It’s real easy to completely screw up a zombie story. You wouldn’t think it would be, but it is. Look back at the movie World War Z; it was a real stinker even though the book was phenomenal. A few years ago I came across another zombie story that featured an Egyptian mummy that had also been reincarnated in the great zombie uprising of the early 2000s. That book wasn’t my favorite.
I like my zombie stories straightforward: World War Z (the book), The Walking Dead, that kind of thing. In a zombie outbreak there’s no time to get fancy, there’s no time to ponder the philosophical aspects of the undead, there’s just run and hope for the best as civilization collapses around you.
Some zombie stories make effective use of the zombies as a form of social criticism. As I understand it the hordes of zombies in Night of the Living Dead were meant to spear runaway consumerism and the brainless masses that descend on every new Apple product. Er, every store on Christmas. Other zombie stories take a different route and get down to the nitty gritty of a world gone mad. Imagine taking a shower as a luxury or dreaming of eating luxurious foods like Vienna Sausages. All too often we get ourselves wrapped up in the magical elements of society: clean running water, plentiful food, no one trying to eat us while we go about our business. Those things could easily go away in the wake of a disaster.
That’s the world Darlene Bobich inhabits. Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer opens with the titular character killing her own father after he turns and tries to eat her face. The rest of the book is about Darlene trying to come to grips with her new world. In the end it’s just her, her wits, and her gun against hordes of zombies and the extremely bad people that crop up when society collapses.
This is the literary equivalent of a bottle of good tequila, a pack of smokes, and rough and tumble bar. In other words, great fun. Traditionally zombie stories revolve around a male protagonist trying desperately to be the good guy so it was nice to see a twist where we follow around a woman who’s not trying to save the world, just save herself.
The story jumps around a bit, something noted by another reviewer on Amazon. I found that only added to general feel of confusion and seat-of-your-pants living that the characters in Darlene Bobitch occupied. The only real problem I had with the book was now I need to read more of Armand’s work to find what happens to Darlene and her trusty Desert Eagle.