[review] ROAD TRIP OF THE LIVING DEAD by Mark Henry

Amanda Feral-Celebrity Ghoul, Book 2
Mark Henry
2009, Kensington

Plot Summary: Celebrity party girl Amanda Feral is back from the dead, and hungrier than ever for a good time. With her zombie gal pal Wendy and vampy gay sidekick Gil, this stone cold fox is dressed to kill, on the prowl, and ready to take a big juicy bite out of Seattle’s supernatural nightlife. But what’s a zombie chick to do when her ‘Mommie Dearest’ gets sick? If you’re Amanda Feral, you can either ignore the wicked old witch – or bury the past by visiting Ethel before she kicks it. Amanda’s not thrilled about the idea of crossing three states just to be criticized. But Wendy, who’s always looking for fresh meat, is up for the adventure. And Gil, who just launched his ‘luxury’ resurrection business, needs to disappear because a pissed-off client is out for his blood. First, they pack their stiletto pumps and plasma into a skeevy rattrap on wheels that used to be a Winnebago. Then, with a little help from a Korean-ghost hood ornament, a masochist named Fishhook, and a slew of ‘moderately accurate’ psychics, they hit the highway – their way. Of course, they’ll have to navigate past some neo-Nazi skinheads, a horny dust devil, a hunky werewolf cop (who could pass for an underwear model) and an unsightly horde of supermarket shoppers. But for this glamorous gang of ghouls this trip is about to take a dangerous detour that could give road kill a brand new meaning. [Amazon]

Creature Feature: Zombies, vampires, werewolves and ghosts.

Characterization:  In Road Trip, we get some deeper insight into Amanda’s past and see a bit beyond her steely facade to someone who has obviously had some hard knocks in life.  But she is determined to lock those moments away and rise above by using her intellect to solve life’s puzzles and her snarky attitude as a protective mechanism.

Originality:  Non-shambling, fashion forward, gainfully employed zombies?  I think that is pretty original.  I am also a fan of the footnotes and insets.  Because this is a memoir, I think they lend an Amanda-as-confidante and tour guide quality to the narrative.

Storytelling:  Mr. Henry excels at setting and description using all of the senses to punctuate the funny, gross and scary moments.  The plot meandered a bit but this is a much more character driven than plot driven series and the characters are certainly interesting enough.

Badass Factor:  With a taste for flesh and an unhingeable jaw, Amanda is inherently badass although not indiscriminate about her meals.  She usually hunts derelicts and the indigent unless cornered and needs to kill in self defense.

TSTL Moments (Too Stupid to Live):  Amanda is too aware of her surroundings and too savvy to really have TSTL moments.  Usually the mayhem is brought upon her by her friends or circumstance.

Notable Quotes:  There are too many for me to pick just one, so I picked one of my favorite chapter quotes instead.

Chapter 13 Road Games and Gamey Discussion

Genuinely weird celebrities are rarely among the undead.  You’d imagine Tim Burton might be hiding a zombie secret, or his wife, Helena Bonham Carter, for that matter.  Not so, or at least, not yet.

Celebrity Gas Chamber with Lola LeGrave

Buy/Borrow/By-pass:  Buy.  Mr. Henry is writing some of the most unique and satirical work in the genre.  Road Trip of the Living Dead is a detour from the usual fare that will have you simultaneously laughing and cringeing all the way from Washington to South Dakota.  Installment number three, Battle of the Network Zombies, is scheduled for release in March, 2010.

Mark Henry’s Website

Mark Henry’s Blog

League of Reluctant Adults

Lisa Trevethan

3 comments on “[review] ROAD TRIP OF THE LIVING DEAD by Mark Henry

  1. Lisa–great review! I think you’re right about the plot being character driven, as well as about Amanda’s growth. In _Happy Hour_, Amanda was someone I loved watching but couldn’t imagine actually wanting to get to know in real life. In _Road Trip_, I could almost imagine her being the kind of zombie I could get together for coffee with. Almost. (I am definitely not up to Amanda’s fashion standards. *g*)

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