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My Life as a White Trash Zombie: A White Trash Zombie Novel
     

My Life as a White Trash Zombie: A White Trash Zombie Novel

4.2 68
by Diana Rowland
 

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Horror meets humorous urban fantasy in first book of the White Trash Zombie series • Winner of the 2012 Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist by the RT Awards

Angel Crawford is a Loser.

Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record

Overview

Horror meets humorous urban fantasy in first book of the White Trash Zombie series • Winner of the 2012 Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist by the RT Awards

Angel Crawford is a Loser.

Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.

That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in a horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the county morgue—and that it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse.

Before she knows it she's dealing wth a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey—just when she's hungriest!

Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn't, she's dead meat.

Literally.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An intriguing mystery and a hilarious mix of the horrific and mundane aspects of zombie life open a promising new series from Rowland (Secrets of the Demon). Angel Crawford, a high school dropout on probation for possession of a stolen car, wakes up in a hospital with a confused memory of horrible injuries now mysteriously vanished and an anonymous benefactor setting her up with a job at the local morgue. Angel's problems with her alcoholic father, petty-criminal boyfriend Randy, handsome cop Marcus, and obnoxious co-worker Nick are overshadowed by her new appetite for the brains of the corpses she handles. Then Angel encounters a trio of odd deaths and starts tracking a serial killer with a habit of beheading his victims. Humor and gore are balanced by surprisingly touching moments as Angel tries to turn her (un)life around. (July)
From the Publisher
Praise for the White Trash Zombie series:

“Rowland is a hilarious writer, and her White Trash Zombie series shines in a crowded genre.” —USA Today
 
“An incredibly fun series, and a breath of fresh air in an increasingly crowded field.... While there's no denying that the basic premise is fascinating and entertaining, the real draw here is Angel's personal journey of growth and self-discovery.” —Tor.com

“Uber-talented Rowland takes a break from her Demon series to produce a wonderful story with a zombie heroine who is endearing and engaging. This unique twist on a coming-of-age story explores a young woman’s journey toward self-acceptance in the face of long odds. Throw in the need for brains and a nasty serial killer and presto—you have the recipe for a terrific read!” —RT Book Reviews
 
“An intriguing mystery and a hilarious mix of the horrific and mundane aspects of zombie life open a promising new series from Rowland.... Humor and gore are balanced by surprisingly touching moments as Angel tries to turn her (un)life around.” —Publishers Weekly

“Rowland’s delightful novel jumps genre lines with a little something for everyone—mystery, horror, humor, and even a smattering of romance. Not to be missed—all that’s required is a high tolerance for gray matter. For true zombiephiles, of course, that’s a no brainer.” —Library Journal

“Blending very mild horror, humor and mystery, I was hooked from the start. Both urban fantasy and zombie fans will enjoy this highly entertaining novel. Full of suspense, drama, and several surprising twists, this is one zombie story I couldn’t get enough of.” —Sci Fi Chick

“Angel will make you laugh out loud, and she will also make you come close to losing your lunch. After all, these are creatures that suck down pureed brains for a pick-me-up.... Angel is a distinct character, and she has grown through the series.” —Kings River Life Magazine

“Equally gross and heartwarming, disgusting and riveting, My Life as a White Trash Zombie is a clever read. If you like to see a flawed heroine pull herself back up, and can handle visceral imagery, it’s a brilliant book. Fans of Carolyn Crane, Stacia Kane and Allison Pang will dig on this one. Big time.” —Vampirebookclub.net

Library Journal
Angel Crawford is the very essence of white trash—an unemployed, drug-addicted high school dropout and convicted felon who lives in a Louisiana swamp shack with her alcoholic father. But her life changes the day she wakes up in the hospital with dim memories of a car crash and an all-consuming hunger for—you guessed it!—brains. Awaiting her is a note instructing her to report to the morgue for her new job as a coroner's van driver along with a case of "energy drinks" (containing brains). Angel has been transformed into a zombie, and this is the beginning of her journey from white trash loser into self-sufficient modern woman. Rowland's delightful novel jumps genre lines with a little something for everyone—mystery, horror, humor, and even a smattering of romance. Not to be missed—all that's required is a high tolerance for gray matter. For true zombiephiles, of course, that's a no brainer.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101516591
Publisher:
DAW
Publication date:
07/05/2011
Series:
White Trash Zombie Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
106,017
File size:
459 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

“You should be dead,” the ER nurse stated as she adjusted something on my IV. She was more husky than fat, with too much eye makeup, and hair that had been dyed a nasty shade of reddish orange. When I didn’t immediately respond she glanced my way, as if to assure herself that I really was awake and aware. “You realize that, right?” she demanded. “You’re pretty damn lucky to be alive.”

“Um…okay,” I muttered. Beneath the sheet I ran a hand over my stomach, frowned. “Have I been in a coma or something?” I asked.

Her thin lips pinched together. “A coma? No. You were brought in a few hours ago.” She paused, set her hands on her hips. “You overdosed.”

I scrubbed a hand over my face, shook my head. “No, I was in a car accident,” I insisted. “I remember being injured.” Didn’t I? “I was bleeding,” I added, less certain as I ran my hand over the unbroken skin of my stomach again.

She gave a dismissive snort. “There’s not a scratch on you. You must have hallucinated it.” Her eyes narrowed with contempt and disapproval. I didn’t care. I was used to seeing that when people looked at me.

Glass and blood and metal. A broken body beside me. Teeth and hunger. Gobbets of flesh ripped away….

Cold sweat broke out on the back of my neck. How could that have been a hallucination? Hallucinations were strange and hazy and jumbled. I knew. I’d had a few.

Making an annoyed noise in the back of her throat, she snagged the chart from the end of the bed. “Unknown white female. Hmmm. Do you remember your name, sweetheart?” She flicked her eyes back up to me and gave me a sugary-bitchy smile that didn’t have an ounce of true concern in it.

“Yeah, I know my damn name,” I snarled. “It’s Angel Crawford.” I wanted to add, And you can write it down with the pencil that’s stuck up your ass, but I managed to hold it back. I knew that nurses had the power to make your life suck worse than it already did, and it was clear that this bitch considered me to be one step away from starring in my own loser reality show. Screw her. I was at least two steps away.

The nurse gave a sniff as if she didn’t truly believe I was smart or sober enough to know who I was. “Let’s see what all was in your system—THC, hydrocodone, alprazolam, oxycodone….” She rattled off a couple of other drug names that sounded long and scary while I scowled blackly at her. After she finished she gave me a look full of smug satisfaction, hung the chart back up and left the room in a pompous waddle before I could respond. Good thing too, because what I wanted to say to her would have been too much even for a Jerry Springer special.

My anger withered as soon as she was gone, overwhelmed by my confusion and sick fear. I lifted the sheet up to see for myself—again—that I was uninjured.
I struggled to make sense of it. I remembered the blood. Lots of it. There’d been some sort of long gash across my stomach, and I had a nauseating memory of seeing the jagged end of white bone poking from my thigh, blood pumping out and all over. But now there was nothing out of place. No scrapes, no bruises. Just perfectly normal flesh all over. A coma could explain that, right? A couple of months or so, enough time for me to heal up.

Except that I didn’t have any scars, either.

Sighing, I dropped my head back to the pillow. I hadn’t been in a coma. The nurse wasn’t lying or messing with my head.

No, I was simply a loser.

Overdose. Great. Well, this was a new low for me, and it didn’t help that it was totally believable. The only possibly shocking aspect was that it hadn’t happened sooner. I didn’t remember taking as many drugs as the bitch nurse had said, but the fact that I was in the ER was proof enough that I obviously had. The nurse hadn’t gone and altered my lab results either. I did that all by myself, the old-fashioned way.

Weary depression rolled over me as I stared at the speckled tile of the ceiling. Beyond the door I could hear the frenzy of a stretcher being wheeled by and voices raised in brief concern. I knew what would happen next. Some social worker or psychologist would come in and tell me I needed rehab or counseling or some crap like that, which was a stupid suggestion since I didn’t have money or insurance. Or worse, I’d get a seventy-two-hour commitment for “psychiatric evaluation,” since I was clearly a danger to myself, and I’d probably end up in some nasty charity ward. There was no way I was gonna put up with that. I felt perfectly fine now and more than ready to get the hell out of here.

I kicked the sheet away and slid off the bed. The tile was smooth and cold against my bare feet. I needed shoes and clothes. I was wearing the stupid hospital gown, and my own clothes were so covered with blood that I’d draw all sorts of attention if I tried to walk out in them.

I shook my head. No, the blood had been a hallucination.

There was no sign of my clothes in the room. No closets—only one cabinet and an intimidating variety of medical equipment. I started to move toward the cabinet, remembering the IV a step before I accidentally yanked it out of my arm, then spent a couple of seconds trying to decide if I could carry the bag out with me instead of pulling the needle out. Needles freaked me out, but leaving it in would probably be worse than removing it myself. Hell, that was the only reason I’d never gone for the harder drugs like heroin or meth. Too chickenshit to stick a needle into me to get that kind of high. Pills were easy. Plus I could tell myself that I wasn’t a real druggie.

Except that now I’d almost killed myself just as dead as if I’d ODed on heroin.

Pushing that unpleasant thought out of my mind, I peeled off the tape on my arm then clenched my teeth and pulled the needle out. I braced myself against the wave of nausea that always hit me whenever I saw blood—especially my own—but to my relief it didn’t hurt at all, and I didn’t feel sick. A tiny bead of blood welled up from the puncture site, and I wiped it away with the hem of my gown before I even remembered that I was supposed to be nauseated by it.

Maybe that’s why I’d hallucinated about being covered in blood? There wasn’t much that would freak me out more than that.

The door to the room opened again, startling me, and I dropped the IV line with a guilty flush as a different nurse walked in. She was a lot younger than the other one—maybe in her early twenties or so, with sleek blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail and the sort of fresh no-makeup look I wished I could pull off. I looked like death without makeup, and while my hair was blonde as well, it was that way because I dyed it myself, which meant it was a frizzy, damaged mess.

Her eyes flicked to the discarded IV, but she didn’t seem to be upset that I’d removed it. “I wanted to make sure you were awake and decent,” she said with a smile that was kinder than I expected. “There are a couple of detectives here who want to talk to you.”

A frisson of terror shot through me. “Wh-why?” I asked, though I was pretty sure I knew. They were here to take me to jail. My probation officer had found out about the drug use and my probation was being revoked. Or they wanted me to squeal about where I got my drugs.

I must have gone pale because she closed the door and gave me a reassuring smile. “They only want to talk to you. You’re going to be fine. Here,” she said, gently but firmly pushing me back to sit on the bed. She didn’t make me lie back down—simply pulled the bed sheet around so that my lower body and bare feet were covered. “That’s better. I know I can’t talk to anyone with any sort of authority if I’m half-naked,” she said with a wink.

Her unexpected niceness had me a little off-balance, especially after the open hostility of the previous nurse. “Where are my other clothes?”

“You, uh, weren’t wearing any when you were brought in.”

Oh, shit
. I swallowed hard. “Did they take them off in the ambulance?” Surely it wouldn’t be as bad as if I’d—

“The cops found you on the side of the road…naked.” Her face twisted in embarrassed sympathy.

My throat tightened. “Was I—I mean, had I been…?” I couldn’t say the word.

Her eyes widened. “No!” She shook her head emphatically. “No, the doctor, um, checked. You weren’t assaulted.”

I scrubbed at my face and fought the urge to cry. Overdose and naked on the side of the road. This kept getting better and better. And not even the victim of a crime, just a stupid drugged-out skank.

The nurse made a concerned noise in her throat, reached out and gave my upper arms a firm rub. “Relax now. Everything’s going to be fine. These detectives want to have a word with you, then you’ll be ready to get out of here.” She turned and left before I could form any sort of coherent response.

Right. Everything’s going to be fine
, I thought with a sour laugh. She didn’t know. She couldn’t possibly understand why I was freaking.

I didn’t have to stew in my panic for long. No sooner had the door swung shut behind the blonde nurse than it opened again and two detectives walked in. But they weren’t probation officers or narcotics detectives. That threw me. At least I was pretty sure they weren’t narcs. Those guys usually went around in jeans and T-shirts, but these two were in dress shirts and ties. The first one in was a burly guy—at least six feet tall and stocky with a bit of a pudge working around his middle, blondish brown hair, and a scruffy-looking mustache. The second detective wasn’t as tall, but he was big in a muscled way. No pudge on him. I could tell he worked out, and hard. He had dark hair, dark eyes, and an equally dark expression on his face. Both had guns, badges, and handcuffs on their belts.

In other words, they intimidated the ever-living shit out of me simply by walking into the room.


“Ms. Crawford,” the burly one began, “I’m Detective Ben Roth and this is Detective Mike Abadie.” He cocked his head toward the dark-haired detective. “We’re with the Saint Edwards Parish Sheriff’s Office, and we’d appreciate it if you could take a couple of minutes to answer some questions for us.”

“Do I need a lawyer?” I blurted. The two men exchanged a quick glance. Oh, great. Nice way to start. Now I sounded guilty as all hell.

“That’s completely up to you, Ms. Crawford,” Detective Roth said. “But we’re only here to see if you might have witnessed anything that could help us solve a crime. You’re not under any sort of suspicion at this time.” His expression remained serious but his eyes were kind. At least, I wanted to believe that. The other detective looked like he had a permanent scowl on his face. Maybe they were about to play good cop bad cop on me. It would probably work, too. I always fell for that psychological shit. Especially when I was confused and stressed. Like right now.

I gripped the sheet in my hands. “Uh, sure. What…um, what crime?”

Detective Abadie cleared his throat. “You were found on Sweet Bayou Road right off Highway 180.” His lips pressed together and I could see the same derision in his eyes that I’d seen in the red-haired nurse’s. Maybe he didn’t know why I was in here, ’cause of privacy laws or whatever, but he sure as hell had his suspicions.

“Okay,” I said, doing my damnedest to not hunch under his gaze. “If you say so.”

“At about the same time,” he continued, eyes hard and flat, “a body was found a few miles further down Sweet Bayou Road. It had been decapitated.”

“Wh-what?” I said, staring at him in horror.

“Decapitated. It means that his head was chopped off,” he explained, tone thoroughly patronizing.

A sudden burst of anger managed to burn away a good portion of the panic and fear that had been controlling me up until then. “I know what ‘decapitated’ means,” I replied with a scowl. “But I don’t know anything about this. I sure as hell didn’t do it!” The two men exchanged another quick glance and a sliver of the fear came back. “You don’t think I did it, do you?”

Detective Roth shook his head firmly. “You’re not a suspect at this time, Ms. Crawford. However, right now you’re the only possible witness we have. Anything you can remember might be useful.”

I swallowed. At this time. He kept saying that. In other words I sure as shit hadn’t been ruled out, even though I knew there was no way I would have chopped some guy’s head off—no matter how high I might have been.

So why did I remember blood…?

I took a shaking breath. No. There was no way. I wasn’t a killer. “Sweet Bayou Road?” I asked, stalling for time to get my thoughts into something other then a jumbled mess.

“That’s where you were found,” Detective Roth said patiently. “What do you remember?”

“I…don’t know.” Sweet Bayou Road was only about five minutes down the highway from where I lived, but there wasn’t a whole lot on it. A few fishing camps near the end, and the rest of it was several miles of desolate and twisty road through the marsh. “I mean, I was at Pillar’s Bar with my boyfriend. We had a fight and…” I rubbed my eyes, odd flashes of the hallucination swimming through my head.

Blood and pain…I thought I was dying. No, I died. But then I was hungry. Starving-to-death hungry….


I took an unsteady breath. “Then I was out on the road, and there was an ambulance.”

I was arguing with the paramedics after they got me into the ambulance, begging for something to eat because I was so damn hungry. Maybe that’s why I didn’t walk into the stupid white light. Maybe I knew they wouldn’t have anything to eat down that way.


“I must have passed out.” I looked up at the two men. “Then I woke up here. Sorry.”

No pain. No hunger. No clue.


Detective Abadie let out an exasperated snort. “Why were you out there?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I guess I was trying to walk home.” Walking home from the bar would definitely rank as one of the more boneheaded things I’d done in my life. In other words, totally believable. And somewhere along the way I’d decided to strip naked. That must have been one helluva high.

Detective Roth tugged a hand through his hair, clearly frustrated. “I need you to think real hard, Angel. Did you see anyone? Any cars? Someone walking along the road?”

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled, hunching my shoulders. “I didn’t see anyone.”

Fatigue and disappointment etched itself across Detective Roth’s face. “All right, Miss Crawford. If you think of anything else—anything at all—please give me a call.” He pulled out a business card and handed it to me.

“Yeah, sure thing,” I said, obediently taking the card.

A sour expression twisted Detective Abadie’s mouth. “C’mon, Ben,” he muttered. “We’re wasting our time.” He turned and stalked out. I couldn’t even get annoyed at his reaction. I had been a waste of their time.

Detective Roth let out a low sigh but gave me a tired smile. “I appreciate your talking to us, Miss Crawford,” he said. “I hope you get to feeling better.” Then he too was out the door, and I was alone in the room once again.

Wrung out and depressed, I dropped the card into the wastebasket. This day couldn’t get much worse.

The blonde nurse entered again, this time carrying a cooler and a large paper grocery bag which she set on the bed beside me. “This was left at the nurse’s station for you,” she said, smiling brightly. “Looks like you won’t have to go home in a hospital gown after all! I’ll go get your paperwork ready, and as soon as you’re dressed you should be able to get out of here.”

She was out of the room with the door closing behind her before I had a chance to respond.

I stared at the closed door in confusion then looked over at the stuff on the bed. The cooler was one of those mini plastic things, big enough to hold a six-pack of beer. I opened it to find six bottles of Frappuccino. At least that’s what I thought it was at first. It was the same type of bottle as those kind of coffee drinks, and the contents were brown and opaque, but there were no labels on the bottles, and there was also some sort of pinkish lumpy sediment at the bottom.

What the hell?

I checked the bag with the clothes next. A pair of exercise-type pants, a sports bra, underwear, a plain blue T-shirt and some flip-flops—all stuff that could be bought if you weren’t sure of someone’s size. I was skinny with no tits and no muscle tone. As long as the pants had a drawstring at the waist, I was probably good to go. At the bottom of the bag was an envelope and a twenty dollar bill with a little sticky note that had “cab fare” neatly printed on it.

Again, what the hell? My first reaction was to get pissed. I didn’t need anyone else’s help. I took care of myself because, frankly, depending on someone else meant standing outside an empty, locked elementary school at six p.m. and telling Mrs. Robichaux that no, really, my mom would be here any minute and I didn’t need a ride while a) Kerrie Robichaux, who gets 100s on her spelling tests is looking out the car window at me in a way that I’m pretty sure says, Don’t you even think about getting your trashy ass in the back seat of this nice car, and b) Mom is again conveniently forgetting I exist because her life was so much fucking better before she got saddled with a kid and had to do boring things like pick me up from school and make sure I had clean clothes and socks that matched. I took care of myself because I figured out that it was better when she didn’t remember I was around. And even after she was gone I took care of myself, because Dad couldn’t handle being a dad, and instead sat on a bar stool at Kaster’s remembering when his life was simple and his wife was fun and he had his job on the oil rig.

Except right now I was naked—well, not counting the hospital gown. And I couldn’t take care of that without help, though I was damned if I could figure out who’d bother getting clothes and cab fare for me. The only person who came to mind was my sort of boyfriend, Randy, but I couldn’t see him giving me money for a cab when he could come and get me. Plus, he knew my size.

I ripped open the envelope and read the letter. Then I read it again, because it didn’t make any sense the first time through.

Angel—

Take good care of the contents of the cooler because it should get you through the next couple of weeks. It’s very important that you drink one bottle every other day, starting tomorrow, or you’ll start to feel very sick. Be sure to shake it up well before you drink it.

There’s a job waiting for you at the Coroner’s Office. They have an opening for a van driver, and the arrangements have already been made. Go to the office at 9 a.m. tomorrow to fill out the paperwork and start work.

Now, here’s the deal: You will take this job, and you will hold it for at least one month. If you quit, or are fired before one month is out, your probation officer will be informed that there were drugs in your system when you were brought to the ER, and you’ll go to jail for violating your probation. And if you go to jail, you’ll probably die there within a few weeks. This isn’t a threat. It’s a warning. I’d explain, but there’s no way you’d believe me. You’ll understand eventually.

Good luck.

Hey, look
, I thought with a miserable laugh, this day just got worse.

I stared down at the letter in confusion and disbelief. My mom had gone to prison when I was twelve and died while still incarcerated, on the day I turned sixteen. That was a little over five years ago. Then last year I’d been more of a moron than usual and had bought a nearly new Toyota Prius for five hundred dollars from some guy Randy knew. A week later I was pulled over and arrested for possession of stolen property. Yeah, my “bargain” of a car had been jacked a couple of weeks earlier in New Orleans. But the seriously sucky part was that I’d kinda suspected that it hadn’t been legit but went ahead and gave the guy the money for it anyway, too excited about what a great deal I was getting, and convinced that I wouldn’t get caught. Moron. I’d spent two days scared shitless in a holding cell before I could find someone to bail me out, and had been lucky as hell to get a three-year suspended sentence and probation.

I read the letter again, hand shaking. I thought I’d dodged a bullet with that visit from the two detectives, but here was another one right behind it, ready to flatten me. I didn’t want to go back to jail, and I didn’t want to end up like my mom and die there. But why would I die within weeks? What was that all about? Maybe someone who had a grudge against me was in jail already? I’d pissed off plenty of people in my life, but as far as I knew there wasn’t anyone who hated me enough to want to kill me.

I turned the letter over, searching for any clue as to who had sent it. It was printed on plain white paper and the envelope was an ordinary white envelope. No signature. No postmark. None of this made any sense. I couldn’t think of a single person who’d bother finding me a job, much less threaten me with jail to make sure I kept it.

Why jail? Why not rehab?

Because jail’s a bigger threat, I realized. Rehab would suck, but jail…. Whoever sent this stuff had to know that jail scared the shit out of me.

I read the letter one more time, then took a deep breath and started getting dressed while my thoughts continued to tumble. It wasn’t as if I’d set out to be a loser. I didn’t wake up every morning and say, “Hey, how can I screw my life up today?” But the universe sure seemed to be rigged against me, and most of the time it didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried since I was obviously never going to catch a break.

Except. Except this letter wasn’t a couple of hardass cops questioning me about something I didn’t know shit about. This was someone holding a big whopping threat over my head, who also seemed to be crazy enough to give the slightest crap about me—and give me that break I kept saying I wanted. Me. Loser girl. If this job was for real and I didn’t at least give it a shot I’d be right back at being a Grade A Screwup. But who the hell would do this for me?

I had a feeling the only way I was going to find out would be to take the stupid job.

Drive a van for a month. How hard could that be?

Meet the Author

Diana Rowland has lived her entire life below the Mason-Dixon line. She has worked as a bartender, a blackjack dealer, a pit boss, a street cop, a detective, a computer forensics specialist, a crime scene investigator, and a morgue assistant, which means that she's seen more than her share of what humans can do to each other and to themselves. She won the marksmanship award in her Police Academy class, has a black belt in Hapkido, and has handled numerous dead bodies in various states of decomposition. She presently lives in southern Louisiana with her husband and her daughter where she is deeply grateful for the existence of air conditioning. A master of urban fantasy, she’s the author of the Demon series and the White Trash Zombie series. She can be contacted via her website, dianarowland.com, or on Twitter at @dianarowland.

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My Life as a White Trash Zombie: A White Trash Zombie Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
dalnewt More than 1 year ago
This book features an engaging 'loser' protagonist, a convoluted but entertaining plot, morbid details, wonderfully gruesome imagery and a new twist on zombies. In this story zombies are ageless supernaturals who only begin to rot when they don't get their quota of brains. The protagonist, Angel, is a surprisingly sympathetic character. Life has treated her badly but, as a pill popping high-school dropout, she's also cheated herself. At twenty-three she's going nowhere fast until she wakes up in the hospital with flashbacks of grave injury. She's told that she overdosed on drugs, and she believes it because she doesn't have a mark on her Then, she finds an anonymous note which threatens to inform her probation officer of the overdose unless she begins a job as a 'body snatcher' at the local morgue. She's also given 'energy drinks' with weird pudding-like material at the bottom. The story is part murder mystery, part upbeat self-discovery tale, part horror story and part traditional paranormal fiction with an underlying romance element. The first party narrative unwinds at a fast pace and culminates in desperate and thrilling climax. Note, the edible brain imagery and morbidity details are gruesomely excellent. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any and all zombie enthusiasts. Further, I recommend this book to all urban fantasy fans looking for an unusual but entertaining story.
Betty Patterson More than 1 year ago
WTZ wad a great read with great character development, humor, and enough romance to make me like it more than some of those will not be named vampire books. Really hope to see a followup within the next year or so, and not just cause the zombie on the cover looks like me heh. Really great read.
ZombieJoe More than 1 year ago
I heard about this book last year during during the Romantic Times convention. Diana was talking about the newest book she was working on about a white trash zombie who gets a job as a morgue tech for easy access to brains. I know it's shocking, but the an unpolitically correct story about a zombie is totally up my alley. Also, being a huge fan of the Kara Gillian series by Rowland I have been waiting impatiently for this book to release. The book opens with Angel waking up in the hospital. She was brought in as a suspected overdose victim. Her scattered memories and the mysterious package left for her at the hospital hint at something entirely different. Now don't accuse me of spoiling the book for you, but she has been turned into a zombie. Of course the reason why she has been turned into a zombie and who her mysterious mentor is keeps you hanging through the ending of the book. In fact the majority of the book is about how being turned into a zombie is one of the best things that has ever happened to her. Also a good deal of the buildup is world-building. Namely, introducing you to what it means to be a zombie in this book series. It also lays the groundwork for how the zombies abilities and weaknesses work. The author takes the difficult situation of having to make a zombie likable and excels at it. By the end of the story I was really rooting for her. This brings me to the end of the story. As I insinuated in an above comment, I will not spoil the story. George R.R. Martin may threaten to put a spoilers head on a pike, but the author in question on this series has certifications maintaining her aim and ability with deadly weapons. (According to her own bio she has worked in the police force among other jobs.) That being said, I will say that her ending took me by surprise. My expectation is for an ending (even one with a twist) to be along the lines of the direction I thought the story was going. Rowland caught me on this one, marking it as one of my favorite reads so far this season. I will over the caveat that this is a story about zombies. Those with a weak constitution should be forewarned. Even if you are a little skittish at the thought of brain-eating zombies, I would urge you to read this as you might very well be surprised at the extent to which you enjoy the novel. Mrs. Zombie (who is ironically not a fan of the gore) is chomping at the bit to read my copy of it. Easily I will give this one a full 5 dancing zombies out of 5. If you want to go the Slayer route on it, Faith calls this one 5-by-5. No matter what pop culture reference you use, it is easily worth the money. To prove that fact, even with my library budget tight I am going to stop tonight and purchase a retail copy. Normally I would consider this one for a Nook purchase, but that cover art is just to damn good to pass up!
KnowwhatIike More than 1 year ago
Half the book is setup. Conflict unconvincing and very late in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm excited to see where it goes from here!
lauralovesreviewingLT More than 1 year ago
Angel is no angel. She’s a pill popping addict with a felony record and she can’t hold down a job. She’s also a zombie. When she wakes up in the hospital, she thinks she’s lucky to be alive after overdosing on pain pills. But then she starts getting these weird cravings, and she can’t seem to eat enough to get full. An anonymous note leads her to apply for and land a job at the morgue. That’s when her craving shows it’s true colors. That sweet smell that’s making her stomach growl in hunger is brains. What better job for a zombie than to work at the morgue. Nobody will miss a few brains here or there. I suspect any zombie would want the job. Another advantage is not having to worry about being so hungry you lose control and attack someone. But someone does notice the missing brains. And someone made Angel a zombie for a reason. And even worse, there’s a serial killer racking up a body count and taking the heads. No more brains means Angel will have to find out who the killer is or she might graduate to full dead. Angel isn’t the most likable character at first. I have little sympathy for drug addicts. Especially when they do harm to others to get their next fix. Once she was turned into a zombie, I hoped she’d take the second chance she’d been given and do something good with her “life.” She has her work cut out for her. And there’s a possible romance with a sexy deputy. I wondered what he’d think if he knew Angel craved brains. Angel made me laugh. She made me shake my head in exasperation. Then she grew, accepted the role life gave her. She slowly won me over and made me care about her. Looking for your next zombie fix. Try this series. It’s fun, kind of gross, (well, it’s about zombies and zombies eat brains), and has a killer plot. And there’s no cliffhanger ending, even though this is the first book in the series. Everything gets wrapped up. Yet it leaves you curious to know where Angel goes from here. I was so lucky to win this book!
Samantha57 More than 1 year ago
Great start to the series though had a new flaws but excited to read more
naturalbri More than 1 year ago
The Story Angel is a self-proclaimed loser and white trash. Living at home with her dad is only the beginning of her woes, as she's in her mid twenties, can't hold a job and has a problem with pills. She not bothered though. She used to want ,ore out of life, but came to the conclusion that some people just aren't that lucky. After dropping out of high school and going to jail for a car deal that was too sweet to be real, she knows she's one of those unlucky people. Then she wakes up in a hospital, an apparent drug overdose, following a night out drinking. She was found naked on the side of the road and barely escaped death.   Yeah, Angel was a loser. She was white trash.   Now Angel has a new chance at life. Maybe she can keep a job, get straight and have the house she always dreamed of. Okay, maybe it involves working at a morgue, but she seems to have a knack for the job. There's only one catch…   Angel has a huge craving for brains…good thing her patients don't seem to need them anymore.       Angel Crawford’s life is about to change in more ways than one. She struggles to take on a new perspective and come to terms with her past and future, most importantly her lack of pulse and the strange notes she keeps receiving. Can she live the life of a brain-craving zombie and not turn into a monster. My Thoughts I enjoyed every moment of this book. The first thing I noticed was that this was not your average zombie story. Instead of the typical ' ah, zombies are taking over and eating us, we have to survive' we are given a story where zombies are a minority. They have been changed, and now they are trying to remain as hidden as possible. As long as they have their fill of brains every couple of days, they remain as warm and lively as you or me. Most of them find jobs where they brains are easy to come by, such as Angel's new job at the morgue. This means they have no need to hurt anyone to stay whole and healthy, they just use the brains from those who won't need them anymore. There's even a market for them, where one of the local zombies sells those he doesn't keep for himself.  I love that the story has a completely different perspective from the typical zombie read. I love zombie stories, and this one has really got me hooked. I like reading about Angel's life and her struggles to try and remain 'normal.' She has to go through life finding out who she is, just like we humans do. She needs to learn to understand herself, her limits and what she needs to survive.  I also like that the story isn't just about that. It also has lessons about finding yourself in general, it tells you about Angel's discovery that she can make more of herself (and that lack of money isn't the only reason to turn to drugs, drink and give up on life.). Finally, you learn about Angel's love life, or lack there of, and how she comes to terms with the fact that she deserves someone good for herself as well.  The story does have a great tale of rags to riches, though Angel doesn't get rich in money, she does learn that there are other forms of rich. She starts to stand up for herself, becomes strong and gets herself out of her self-proclaimed state of white-trash.  I love the characters in the book, as each has a deep, meaningful personality. Each character sticks to the personality they have been given, and they really do feel real, not all alive, but real.  The details, both of characters and in the storyline, are brilliant. There are enough details that you know and trust everything is happening, but to enough are given to actually ruin any of the surprises that are to come.  The pace of the story is perfection. It moves swiftly, keeping your attention held, and gives you snippets of details about the brain-eating issue throughout. However, it doesn't move so fast that you aren't able to get into the story. It is just right.  OVERALL: I really enjoyed every second of this book. It was engaging, interesting and had great side lessons/stories. I know there are two more books at the moment, in the series, and I cannot wait to have a go at them. I want to know what happens to Angel and her friends next. She has so much more to learn, do, achieve and I cannot wait to see what happens. After the ending, I was left on the edge of my seat, excited and happy for Angel, but also worried and wondering where they will go from here. I would highly recommend this books to anyone age 14 and above. It does have gory details, but nothing that couldn't be handled or expected in those ages. It really is a read that you shouldn't pass up, especially if you are a zombie fan. I've never read a book like it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great new take on the zombie genre. Part mystery, part zombie story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reminiscent of the Christopher Moore "Vampire books". Funny, darkly comic, and surprisingly human
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GuzziAlfa More than 1 year ago
We're talking about about a genuine heroine in Angel, a drop out, pill popping, drunk low income, trailer trash equivalent who turns into, well let's just say she becomes someone to root for with everything and everyone against her. Oh and she also just happens to be a zombie. Rowland is quickly becoming my favorite author in this genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good concept and execution. Was a little baffled by her casual attitude about how she became a zombie. I know it's a zombie book, but the worry about her next meal was annoying by the end. For a while it seemed as if that was the whole story. Glad to see character growth toward the end and I look forward to starting the next book and seeing how Angel continues to discover who she really is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read! I enjoyed it so much angel is funny she is something else highly reccomend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not bad for a zombie book. Author kept to traditional zombie details, and writing is true to that of a white trash society
Michael_Sw More than 1 year ago
I like the modern fantasy genre, with wizards, werewolves, vampires, and zombies intermingled with cars, iPhones, and the rest of modern society. But an awful lot of the stories are repetitive or boring. This one clearly is not. Zombies and brain-eating is a gruesome topic, and yet somehow this book manages to make it palatable (forgive the awful pun). Likewise, it's usually hard to sympathize with white trash people and the lives they lead, but this book succeeds in painting a flawed but very likable protagonist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog …does it make me a little weird that when Angel was describing her cravings for brains that I kept getting a little hungry?! That’s either really good writing, or I need to see a Doctor! ~ Under the Covers Angel Crawford is a deadbeat; with no job, a loser boyfriend, an alcoholic father and a pill addiction her life is getting no where fast. But, when she wakes up in hospital after ODing and being found naked on a road her life starts to change for the better and for the freakier, instead of craving pills, she now can’t seem to stop drooling over delicious brains… I got this book originally because I loved the cover, normally that doesn’t pan out too well but in this case I am really glad I am a bit of a cover whore because I really loved this book! I know zombies are a new craze at the moment and they seem to have a sub-genre all of their own, but this has to be the first book I have read where a zombie is the main character and not a shambling monstrosity who immediately gets its head loped off and I will definitely look closer at zombie books in the future. I do admit though, this book could be a little gross, but it wasn’t too bad and does it make me a little weird that when Angel was describing her cravings for brains that I kept getting a little hungry?! That’s either really good writing, or I need to see a Doctor! But this book was more then a gruesome tale of a girl discovering a love of devouring brains, Angel was a fantastic and well realised character. As the book went on she changed and grew as she shrugged off her label as a “loser” and started to take control of her life and become a responsible adult. The plot on this was a little slow to start as it focused mainly on Angel adjusting to her new zombie lifestyle; this made the book a little unbalanced. In the beginning not too much happened when we were being introduced to Angel and her world and then towards the end we suddenly had a zombie hunter on our hands. However, this wasn’t a problem for me, this was a first book and I expected it to be heavy on the world and character building. A fantastic read, which has the bonus of looking awesome on your book shelf and I can’t wait to see what more is in store for Angel in her new undead life.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book!