Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My Loaded Gun, My Lonely Heart

Vitus Adamson just killed his brother Jamie and now inhabits his nephew's body. Of course, he ended up in jail for murder and sees no way of ever getting out in his shiny new body. Lionel, Jamie's business associate, rescues Vitus from jail only because Jamie was involved in many off the books, risky projects that now need cleaning up. Although everyone around him seems helpful, one or all of them could be out to backstab him, including Lionel or the enigmatic and silent Elvedina. His addiction to drugs doesn't help his mental state and maybe his paranoia is only delusion.

Vitus has a much different experience than most. He spent the last 10 years as a zombie, kept coherent and intelligent by a drug called atroxopine. Without it, he would have been a flesh eating monster. As a human, every sensation and emotion is brand new. Pain doesn't even feel so bad in comparison to the numbness felt for so many years. He finds emotions in particular hard to deal with since it's been so long since he's felt any sort of emotion to the awful acts he committed. He looks back to his zombie life and sees a false bravery and callousness since he had no capacity to feel otherwise. In addition to reacclimating to human life, he has to get used to a body that isn't his. The height, weight, balance, skin quality, health, and reflexes are all different and he's pretty clumsy as a result.

The other characters are different than I expected to see in a zombie story. Elvedina is my favorite character by far, a silent, menacing woman with hidden depth and goals. Constantly vigilant, she patrols the house at all hours and fights with insane precision. Very few characters can be so memorable without saying anything. Another interesting character is Niko, Vitus' ex-girlfriend. She works as a mortician and was drawn to him as an unfeeling zombie. After he murdered his brother in front of her, she remains uninterested in him as a human. Her appearance in the novel is short, but I wish I could have seen more of her.

The work that Jamie was entrenched in has to do with killing people in their sleep. Poison is suspected, but their tox screens are clear, leading Vitus on a journey that takes him to concepts he never thought were real. The story gets much more mystical than I expected. The last quarter of the book was a mystery to me because I didn't realize this was the second installment in a series. I never read the first book and I wish the book jacket was a little clearer about that. I will probably revisit this rating and adjust accordingly whenever I read the first book, which seems to feature zombie Vitus. I'm excited to compare the character in both states and see what happened before this story.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

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