The FBI’s in town, Saberton is working on a deal with Dr. Charish, a conspiracy is in motion to expose the existence of zombies, the morgue is heightening scrutiny of the bodies Angel has been stealing brains from, and there’s been a new decapitation murder. Looks like Angel picked the wrong week to quit doing zombie super-drugs. Let’s run amok with White Trash Zombie Gone Wild, by Diana Rowland.
Angel Crawford has buried her loser past and is cruising along in undead high gear–that is, until a murder-by-decapitation sends her on a hazardous detour. As Angel hunts for the killer, she uncovers a scheme that would expose zombies to the public and destroy the life she’s built, and she’s determined not to rest until she finds out who’s behind it.
Soon she’s neck-deep in lies, redneck intrigue, zombie hunters, and rot-sniffing cadaver dogs. It’s up to her to unravel the truth and snuff out the conspiracy before the existence of zombies makes headline news and she’s outed as a monster.
But Angel hasn’t quite escaped the pill-popping ghosts of her past–not with an illicit zombie pharmaceutical at her fingertips. Good thing she’s absolutely sure she can handle the drug’s unpredictable side effects and still take down the bad guys…or maybe she’s only one bad choice away from being dead meat–for real this time.
Angel knows a thing or two about kicking ass, but now the ass she needs to kick might be her own.
With this book, the White Trash Zombie series has delivered its best installment yet. After last time’s brief action-thriller excursion, it’s back to a mystery-based style reminiscent of the first book. There are a multitude of plotlines – the Tribe and Saberton are both hunting for the ever-manipulative Dr. Kristi Charish, a film at a zombie-themed festival includes actual zombie footage which threatens to expose the Tribe’s secrets, FBI agents are sniffing around mortuaries, a zombie hunter-style decapitation murder has taken place – and with a bunch of recurring characters suddenly behaving suspiciously, it’s a puzzle as to who’s involved with what and which threads tie into the tapestry of a greater conspiracy. Top it all off with Angel struggling with her addiction issues, and the result is a book which remains intense and interesting from front to back.
I especially appreciated all the new character development. In addition to the aforementioned focus on Angel’s resurfacing drug problem, a whole lot of recurring extras are brought to the foreground and given additional characterization and plot relevance: Randy, Nick, and Prejean all get a turn to step into the spotlight. It makes the world feel richer to have them explored in depth and made more involved with the narrative.
Finally, there’s the ending and its sense of forward momentum. The status quo can only remain in place for so long before it becomes dull; but the times they are a changin’, and this book implies the groundwork is being laid for a big shakeup. The Tribe dodged a bullet this time; but as Angel points out, they can’t remain secret forever, and it’s time for them to start planning how best to come out to the world. Hopefully, unlike the fake-out title of White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, this is a sign of real major change coming to the White Trash Zombie universe.
White Trash Zombie Gone Wild is the strongest entry yet in this ongoing series, and I don’t hesitate to rank it a cut above the other books.
Final Rating: 4/5