Lavanya Karthik: Lavanya is from Mumbai, India and is a licensed
architect and consultant in environmental management. She lives in
Mumbai with her husband and six-year old daughter. She loves reading
and enjoys a diverse range of authors across genres.
Author: Stefan Petrucha
Publisher: RoC Books
Stefan Petrucha could well be regarded something of an authority on the undead. His previous books, Blood Prophecy and Breaking Down – a razor sharp parody of Stephenie Meyer’s word- heavy best seller – were both successful explorations of the vampire genre. With Dead Mann Walking , he rewrites the rulebook of all things zombie .
Hessius Mann is, to paraphrase the book’s cover, dead but still kicking. Brought to life after being wrongly executed for the murder of his wife, Mann is doomed to a life of immortality, fitful memory and the very real possibility of becoming an oozer, a dangler or just going feral in the best traditions of a George Romero chompfest. He spends his time moonlighting as a detective, keeping his secretary away from drugs and his reanimated body in one piece. He isn’t alone – Mann is one of thousands of people revived by a new chemical process that the American government enthusiastically endorses, before common sense – and some nasty side effects- kick in, and the nation is now knee deep in revived relatives and beloved pets that no one wants around anymore. Striding the twilight zone between terrified livebloods and shantytowns brimming with the abandoned undead (called chakz), Mann is one of the lucky ones – in possession of both an intact body (that he strengthens when required with office supplies) and enough of an intelligence to function among the living.
On the trail of a missing chak who is heir to a considerable fortune, Mann finds himself in the middle of a far more sinister plot. Someone is out hunting and dismembering chakz, and keeping their heads for souvenirs. And they just might have something to do with the murder of his wife as well. Mann’s trail leads him into a ghoulish underworld where chakz – men, women, even children- are preyed on by humans ; in a world of animated corpses, the real monsters are all human.
Dead Mann Walking is gritty stuff – well written, gripping, darkly humorous and very disturbing. Mann is a strange hero –troubled , irrevocably doomed , quite literally without a life, yet wonderfully humane. Author Petrucha also makes you think - his zombies could be a metaphor for just about any marginalized group in a paranoid society that has faced suspicion, stereotyping and oppression. As their unlikely champion, Mann looks set to go some interesting and thought provoking places, and I look forward to see him go where no fictional zombie has before.