Flip This Zombie (Living with the Dead Series #2)by Jesse Petersen, Cassandra Campbell
The zombie apocalypse has been good to Sarah and David. Their marriage is better than ever. They communicate well, share responsibilities, and now, they're starting a business. ZombieBusters-for all your zombie extermination needs.There are lots of zombies and that means lots of customers . . . Except one of them doesn't want the zombies dead; he wants them alive
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The zombie apocalypse has been good to Sarah and David. Their marriage is better than ever. They communicate well, share responsibilities, and now, they're starting a business. ZombieBusters-for all your zombie extermination needs.There are lots of zombies and that means lots of customers . . . Except one of them doesn't want the zombies dead; he wants them alive and ready for experimentation. Mad scientists make for difficult clients, and this time Sarah and David might have bitten off more than they can chew.
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Flip this Zombie
By Petersen, Jesse
OrbitCopyright © 2011 Petersen, Jesse
All right reserved.
Do what you love and the zombies will follow.
When the zombie plague struck, I was just an office schlub. You know the type. I was a coffee-fetching, doing-the-work-and-getting-no-credit, screamed-at-by-suits kind of girl who hated every damn second of her dead-end job. Well, I still have a dead-end job… undead end, I guess is more accurate. But instead of working for the man, I work for myself. So I guess the lesson is that if you find work that’s meaningful, that you love, you can start your own business and make it successful.
So what’s my job?
Zombiebusters Extermination, Inc at your service.
My husband David suggested we add the “Inc” to make it seem more professional. I guess in the old days we would have had a website and all that, too, but now none of that exists anymore, at least not in the badlands where the zombies still roam free.
I have to say, I liked being in business for myself and I liked working with my husband as my partner. The zombie apocalypse had been surprisingly good for our marriage (sounds weird, I know, but it’s true) and since we escaped Seattle a few months before, we’d been doing great.
But that isn’t to say the whole “not working for the man” thing didn’t have its disadvantages. Which is something we were discussing as we drove down a lonely stretch of dusty highway in Arizona. Why Arizona? Well, it was November and fucking freezing anywhere else. So we did what old people had been doing for generations and snowbirded our asses down South. I figured when the weather got better up North, we’d decide what to do next.
“Why did we take another job from Jimmy?” Dave asked with annoyance lacing his voice.
I looked up from the business book I was reading. We’d looted it and about twenty more from a bookstore a few weeks back. I was all about making this work, you see. Someday, I would be the Donald Trump or Bill Gates of zombie killing. Only with better hair, obviously.
“Um, we took a job from Jimmy because he pays,” I said.
Dave shot me a side glance that was filled with incredulity. “Not well. Last time I think he gave us a six-pack and we killed three zombies for his chicken-ass.”
I laughed. “Hey, that’s two brews per zombie. Anyway, he trades with everyone and brings us new business at least once a week. He may not pay us as well as… well… anyone else, but think of it as brand building.”
“My ass.” Dave didn’t even smile. “He has a lot of shit stockpiled in his basement, I know he does. This time before we start, we should tell that asshole we want payment up front. Medical supplies and some canned goods.”
I tossed my book in the back of the van.
Oh, didn’t I mention it? We drive a van. Dave likes to call it the Mystery Machine because it’s totally circa 1975, but it runs like a gem and is heavy enough to do some push work when needed. Plus, I had way too much fun painting “Zombiebusters Exterminators, Inc” on the side and “Who Ya Gonna Call?” on the back.
That one always gets a chuckle since there’s no way to call anyone anymore. If people want us, they have to post notes in the survivor camps and we go looking for them. Trust me, sometimes by the time we’ve gotten to a job, there hasn’t been anyone left to pay us. I always feel kind of badly about that, but seriously, if you haven’t figured out how to protect yourself after three months of zombie hell… well, you sort of deserve what you get.
“Look, you’re the muscle in this operation,” I said as I settled back in my seat and slung my booted feet onto the dash. As I flicked a little piece of brains left over after our last job from the toe, I continued, “If you want to strong-arm the guy up front, be my guest.”
We were approaching our destination now and Dave slowly maneuvered the vehicle off the highway into the area of what was once southern Phoenix. There were signs of zombie activity everywhere here, both from the initial outbreak in the city and more recently. Black sludge pooled in the gutters and blood streaked the walls of buildings. It was all so commonplace to us, we didn’t really see it anymore. Nor did we flinch when a single zombie stepped into a crosswalk ahead of us.
He lurched forward, his right hand missing and his arm on the same side waving in a disconnected way as he moved. He had fresh blood on his chin and he grunted and groaned loudly enough that we could hear him even with the windows partly up.
We watched him make his slow cross for a bit, both of us staring with bored disinterest. Then Dave gunned the engine.
The sound made the zombie turn and he stared at us with his blank, dead, red eyes that never quite focused. Still, he seemed to recognize the potential for food on some primal level and he let out a roar.
Dave floored the van at the same time the zombie started a half-assed jog toward us. We collided mid-intersection and the zombie, gooey and rotting, took the brunt of the impact. His skin split, sending gore and guts flying from the seams of his torn clothing to splatter on our hood and the ground around the van. He lay half-wrapped around our bumper, staring up at us as he squealed and clawed along the metal of the hood like he could somehow hoist himself up and get to us, even though his lower body was probably gone.
“Want me to take care of that?” I asked as I reached in the back for an axe.
“No way,” Dave said. “And let you get ahead on Death Count?”
I laughed as he changed gears and rolled back in reverse. The zombie fell backward and disappeared from view until my husband got far enough away. Sure enough, his lower half was gone, split off from the initial impact of the “accident.”
Dave lined up the wheel of the van and rolled forward again. He didn’t stop until we felt the satisfying rock of hitting the zombie skull and popping it like a melon.
Once that was done, Dave put the van in neutral. He pulled his knife from his waistband and carefully etched a new hash mark on the steering wheel, which was already covered in crevices and digs from previous kills. Pretty soon we were going to have to move on to the door.
“That’s another one for the Mystery Machine.” When I laughed, he looked at me. “So if I’m the muscle of the operation,” he said, returning to our earlier conversation, “what does that make you?”
“Silly,” I laughed. “I’m the braaaaains, of course. And the beauty.”
I fluffed my hair as he threw the van in first and we roared toward our first job of the week.
Fire-bombing had been the way our government had dealt with the zombie plague. Whole cities wiped out without warning and without waiting to see if there were survivors as the military kept its troops in the air rather than on the ground, where they could become undead soldiers.
Phoenix hadn’t escaped this “final solution” mentality any more than Seattle or L.A. or San Diego had. While some parts in the south end of the city were still partially intact, the downtown area itself was a mass of twisted burned metal and half walls.
Despite that, downtown was where Jimmy No-Toes lived. Why No-Toes? Other than that he had no toes on his left foot, I have no fucking idea.
“Watch yourself,” David muttered as he cut the van’s engine and looked at the burned-out building our “employer” for the day called home.
It had once been a barber shop, I guess, and Jimmy had found it hilarious to paint the old-fashioned barber’s pole with black blood and sludge from dead zombies. Most of whom we had killed, by the way.
I pulled my pistol from the back of my waistband as I opened up the passenger door and both of us checked around us. Guns were a great way to dispose of zombies, but the sound brought others running to check it out, so whenever possible we used other tools.
David pulled open the back of the van and I looked inside at our arsenal, collected over the past few months and tested tried and true (seriously, we should have made a stamp for these things that said SARAH AND DAVID APPROVED! Maybe next apocalypse, huh?).
“What does my lady prefer for today?” Dave asked as he flipped his hand palm side up and gestured to the weaponry before me like he was Vanna Fucking White.
I stared at the cornucopia of choices stacked and hung in the back of the van.
“Well, the scythe is always fun,” I mused. “But unwieldy in tight places like Jimmy always calls us to. Same thing with the chainsaw, and it stalled the last time I used it in Mesa Verde, which was almost very bad.”
David flinched at the memory. “True. How about an axe?”
I tilted my head as I examined the gleaming blade of my favorite axe. “No, not today. Just not in the mood for that, or the sword.”
Dave’s eyes lit up. “Wait. I know what you want.”
I gave him a look as he took off around to the driver’s side back door of the van. In a second, he was back and he was brandishing the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
“I call it the home-run-you-through,” he said as he held out a heavy wooden baseball bat that had a long, wicked sharp spearhead firmly attached to the end by some kind of metal twine. “And I’m copyrighting that as soon as we find a patent office, so no trying to rip me off.”
I grinned as I reached out to take the bat. It was balanced perfectly and would do the job of both smashing and stabbing zombie heads nicely.
“You do know what to get a girl for Christmas,” I murmured as I put my handgun back in my waistband and stepped back to perform a few practice swings and stabs in the air.
“Oh no, baby,” Dave said as he grabbed a machete and shoved his shotgun into the sling around his back. “This isn’t half as cool as what I have planned for our first zombie Christmas.”
I laughed, but the sound faded as he shut the double back doors of the van and we faced Jimmy’s barber shop. “Want to do this?”
Dave nodded and we inched forward, ever at the ready. The door to the shop was locked, but the glass around it had been broken, rendering the lock useless anyway, even to a really stupid zombie. Dave rolled his eyes and reached through to throw the latch and let us in.
Jimmy had no toes, but I should also mention he wasn’t exactly brainy, either. Probably why he was constantly asking for our help. He could find a pod of zombies better than anyone I’ve ever met, but he was too lazy or dim-witted or both to do anything about it.
“Jimmy?” David called out into the dusty dark of the front room of the barbershop. “Hey, it’s ZBE, Inc!”
I rolled my eyes. “God damn it,” I whispered. “That isn’t what we call ourselves.”
He never looked at me, just kept moving forward. “It’s a perfectly legitimate shortening of our name and I think it’s catchy.”
“We have a fucking brand to maintain here, David,” I insisted. “All the marketing books say—”
I didn’t finish because off to my right I heard a faint scrape. Both of us spun toward it, weapons lifted.
“Fucking Jimmy, if that’s you come out or you’ll be shish kabob in about three seconds,” I snapped.
There was a low, entirely unzombie-like chuckle and then Jimmy himself stood up from behind a bank of barber chairs. He had long, unkempt hair and I could smell him from across the room. And it isn’t like anyone could take a long, hot, fabulous, steamy shower with shower gel and shampoo and conditioner that smelled like lilac and… oh, sorry, had a moment of fantasy there… but most of us had figured out how to freshen up in the worst of circumstances.
Not Jimmy, though I doubted he’d been much of a hygiene freak even when the world was normal.
“Nothing turns me on more than hearing you two bicker. How’s the make-up sex?” he said with a laugh.
I wrinkled my nose. “You are the most disgusting human being I’ve ever met.”
He bowed slightly, greasy hair falling over his face for a moment and blocking out the crooked, dirty teeth and the scraggly beard that completed the picture.
“Pleased for the compliment.”
“Asshole,” David muttered.
Jimmy laughed again, finishing it up with a wet, sickly cough that made me frown. As much as I disliked the guy, the fact that he always sounded like he was on the edge of keeling over worried me. There weren’t many of us humans left in the badlands, we had to do everything we could to stay alive.
“So what do you need, No-Toes?” I asked with a sigh. “We saw your note in the Sun Devil camp. It said something about a pod?”
The jovial quality to Jimmy’s dirty face faded and his bloodshot eyes went wide and, to my surprise, filled with fear. His hands shook as he gripped the back of one of the barber’s chairs.
“Y-Yeah, but this ain’t no ordinary pod, Sarah,” he said with a shake of his head. “There’s something different.”
“Different?” David said with an incredulous lift of his eyebrows. “What the hell do you mean, different? Zombies are already pretty different.”
Jimmy shook his head quickly. “But these are… bigger. And faster.”
“Jimmy,” Dave sighed in exasperation. “What the fuck have you been drinkin’, man?”
“Naw, it’s not that,” Jimmy insisted as he came out from behind the chairs and hurried toward my husband with outreached hands. Both of us flinched at the increased stench in the air that wafted ahead of him. “I swear, dude. These ones, when they look at you… it’s like they see you.”
Dave shot me a look that said he thought Jimmy was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but I wasn’t so sure. He looked genuinely afraid and not in the normal “I saw a zombie and I’m too lazy to kill it myself” way.
“So where did you see these… these… bionic zombies?” I asked.
Jimmy turned on me, his neck craning as he jerked out a quick series of nods. “Yeah, bionic. That’s right!”
“Where did you see them?” I repeated softly.
“Near that church by where the convention center used to be downtown,” he muttered and then let out a shiver.
I nodded. The governmental bombing had destroyed most of the buildings in the main downtown area, but the church, which was actually called St. Mary’s Basilica, had remained standing. Religious nuts called it a sign and kept trying to go there to pray or whatever, which of course brought the zombies there in droves to feed. They might as well have changed the name to St. Mary’s Feed Trough and started taking reservations from the zombie horde.
Would they require a jacket and tie for that?
I sighed. “Okay, we’ll check it out.”
Dave shot me a look, but my expression kept him from saying anything to me. He shook his head. “Yeah, but we’re going to need to get paid this time.”
All Jimmy’s fear fled his face and he looked at Dave like he was the picture of innocence. He had the gall to sound affronted when he said, “Of course. I always pay.”
“Six beers for three zombies is not a fair trade fucking system, No-Toes,” Dave barked. “We get paid in food, medical supplies, ammo, all kinds of shit by everyone else but you.”
I couldn’t help but smile. Yeah, my baby was an ass-kicker. Gotta love that in a guy. Jimmy didn’t seem to, though. His face darkened with fear again and just a touch of anger.
“I don’t got nothing else,” he insisted.
Dave moved forward. “Look, you little looting scum, I know you keep finding pods because you’re hauling all over gathering up shit to trade at the survivor camps. You can’t say anything that’s going to make me believe otherwise. And this time I want payment up front or no killy the zombies, bud.”
Jimmy shot me a look as if he hoped I might take his side in all this, but I just shrugged as I flicked a piece of lint off the blade at the end of my baseball bat. Finally his shoulders slumped.
“Fine,” he said. “I’ll go get you some shit now and I’ll give you some more when you come back with zombie heads.”
Dave smiled, ignoring Jimmy’s muttering of all kinds of slurs as he turned on his heel and headed toward the doors that led to the basement area where he kept his stash.
“Nice,” I muttered when he was out of earshot. “Very brawn, not brains of you.”
“He’s finally fucking cracked,” Dave said with a shake of his head. He paced around the cramped barber shop restlessly. “Bionic zombies? And thank you, by the way, for encouraging him with that little label.”
“You saw his face, though,” I said as I stared where our little friend had disappeared. “I think he’s genuinely scared.”
“No way.” Dave shook his head. “He’s probably just high. Or drunk. Or both.”
“He certainly reeks of it, but I don’t think so,” I said. “Whatever he saw, he believes it’s real. Are we going to check it out?”
Dave chuckled as we heard Jimmy coming back in the distance. “Of course we’re going to fucking check it out. We’re the Zombiebusters, aren’t we?”
Excerpted from Flip this Zombie by Petersen, Jesse Copyright © 2011 by Petersen, Jesse. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Meet the Author
Jesse Petersen is the author of several books, among them the Living with the Dead series and the short story collection In the Dead: Volume 1.
Actress and director Cassandra Campbell has narrated nearly two hundred audiobooks and has received multiple Audie Awards and more than twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman.
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I am truly enjoying every word of this series! Hurry & join the fun!!!!
Funny book you won't want to put down!
This is the second installment of the Life and Times of Zombie fighting Sarah and David: two people madly in love with each other fighting zombies while trying to find a place to just take a nice clean shower. They are starting to have a nack for getting into trouble, and this time I think they are way over their head. What's worse than a Zombie? A Mad scientist making more Zombies!!! Can Sarah and David fight Zombies, kids, A mad scientist AND each other??!!
Really enjoyed this book
Loved book 1, love book 2 even more.
Another book that was good!! It started off rather slow for my taste, it seemed as if the two were getting nowhere, and then the scientist, etc completely threw me off. I'm glad I continued reading this!! Ended up being a very enjoyable book!! Now off to start Eat, Slay, Love!
Flip this Zombie By: Jesse Petersen Copyright January 2011 Publisher - Orbit Fantasy Sarah and David's marriage had been in the toilet, and then the Zombie Apocalypse hit the country. They decided that it was their job to rid the world of zombies and formed a company for just that purpose. Zombiebusters Extermination, Inc. The Inc. was David's idea, to make them appear more professional. Sarah went from being a bit shy around weapons to becoming a virtual killing machine with any hand weapon available to her. They are spending the night at one of the safe zones and find a message left for them by a potential client. After debating the possibilities of the job they decide to take it. Little did they know that the Mad Scientist who they signed on with had a lot more than their welfare in mind. Thus begins book two of the Living With the Dead series. If you like comedy, zombies, lots of heavy weapons and marriage infighting this is the book for you. I'm looking forward to Eat Slay Love, the third book in this comedic rampage across middle America and the fight for Food, Fun, and the end to all Zombies. FTC Full Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library with the full intent of reviewing it.e