I recently borrowed Dead Mann Walking by Stephan Petrucha, a comic book writer who worked on The Walking Dead, from the library, and actually finished it. I know, what? More than the feat of actually finishing a book, because lately that has been a hard road to hoe, I actually enjoyed it as well. Bonus.
Dead Mann Walking is the story of Hessius Mann a zombie detective. That is, he’s a zombie who used to be a cop and is now a detective for zombies and anyone else who will pay. At some point in the not too distant future, a way to eternal life emerges, a miracle, people can be brought back to life. Wrongful convictions don’t mean permanent death and those wrongly killed at the hands of the State are brought back to life, including Mann who was exonerated after being wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder.
But then people realize that the dead brought back to life start to decompose after a time, they don’t feel pain like a liveblood and some of them even go feral. The new type of being is called Chakz and they don’t have the same rights as those with blood rushing through their veins. Mann lives and works in a condemned building, he cleans his wounds with bleach and super glues broken bones back together.
One day the Eggman (not his real name, it’s the name Mann comes up with to remember that he has a client) shows up at Mann’s door with a proposition, find a Chakz for him and the Eggman will give Mann a lot of money, but he needs the zombie detective on the case right away. Mann sets off to find the lost Chakz and discovers the case is more complicated than he first thought, which is a problem. Mann used to have a photographic memory, but since he has been brought back from the dead his brain is not as sharp as it used to be so he uses a recording device, that is, if he can remember where he put it.
It took me a bit to get into the book as I’m not the world’s biggest zombie genre lover, but once I got into the thick of things, the story really picked up and takes off faster than a half faced zombie’s feral run. Petrucha’s writing is excellent and his universe well plotted. Personally, I liked that the zombie apocalypse happens because of science. That depending on their emotional state the zombies have different states of being. It’s not just monsters eating people.
I also loved all the twists and turns the story took. I tried to figure things out before Mann since he has a bad memory and all. Unfortunately, as the narrator he also forgets to tell parts of the story, so while I figured out a few things, there were twists I didn’t figure out before they happened. Which I love! Mann does solve a mystery or two in this book, but there are a lot of questions left at the end which is why I practically ran to the library to get the second book in the series.