Title: Dead Mann Walking
Author: Stefan Petrucha
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Hessius Mann Novel
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
ISBN-10: 0451464214 (Penguin/Roc)
ISBN-13: 978-0451464217 (Penguin/Roc)
Reviewed by: Kristie
After Hessius Mann was convicted of his wife’s murder, suppressed evidence came to light and the verdict was overturned-too bad he was already executed. But thanks to the miracles of modern science Hessius was brought back to life. Sort of.
Now that he’s joined the ranks of Fort Hammer’s pulse-challenged population, Hessius attempts to make a “living” as a private investigator. But when a missing persons case leads to a few zombies cut to pieces, Hessius starts thinking that someone’s giving him the run-around-and it’s not like he’s in any condition to make a quick getaway…
Quick & Dirty: A zombie horror mystery that makes you think what it would be like to truly not be able to die.
Opening Sentence: Sixteen pieces. That’s how many chunks the newslady said Colin Wilson was cut into.
Hessius Mann is a chak, a re-animated corpse. A cop before he was sentenced to death, he now spends his time as a private investigator. Hessius is hired by a lawyer to find a missing chak, at the same time the news is reporting zombies being cut into pieces, with one vital piece missing, the head. Hessius leads the search for the missing zombie, in a shantytown that is ruthlessly attacked by hakkers, humans/livebloods who like to beat up on chakz. One horrible event leads to another and that leads Hessius to believe that his missing zombie and the chopped up zombies have something in common.
Hessius is a smart chak, a zombie who still is highly functioning and thankfully fully intact. Unfortunately, chakz do have bad memories, Hessius has to rely on his digital recorder to remember his clues. He does live for the moment because he never knows when he could turn feral, lose his mind and be D-capped. Since he cannot heal he does act timidly in times of trouble, he is afraid of being hurt or losing a body part. Hessius is also obsessed with the true death. He doesn’t believe that zombies die when their heads have been removed. He is sure that whatever brings them back to life cannot be undone. And the story really carries with these thoughts in mind.
At times the plot can be very far-fetched, but in a world where the dead are brought back to life, who says things like walking skeletons and talking heads can’t happen. The zombies in Dead Mann Walking are not your normal horror movie zombies. They rarely attack the living and when they do they don’t infect humans with a virus turning them into an undead. Stefan Petrucha sets up a darkly horrifying world in which the livebloods and chakz live in. His take on the zombie genre is certainly unique.
Dead Mann Walking does have a few slow parts, but for the most part it had me guessing what the heck was going on, even when I felt I should have seen that coming. There is quite a bit of action but it was the mystery that kept me reading.
Ultimately, Dead Mann Walking is not a book I would normally pick up, but I did find it a unique and thought-provoking read. Hessius had me thinking what it would be like to not die, to still have awareness but you couldn’t do anything about it. Also, all I know is that I wouldn’t want to live in Fort Hammer, alive or as a zombie. I couldn’t find anything to say if this was part of a series or a standalone but if there is another book, I wouldn’t mind finding out what Hessius does next.
I got to my feet, screaming. I staggered out onto the highway, still screaming.
What a sight that must have been, zombie dirt monster raging in the middle of the highway. Cars zoomed by. I’m sure someone would have hit me if they weren’t worried about ruining their finishes.
One asshole driving an old Civic must have been texting or watching a DVD. By the time he saw me, he had to turn the wheel so hard, he nearly flipped his car. Instead, tires squealing, it spun and came to a halt on the shoulder. The air bag popped and he was just stupid enough to be angry about it.
Face in a fierce snarl, he pushed the air bag away, popped the door, and stormed toward me. He was early twenties, hair baked blonde and dried like the field, a football player, someone who’d kick a boulder in his way rather than walk around it.
“You stupid mother. . . “
I guess he hadn’t noticed I was dead and howling until about then. I saw no reason to stop screaming for his sake.
“Holy shit!” He backed up, put the car between us. I came forward, getting louder. I wasn’t feral, but I wasn’t real happy, either.
He thought about getting back in his car, but I hopped up on the hood and gave him a real loud one, nearly tore out my vocal cords. He started backingup. He didn’t want to give up the car, but he didn’t want to die, either.
With a final, “Oh, shit” he turned and started running.
I got behind the wheel. The engine still running, I put it in gear and drove past him.
The Hessius Mann Series:
FTC Advisory: Penguin/Roc provided me with a copy of Dead Mann Walking. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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