ZOMBIE, OHIO: A TALE OF THE UNDEAD
by Scott Kenemore
Background: Published just this past February, Zombie, Ohio is not Scott Kenemore’s first foray into zombies. He is also the author of the Zen of Zombies satire books and is a member of the Zombie Research Society. But this is not your average zombie survival book. Not at all…
What it’s about: Meet Peter Mellor. He wakes up after a terrible car crash with amnesia. He gradually learns that he is a college professor, a drunk… and a zombie.
Yet he is the only one of the hordes of undead springing from their graves that can think, talk, drive, and use a weapon. For a time, he can even pass for human, as long as he keeps on his hat covering the missing top of his head. While passing for human, he is taken to his girlfriend’s house, but ensuing trouble causes him to take his first bite of brain and run off.
Exploring the Ohio countryside, which has been ravaged by the hungry, stumbling, stupid undead, the zombie formerly known as Peter learns the ins and outs of his slowly decomposing body and acquires a little zombie gang. After returning to his girlfriend’s house only to find it in ruins, he decides to fully embrace his zombihood and leads an ever-increasing army of zombies in search of humans to devour.
His rampage is cut short when he finds out that his girlfriend is still alive, and he decides to do anything he can to help her get to safety. Of course, this is not without its personal risks, both physical and emotional, when literally everyone is out to get you.
Why it will keep you up at night: This novel is unlike any zombie story I have ever seen. Just when I thought the genre was getting tired and worn out, here comes a fresh and truly original tale. The narrator is a cognizant zombie; yes, he wants to eat as many brains as he can get a hold of, but really, he’s just looking for love. For a time, you even end up rooting for his pillaging zombie gang to satiate their urge for brains. I found Peter to be extraordinarily sympathetic for a former alduterous drunk turned killer zombie. Kind of like sympathizing with serial killer Dexter.
The story never leaves you with a dull moment, for even when Peter is wandering with only the subhuman company of other zombies, we are left contemplating philosophical ideas of the undead. Are they superior or inferior to humans? Are they natural? What does it mean to be alive, and what comes after? Is there a God? What’s the deal with the wild turkey?
Despite the heavy implications of the entire premise, the perfectly-pitched dark humor sprinkled throughout keeps you laughing amid all the gore. Peter is a well of bad puns, sharp quips, and hilarious asides on the absurdity of the whole thing. And yet, he’s still a zombie with a heart and a sort of sad personal story.
Check this one out as soon as you can. It might renew your faith in the zombie genre, and (dare I say it?), perhaps even in humanity.