Title: Dead Mann Walking
Author: Stefan Petrucha
The talking heads always want to get a word in edgewise, apparently even if they are zombies. In Stefan Petrucha’s first in the Hessius Mann novel series, Dead Mann Walking, one learns the nuances, traits, fears, beliefs and dreams of being an undead zombie.
This three hundred and forty two page paperback book is smaller than the normal size to hopefully be easier in putting down, hidden from view to protect the visual imagination part of the reader’s brain stem. With a plethora of profanities and bizarre descriptions of body parts from the afterlife, the peculiar topics covered may not be acceptable for preteen age or younger, unless, of course, they are cussing zombies themselves or appear to be.
Petrucha’s first novel divulges into the life, well, afterlife, of Hessius Mann, former police detective who was executed for murdering his unfaithful wife after he was found standing in her blood in their kitchen with her beaten body beside him. Thanks to modern science, anyone wrongfully accused was brought back to “life” as a chak, as if to make lifebloods feel they have corrected the wrong and made it right. Unfortunately or fortunately for the zombies, if angered or beyond the point of no return, they become feral and the only permanent death solution is D-Cap or be burnt to a crisp.
With both partial working body parts and memory failing, Mann tells his story in first person as he still tries to continue to play the detective, reliving his life on the beat. When approached by Mr. Turgeon, a lawyer flashing lots of money, Mann is asked to find Frank Boyle, another chak who apparently has inherited a fortune. Mann takes the bait and tries to put two and two together with the help of his assistant, a dead stripper, quite a few head cases and his helpful voice recorder to not only find Boyle, but uncover a twisted serial killer who is bent on setting up his victims for murder and including Mann in his game.
Petrucha writes a sympathetic, warming yet gentle tome that shows one always has room for love, compassion and even emotions if stuck in an afterlife situation where revived body parts need habitual bleach to stave off decay or sewn back together, where zombies are taken for granted and where revolution starts when the weak are challenged. A dark, perturbed read, this one makes you want more just in case when it happens, you will know what to do.