Zombie, Ohio

Posted: 08/16/2011 in Books

Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore

Zombie, Ohio is a story told through the eyes of a zombie. I picked this one up based on the review of my buddy, Patrick Ray over at Zombie Files, but I have to admit that I went in really skeptical. You see, I’ve had bad experiences with stories that represent the zombie point of view. The movie, Colin, is one of my least favorite zombie movies of all time. Currently, the only thing stopping it from occupying the absolute bottom of the Zombie Movie Night Standings is the unbelievable awful Motocross Zombies from Hell (which I believe was written and directed by alcoholic monkeys). I find that zombie POV stories typically suffer from one of two problems: 1) They can be incredibly boring (Colin) and attempt to beat you over the head with social commentary (who are the real zombies, really??? Bleh!) or 2) the zombie we’re following has supernatural powers (see: Woke Up Dead or Xombie: Dead on Arrival). Let me state this for the record: zombies should never have super powers, what makes zombies scary is a combination of sheer force of numbers, unrelenting motivation, and the fact that your Mom now wants to eat your face. If you want an undead creature with super-powers, go find yourself a vampire. So naturally, I was extremely surprised when Zombie, Ohio turned out to be one of the best zombie books I’ve read to date.

THE GOOD: First off, Ohio is really well written. It’s smart and funny. I found myself using the dictionary feature on the Kindle quite a few times (I like learning new words, you may not feel the same). It’s certainly not boring and our undead main character, Peter, possesses no super powers (though he does at times take advantage of his zombie characteristics). Kenemore crafts a pitch-perfect story that is at times a drama, a coming-of-age story, a horror novel, an epic rise to power, a murder mystery, and a romance. Ohio sucked me right in every time I picked it up to the point where I became upset when life interfered and I had to stop reading.

THE BAD: Ohio is a fairly long book (as far as zombie novels go), but it is broken up into only three chapters. It’s more a style issue, I suppose, but I did find it difficult to stop and then pick it back up. It seemed that I’d always have to read back a bit to remember where I was. Some more frequent, natural breaks may have made it easier for someone who typically has to read in short bursts like I do.

THE UGLIES: Herein lies the beauty of Ohio. Kenemore was able to create a zombie POV that made sense and was not at all contrived. The zombies are classic Romero shamblers. They can’t run or move any faster than their decaying bodies will allow. Anyone who dies with a brain intact rises as a zombie. Peter appears to be an anomaly in that he is still sentient, though other zombies seem to have varying levels of intelligence. A good part of the story is Peter trying to find out and come to terms with why he is the way he is.

THE VERDICT: Like I said, Zombie, Ohio is now one of my favorite zombie novels (hanging out with The Last Mailman, Ex-Heroes, Dead Tropics, and Hollowland). It’s a truly entertaining, fantastic read. You can pick up the Kindle edition on Amazon for 2 bucks (which is double what I usually like to pay for zombie books, but definitely well worth it). It’s gets a gold-plated platinum recommendation and 27 out of 27 stars.

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Comments
  1. […] of the zombies are smarter than most. I like this concept (it was done especially well in the novel Zombie, Ohio). There’s a fairly nice payoff at the end of the movie, but it still feels as if the idea […]

  2. […] do think that you have better options if you want to read a novel about smart zombies (Zombie, Ohio) or a romance set in the apocalypse (Dead […]

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