DEATH WARMED OVER by Kevin J. Anderson

DeathDid you hear the one about the zombie P.I., dead set on solving his cases?    I know, I know.  I whined about the proliferation of zombie books and swore I would never read another one.   Never say never.  So sue me.

This book is a hoot!   It is funny, clever, might I even say witty, that works over the whole apocalypse trope in such a way that the reader almost doesn’t see the tongue in the cheek.   OK, here’s the idea:  Dan Chambeaux,  P.I., working in partnership with a tough cookie lady lawyer named Robin,  was murdered about four months ago.   And has returned from the dead as a zombie.  The nice kind.  But you need some background:

The world’s a crazy place since the Big Uneasy, the event that changed all the rules and allowed a flood of baffled unnaturals to return — zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghouls, succubi, and the usual associated creatures.   In the subsequent ten years, the Unnatural Qwuarter had settled into a community of sorts — one that offered more work than I could handle.

Would you like some statistics?  Of course you would.

According to the latest statistics by the DUS, the Department of Unnatural Services, about one out of every seventy-five corpses wakes up as a zombie, with the odds weighted heavily in favor of suicides or murder victims.

Now, whereas one in seventy-five dead people returns as a zombie, like myself, one in thirty comes back as a ghost, statistics again heavily weighted toward murder victims and suicides.

Chambeaux,  nicknamed Shamble by his cop friend, and the partnership,Chambeaux and Deyer and now referred to as Shamble and Die, has some wonderful cases, not the least of which is finding out who killed Dan.    There is the Egyptian mummy currently residing in the local Museum as part of their Ancient Egyptian presentation, Ramen Ho-Tep, who wants to be emancipated from being someone’s property.   He hauls out some Egyptian case law:

“Look at this clause here, under paragraph six, subclause B.”  He pointed to drawings that showed a sphinx, a bird, and squiggly lines that might have been water.  “Right there, as plain as day:  Shall I read it aloud?   Bird, foot, round thing, another bird.  How can opposing counsel argue?

And then there was the vampire who was being terrorized by the local Straightedge group, leaving stakes on his porch, and offensive graffiti on his house.  And in his neighborhood, a number of other vampires have vanished.   When asked if a lot of vampires lived there, he says

It’s Little Transylvania.  A lot of my neighbors are vampires.  And why me?  I haven’t done anything wrong.  I’m just an interior designer.  I’m no threat to anyone.   Robin said, “Well, you are a vampire.”  He replied, “Not much of one.  I was a vegan before the transformation, and now I only drink soy blood.”

Dan’s girlfriend from before he was shot was poisoned, and has returned as a ghost, and comes to work for the partnership.  So Dan works at finding his killer, the poisoner of his girlfriend, solve the various other cases which come to them, and all’s well that end’s well.  Hmm. Perhaps ‘ends’ is a bit optimistic.  If you get my drift.

Why do zombies pierce their nipples?   To have a place to hang the air fresheners.

How can you tell when you get a letter from a zombie?  It has a tongue attached to the stamp.

It looks like there are two more delightful volumes,  Unnatural Acts and Hair Raising.   I’m not promising that I won’t read them.

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