Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski

KozeniewskiBraineaterJonesWhy I Read It: With a title like that, how could I turn it down?

Where I Got It: A review copy from the publisher (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Haha! Well, anyone who needs a mystery, a laugh, and some questionable humor.

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing (2013)

Length: 234 pages

Series: I really hope there is more to come…..

Author’s Page

A man wakes face down in a pool, staring at some submerged stone figures. Then he starts to notice things – like his lack of need for breath and the gaping hole in his chest. Eventually, he finds himself under a bridge with cardboard for a best friend. And that is when the other homeless name him Braineater while trying to kick the crap out of him. As he can’t remember who or what he was before waking up a zombie, he calls himself Braineater Jones. Of course, he wants to solve the mystery of his death and this leads him into the seedier side of life in 1934 Smalltown, America (actually a place called Ganesh). Prohibition is on it’s wobbly way out, but alas, is still in effect for his little town of other walking dead. So of course, he takes up a small apartment above the only speak easy for his kind as booze is the only thing that holds off the eventual dementia and brain cravings all of his kind suffer.

This was a fun romp through a small slice of history and the more indelicate side to being a walking, talking corpse. Taking elements from the Prohibition Era and detective noir, Kozeniewski has come up with something original. Filled with zombie humor and fast-paced, I looked forward to reading a few chapters each night. Braineater’s humor was also amusing, being a bit rough and crude. Hey, when you can inadvertently scratch a body part off while idly considering a bug on the ceiling the humor is bound to be a little crude.

In a neighborhood where one can be separated from one’s body parts, and still be able to wiggle them, the local cathouse has got to have a few new twists, right? I won’t give away anything, but I was not expecting that, nor was Braineater. So I had fun being surprised and a little wierded out with him. Specialty doctors can be paid to keep the dead looking recently deceased. And the living have an interest in the walking dead, sometimes leading to less than necessary experiments. Whatever turns a person zombie isn’t limited to the full-grown either – just check out The Old Man who runs the show at the zombie speak easy. There’s a reason he resides in a jar folks.

If I have any complaints, it is that the women had limited and predictable roles. While there are stereotypes for women of the 1930s, I had hoped that one or more of those ladies would have something more going on, something to surprise Braineater. But perhaps he couldn’t handle any more surprises in this book. Still, the language used in the book, such as the various words for one kind of woman or another, reflects the time period and that added to the detective noir ambiance of the book.

As the description of the book notes, there is a talking head sidekick (Alcibe) for part of the novel. Ever seen a talking zombie head eat? Hehe….yeah, don’t try to picture that. Alcibe had some of the most amusing circumstances, since he really only had the ability to kind of shrug-walk on his neck stump – or roll around.

I also liked that one of the characters swung one way in his breathing life and another way in his zombie life. The fluid sexuality of this character was handled well, and was really just a side note that simply added to the character, instead of overshadowing him.

Towards the end of the novel, the plot really ramps up. Braineater has been facing more than one opponent and he finally untangles the different threads of the mystery. His short stature doesn’t keep him from taking the challenge to the most nefarious of his opponents. And no, I was not expecting that ending but I quite liked it. And I want more. I really hope this is simply Book 1 in a series.

What I Liked: The cover; zombie bits and pieces – ugh!; booze keeps the zombies fresh and sane; the detective noir element; the ending was great; bisexuality is no big deal; the crude humor fit right in; the ending was satisfying.

What I Disliked: The women had predictable roles.

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