Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Review: "Zombie, Ohio: A Tale of the Undead" by Scott Kenemore

Thanks to the kind propietor of Dollar Bin Horror, I was finally able to read the hot new zombie novel I'd been hearing about - Zombie, Ohio by first time novelist Scott Kenemore. Mr. Kenemore himself also contacted me last week wanting to send me a copy to review, but I was already on page 20. Weird, huh? Anyway, I finished the last few dozen pages in a marathon session last night and all I can say is that it was too short and I want more!

So this zombie tale does things a little different in that the main character, Peter Mellor, is a zombie. He became a zombie very shortly after he died so he is still able to think and talk like a human... but he does still have that pesky compulsion to eat human brains. His mission is to become reunited with the woman he loved, and later when he finds out that he may have been murdered, to find the murderer while still trying to get his friends and loved ones to safety.

Zombie, Ohio is hilarious. Kenemore's writing is so natural and real. These people talk like my friends and I talk and Peter thinks like I think. He finds humor in all these crazy zombie situations but still takes his new life seriously. He struggles with being part human and part zombie and all of the desires that come from living both of these lives.

As Peter roams through Ohio, he witnesses the devastation and desperation that has taken over the sparsely populated area. There's your typical gangs of bad guys that just want to rape and pillage. This is something I've always thought was cliched about apocalyptic stories and movies, but to be honest, it's more than likely what would happen. No law, no order. Repressed people can finally do the things they want. I've just always been put off by the cliche groups of evil men because, seriously, what's the point? If most of the world has been wiped out by a zombie plague or killer virus, why in the holy hell would people go after the few survivors left? They would only succeed in furthering wiping out the human race until there's no one left and that is just majorly retarded.

As a zombie, Peter at first decides that these will be the only people he will eat, especially after witnessing a man trying to kidnap a young girl. So, yea! He's going to be a good zombie.

But then in an unexpected turn of events, Peter changes his mind. The woman in his life, Vanessa, is supposedly kidnapped or murdered and Peter suddenly decides he has given up on the human race and rejoices in his zombie prowess. Humans weak... zombies awesome. So after gathering up a zombie horde, Peter starts stalking and attacking innocent groups of people and feasting on their brains.

This section of the book was honestly very hard for me to go along with. This guy is supposed to be our hero, the guy we follow for the whole book. And yes, he's a zombie and he's angry, but he's also still sort of a human. I didn't like him coaxing his way into a den with two young girls and then viciously murdering them, eating their brains, and giving the rest of them to his zombie friends to eat. He does one of the most evil things in the world by murdering innocents and seems to blame his actions on the inability of humans to cope with the zombie situation. Humans may be weak but they still have the will to survive and thrive even when all seems hopeless and lost - even when zombies take over the world. And even by the end, I really couldn't forgive Peter for what he did while still knowing that it was wrong and immoral.

That's not to say I didn't love the book. Kenemore's storytelling is quick and succinct and a pleasure to read all the way through. I love the way he thought through the physical aspects of Peter being a zombie, the way it affects his body. His voice is raspy and his eyeballs have no moisture. He doesn't feel pain and is quicker than other zombies but after a while slows down. The story he has designed around Peter's character is kind of a murder mystery, with Peter himself being a mystery to the reader and to himself because his zombie status has caused memory loss.

Fantastically fun and surprisingly uplifting book. I got lots of looks from people at work because I laughed out loud so many times while reading Zombie, Ohio. I haven't been much for reading zombie books in the past - loooooove watching zombie movies, though - but this one has piqued my interest again.


  1. I, too, just read this book (having won it the same way you did), and I friggin' loved it....
    Maybe in the last 100 pages or so, it lost a it of its edge and got a little hockey, but I still really, REALLY enjoyed this bad boy.

    Great review!

  2. Woops -- "hockey" is supposed to be "hokey."

    My bad....

  3. Nice review. Sounds interesting. It's been a while since I picked up a zombie book (over a year I think) so I might have to give this one a try.

  4. I had similar feelings about the middle of the book, but thankfully I didn't find it detracted from the overall story--just took it to an unexpected mood and setting.

  5. ...considering how I'm reading this post from Ohio, this story has naturally piqued my interest ;)