a BBQ at his Uncle Pietro's that turns out to be a party for the entire Ivanov clan, a fact that he decided to keep secret from her. And it turns out that there is other stuff he's been keeping secret from her as well, 'for her own good'.
When Angel meets with Marcus and Uncle Pietro, they are both dismissive of her concerns about Kearney, the dead security guard. While the meeting makes Angel angry because she feels Marcus and Pietro are both dismissing her as ignorant and stupid, it does give her some useful information about zombie life. Apparently there are zombie factions and a zombie mafia. Could they be involved with the theft of the body? In trying to be more proactive about her life, Angel decides to try to figure out why the body was stolen from the morgue. This leads to the realization that the guard's possessions were bagged at the scene and stored separately. So she brings his watch to the police to see if they can get fingerprints off of it. This makes life more difficult for everyone as the fingerprints on the watch do not match Norman Kearney but do match Zeke Lyons, one of the zombies killed by Ed Quinn in My Life as a White Trash Zombie. Is one of the other zombie factions involved? Is there a government conspiracy? What exactly is NUQuesCor doing that requires so much security?
Diana Rowland continues to develop the character of Angel Crawford, who experiences more personal growth in her several months as a zombie than she did when she was still among the living. Rowland also neatly ties together the plot threads of Even White Trash Zombies Get The Blues with the main plot thread of My Life as a White Trash Zombie, as zombie hunter Ed Quinn reappears halfway through the novel.
The biology and physiology of zombies s also further explored in Even White Trash Zombies Get The Blues, and Rowland uses the positive and negative aspects of zombie life and biology to advance the plot in interesting ways.
If you liked My Life as a White Trash Zombie, you are going to love Even White Trash Zombies Get The Blues. However, while Rowland gives the reader enough information about the plot of the first novel in the series that Even White Trash Zombies Get The Blues can be read without first having read My Life as a White Trash Zombie, I would not recommend doing so. If you have not yet read the first novel in the series, do so before starting this one; it will be worth it.
Rowland currently has a three book contract with DAW for this series, and I cannot wait to read the further adventures of Angel Crawford.