The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse
Steven C. Schlozman, MD
Grand Central, Mar 25 2011, $19.99
A zombie plague has been turned loose upon the earth, but the disease is not natural as it is man made. The research has turned people into NGH, No Longer Human. This leads to medical researchers on a remote island dissecting and experimenting on captured zombies seeking a cure with the belief that NGH types are classified as monstrous beasts who live to feed endlessly on human flesh.
Nuclear bombs fail to end the spread of the epidemic. Meanwhile on the coral atoll Bassas de India between Madagascar and Africa, a research center has been established to find a cure. Led by renowned zombie expert Dr. Stanley Blum and Dr. Blanca Gutierrez, volunteers have come to help. They conclude that the disease works similar to catching the flu with prions playing a key role. They believe they are closing in on a vaccination, but abruptly they seem to have vanished. However, Dr. Blum’s The Zombie Autopsies’ journals have been found and under review by the World Health Organization; as time runs out on Homo sapiens remaining the dominant species on the planet.
As Z books go, The Zombie Autopsies is a truly gruesome horror medical thriller; not so much due to someone creating the disease, but more because of the inhuman experiments on humanoid bodies by scientists mindful of Dr. Mengele and the Nazis. Although the reader will understand the despite attempts to save humanity, the scientific saviors lose what makes a person human while conducting their research. Dr. Blum and the Z crew put the faces to the tale as he knows he will never leave the island as he regrets what he believes he must do while fans will have to decide whether the zombie is a monster or sick grandma as this is a chilling, vividly gory thriller. Harriet Klausner
Roc, Mar 1 2011, $7.99
Hybrid human-Auphe Cal Leandros awakens on a beach with no idea how he got there or why he is surrounded by dead spidery monsters. Although his memory is gone, Cal believes in his gut he is a natural born killer as he heads into Nevah’s Landing, South Carolina.
Two men he does not recognize arrive claiming they are here to help him. One of them says he is Cal’s purebred brother Niko and the other insists he is their friend Robin Goodfellow. Niko explains they are BFFs also and run a private investigator business together. He distrusts both of them as his instincts, especially his Auphe side, insist he do so. That changes when more spidery monsters attack and they have his back as other enemies surface.
The latest Cal Leandros thriller is an exciting tale enhanced by a realistic modification in the relationship between the siblings. While Niko is hurt by his brother’s behavior towards him, Cal continues to struggle between his dueling dual natures as Cal fears what he truly is since he has no memory of who he is. Filled with action, Rob Thurman provides a terrific twist to the protagonist in the angst-laden Blackout (see Roadkill and Deathwish to fully understand the spin).
DAW, Mar 1 2011, $7.99
Half-breed private investigator Toby Daye finally believes she belongs in Faerie after leaving the land two years ago for San Francisco. She even has made a shaky peace with an adversary Tybalt the Cat King. However her serenity abruptly ends when her close friend the undine Lily the Lady of the Tea Gardens was recently poisoned and is dying. She becomes further shocked when Luna the wife of liege lord Sylvester Torquil becomes ill. Toby believes someone is targeting her through people she cares about.
At the same time Oleander de Merelands has returned. She was a key part of a group that kept Toby trapped as a fish for years. No one else believes Oleander is back as only Toby can see her, which leaves her friends wondering if the changeling has become insane. Crazy or not, Toby investigates before something else horrific occurs to someone else she cares about.
The fourth October Daye urban fantasy whodunit series (see An Artificial Night, Rosemary and Rue, and A Local Habitation) is a fabulous thriller as the heroine burned by both sides of her DNA has a lingering distrust of everyone so her paranoia kicks in and she does what she does best: investigate. Fast-paced, the case is personal as friends are dying; she is the accused; her enemy has surfaced; and her mom is somehow in the middle of what the heroine believes is a concerted effort to destroy her. No one provides better Noir tours of San Francisco and Faerie than Ms. Daye does when she resolutely works an investigation. Harriet Klausner