I have lived in Louisiana my whole life. I also like zombie stories, and the TV show iZombie. So I found this book, which basically sounded like iZombie set in Louisiana, and I had to read it. Had to.
Like iZombie, this book starts with a girl who is turned into a zombie after a tragedy. Both characters get jobs in a morgue, both use the morgue to supply their new dietary requirements (brains), and both are only loosely what you’d call zombies. From there, the differences become more apparent. For example, a mysterious benefactor with connections gets the book’s main character, Angel, her morgue job.
Angel is a loser, and easily labeled as white trash, hence the title. She dropped out of high school, has been fired from multiple jobs, lives in a trailer, has a pill problem, and has OD-ed once already. Being turned into a zombie and being given the morgue job may be the best thing that’s ever happened to her, assuming she keeps it together. And I mean that both in the figurative “don’t fuck things up” sense, and in the literal sense, because going too long without consuming brains means Angel starts rotting/falling apart.
I must stop here to say that calling Angel a zombie is a stretch. I think Angel is to zombies as the Cullens from Twilight are to vampires. The Cullens are “vampires” because they drink blood, but sunlight doesn’t hurt them, they’re not nocturnal, they don’t have to be invited into houses, and they can subsist on animal blood if need be. Angel is a zombie because she needs to eat brains or will start rotting and become increasingly aggressive, but as long as she has a regular supply of brains, there’s little to tell her apart from regular humans. In fact, being a zombie basically gives her superpowers: increased strength, healing rate, pain tolerance, nausea resistance, inability to get high/intoxicated, etc. She is not the mindless, shambling, disease-ridden flesh-puppet most people think of when they hear the word “zombie.”
Assuming you can get past that, the book is pretty fun. And no, don’t go thinking it’s another Twilight just because I mentioned it earlier. The romance is a secondary element in the book at most. In fact, most of the book is just about Angel getting used to life as a zombie, and trying to figure who turned her and why. The mystery with the serial kills doesn’t start really playing a role until the second half or so of the book.
I like how the book takes a stereotype, applies it to the main character, and tries to get you to see it in a different light. “White trash” is a term usually used to demean and/or laugh at someone. The book uses it to a degree for entertainment, but not in a “ha ha, look at the redneck, isn’t it funny” sort of way.
It could’ve been better. There were times I was like “really, you still haven’t figure out you’re a zombie?!” And ending was so neatly tied up that I couldn’t fully buy it without letting things slide. Still, if you like “zombies” and/or Louisiana and aren’t too critical of books, you should have a fun time.
There’s a moment when a police cadaver dog tries to point out that technically Angel is a walking cadaver; I thought that was a clever scene.
The way everything fit together and tied up at the end felt a little too neat. That guy had a zombie vendetta and killed multiple zombies already, but didn’t realize his BFF of several years was a zombie too? That just seems too convenient, and arranged for the sake of the plot rather than actual logic.