|The zombie expert himself, Scott Kenemore|
Kenemore's wit is unmatched and his ability to constantly keep the action interesting, exciting, and hilarious is one of the many things that I love about Zombie, Illinois. The three main characters - Pastor Leopold Mack, Maria Ramirez, and Ben Bennington - are all completely lovable, well-drawn and amazing characters in different ways and I couldn't get enough of them. Chicago itself is a major character, too, and though the book would probably have more meaning to me if I actually knew anything about Chicago, Kenemore easily paints the picture of a corrupt, yet loyal and beautiful city that has its ups and downs. It's a story about the different neighborhoods in the city and how they either work together or against each other when the crap hits the fan, something that is very unique to me. I didn't even really speak to my neighbors until after I'd been in my apartment for about 3 months. And that was just to ask if I could borrow a snow shovel. Not so sure they'd take me in once the dead started coming back to life.
This section of the novel is also noteworthy because it reinforces what I think Kenemore is really trying to say. When Mack is looking down into the pit of zombies in the coal tunnel, it is not the fact that they are reanimated corpses that truly horrifies him. It is the fact that they are the reanimated corpses of aborted fetuses and Girl Scouts with their throats cut. It is seeing the crimes and inhumanity of his city literally coming back to haunt him and showing him just how bad it really was. I definitely liked that there was a good message, or at least something deeper to this novel than just being something funny about zombies - another reason for me to love Kenemore and what he's doing even more.
There's zombies, there's corrupt politicians, there's pastors who wear pink ties, there's a budding romance between a reporter and a Latino girl in a band called Strawberry Brite Vagina Dentata. THIS. BOOK. RULES. It is probably the most fun you'll ever have reading about zombies, and once it's over you'll just want to flip straight back to that first page. Kenemore is one of the most promising new names in zombie/horror literature and I cannot wait to read more of his stuff. I've read he's already working on a new novel right now... with more zombies, right? Please tell me there are more zombies! Um, anyway, read Zombie, Illinois and I can pretty much guarantee that you'll enjoy every word of it, just like I did.
Did I also mention that Kenemore has Chicago's mayor being eaten alive on TV by an undead Al Capone? 'Cause he does. I want to marry this man.
Wait, before you go... I also reviewed two of Kenemore's other books - my thoughts on Zombie, Ohio can be found here and my review of Zombies vs. Nazis: A Lost History of the Walking Dead is right here. If I haven't convinced you to give this author a chance from this review, maybe one of those will do the trick.