Author: Stephen Kozeniewski
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Historical Fiction
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4,5 stars
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.
But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.
As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.
Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.
Are you sick and tired of zombies? I’m willing to bet you won’t be for long. Braineater Jones is one of the most original, at times hilarious, at times depressing, books I’ve read in a long while. It featured zombies in a way you’ve never seen before.
A man wakes up face down in a pool. He has drowned, but somehow he’s still alive. Unaware of his name, who he is, or what transpired, he searched the house he’s in from top to bottom, coming face to face with a bunch of thieves. Once he makes his way outside to the bad part of town, he figures he’s not the only one of the living dead. With his brain swiftly deteriorating, he needs booze to stay alive, and to stay sane. If he doesn’t get any soon, he’ll turn into one of those insane freaks eating up other people, which he doesn’t want at all. He starts calling himself Braineater Jones, and tries to adapt to his new reality. Soon enough, he opens up some sort of private investigation service for the recently-deceased-but-still-alive and helps solve cases. All the while though, the mystery of his own death haunts him, as well as the reason for why he’s still undead.
The book is original, refreshing, and has so many things I didn’t see coming that it’s impossible to figure out where to start. Nobody can be trusted in the world of the undead, one apparently only needs one’s head to be alive, and friends are found in the most unlikely of places. Jones is an intriguing character. He doesn’t fall within a simple category. He’s neither good nor bad. Sometimes he’s a little heavy-handed toward his other clients, then he develops a soft spot for someone else, while the reader never sees it coming.
At times, the book is gross, and shows us the darker side of human nature, and of being undead. It’s set in the 1930s, and has a matching noir style and dark humor. If you’re not fond of that style, I wouldn’t recommend that book, but if you like that style or feel neutral about it, then I highly recommend this book. It’s unique, the story is strong, the plot is complicated, the characters are complex and entertaining. It’s not the kind of book where you’ll laugh out loud at times, but the kind of book that’ll make you grin several times during reading. An extraordinary read, and not just for people who love zombies.