Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen
Meet Sarah and David.
Once upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they’re on the verge of divorce and going to couples’ counseling. On a routine trip to their counselor, they notice a few odd things — the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that there counselor, Dr. Kelly, is ripping out her previous client’s throat.
Meet the zombies.
Now Sarah and David are fighting for survival in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. But just because there are zombies doesn’t mean your other problems go away. If the zombies don’t eat their brains, they might just kill each other.
This book has been in my TBR for a year. In fact, I’m pretty sure I bought the book at Browseabout Books last time I was in town, looking for a fun read for the beach, but then didn’t read it. I keep moving it from the coffee table in the living room to the short stack of books that I mean to read in the near future, which I brought along with good intentions. MwZ is a quick, fluffy read, for all that the blurb is pretty dour, what with the looming divorce and zombie problems. It works as UF, as long as you don’t ask for in depth characterization or world building. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer might like the series. Despite the violence of the book, which seemed cartoonish rather than realistic, it works as a light read. But I don’t feel any particular urge to pick up the next book of the series, Flip This Zombie. Zombies really aren’t my thing — too young exposure to Night of the Living Dead via a teenaged babysitter who had no grasp of what’s appropriate for an 8 year old.
New York to Dallas by JD Robb
It was one of Eve Dallas’s earliest takedowns back in her uniform days. A monster named Isaac McQueen had been abducting young victims and leaving them scarred in both mind and body. Thanks to Eve, he wound up where he belonged, removed from civilized society in Rikers. But he’s not behind bars anymore.
After his escape, McQueen has two things in mind. One is to take up where he left off, preying on the young and innocent — when necessary, with the help of a female partner all too willing to be manipulated and to aid and abet his crimes. His other goal: to get revenge on teh woman who stopped him all those years ago, now a high-profile lieutenant in the NYPSD and married to one of the city’s richest men.
Commanding Eve’s attention with a chilling and brazen crime, McQueen sets off the chase — forcing Even down a road marked with blood and tears, a road that eventually leads southwest to Dallas, Texas, the home Eve fled long ago. And each new twist brings her closer to the harrowing memory of when she wasn’t a hardened detective but a vulnerable girl just like McQueen’s innocent prey. As her husband, Roarke, tries to rescue her from the nightmares that claw at her mind, and her partner, Peabody, doggedly works to support her, Eve must confront — and call upon — the darkest parts of her own soul in order to survive.
I’ve been reading JD Robb’s books since they were issued in paperback, long before it was widely known that JD Robb was a pseudonym. I think I’ve read all of the books, although I may have missed some of the novellas that are published in anthologies with other authors. I no longer autobuy Roberts’ single titles or series, but I do still autobuy the Eve Dallas “In Death” books. (Can they still be called “In Death” books if the titling convention has changed?) The last book worked as a procedural for me, but a great deal of the personal bits felt stale; the book before felt entirely recycled to me. Of course, the series is now at 32 books plus novellas, so re-using some plot points is perhaps to be expected?
NYtD was NOT recycled, although it did have Dallas confronting someone she’d caught, like in one of the early novella (“Midnight in Death” is the novella taking place over Boxing Day through New Years with nemesis David Palmer). But it was still pretty predictable (IMO) to anyone who’d read the series, especially with the return to Dallas and revisiting Eve’s personal issues. I guessed very early about the big shocking thing that occurred about half or two thirds of the way through the book; I’m not sure if it was just a function of familiarity with the series or Robb telegraphing what was coming. While the relocation to Dallas was necessary, the lack of interaction with Mavis, Feeney, Peabody, etc., really made the book lack for me. While other readers read for Eve/Roarke, I read despite Roarke; while I appreciate the reversal of gender roles between them, I find Roarke’s omnipresence to be oppressive.
Wow, that sounds pretty negative, and New York to Dallas wasn’t a bad book. I think, though, that it may be time for me to take a hiatus from reading the series so I can return to it with a less jaundiced eye.
Headhunters by Jo Nesbo
Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, and he’s a master of his profession. But one career simply can’t support his luxurious lifestyle and his wife’s fledgling art gallery. At an art opening one night he meets Clas Greve, who is not only the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to his financial woes: Greve just so happens to mention that he owns a priceless Peter Paul Rubens painting that’s been lost since World War II — and Roger Brown just so happens to dabble in art theft. But when he breaks into Greve’s apartment, he finds more than just he painting. And Clas Greve may turn out to be with worst thing that’s ever happened to Roger Brown.
I didn’t realize that Nesbo had a stand-alone book coming out until AvidMysteryReader blogged about it. I’ve only read a couple of his Harry Hole books so far. This one…is different. It’s suspense but not a procedural. Its narration is extremely different from the Hole books — all from a single POV, told in first person by Roger Brown. Which colors all the action in the book, of course. Roger is full of hubris, yet desperate and somewhat pathetic, dancing on the edge of disaster in so many ways. On one hand, he’s such an asshat (IMO) that it’s hard to want him to survive the challenges he’s presented with. On the other hand, it’s fascinating to watch him lurch from disaster to safety back to near disaster and again to relative safety.