Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski

Braineater Jones - Stephen Kozeniewski
After reading Braineater Jones at every possible moment - for instance, waiting for red lights to turn green, which normally made me impatient, but now made me smile when I saw the yellow - I now have a "thing" for pulp noir zombie fiction. Is that a thing? I don't know. But it's my thing now.

I've got some experience with zombie books, but it's genius how Kozeniewski turns the genre upside down with a most interesting take on how zombies function - both physically and mentally. Then he drops them into a 1930s city where Prohibition is in full force, yet hooch is necessary for the undead to continue to function without feeling the urge to gnaw on a breather.
When our narrator wakes up "dead as a doornail dead" face down in a pool, he has no memory of how he got there with a gaping hole in his chest, nor of his life before becoming a deadhead. His story is narrated through journal entries, but I honestly forgot that I was reading journal entries until I got to the next chapter/journal entry. It reads so flawlessly and the pace is perfect (kudos to his editors).

Though there is quite a bit of obscure 1930s slang, it never really tripped me up. I admit I had to look up a few words, but I feel as if I have a more robust vocabulary now. Thanks for the vocab lessons, Stephen.

With the help of Alcibé, a head without a body, who is the brains of the operation, Jones provides his services as a private eye. But first he needs to figure out who took him out and why. With a number of twists, turns, and ruffians (See? I learned a new word) trying to make him double dog dead, there's never a dull moment.

Braineater Jones is appealing in so many ways. It's a fresh take on the zombie horror genre, a deliciously written dark comedy, and a bizarre - yet clever - take on the pulp noir genre with the gritty detective. With quality writing throughout, I give my stamp of approval (for what it's worth) to this read, and easily recommend it to anyone looking for something a little offbeat.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

[I originally reviewed this book in August 2014. I am in the process of transferring my blog contents.]