Theo is a twenty-something burnout working for the forensics department. He lives in his parents’ basement and he’s never been in a real relationship. His best friend is his cat.
Theo is also a zombie.
But don’t worry, he’s not a ‘bad’ zombie. And he’s not the only one.
In Nikki Hopeman’s debut novel Habeas Corpse, she has constructed a rather unique world where the dead and the living co-exist. Due to an ‘event’, sometimes human beings reanimate once they’ve died. But it’s okay, because there’s medicine and treatments available to reduce the human flesh cravings (similar to methadone and rehab). They wake up, shower, and go to work just like the rest of us now.
Of course, zombies aren’t exactly treated equally. Hopeman has cleverly touched upon themes such as prejudice and stereotypes by replacing the usual minorities with the undead. I’ve read similar attempts in other books, but Hopeman thankfully is not too extreme and the symbolism and comparisons run smoothly across the page.
She also examines what exactly it means to be alive, whether you’re a human or a zombie. Admittedly, some of the introspective background scenes can feel a bit redundant after a while, but she does make her point well.
Even in life, Theo never truly lived. It takes a series of grisly murders from a psychopathic serial killer to make him embrace the world at its fullest. He learns he has a talent unlike other zombies. By eating the brains of the recently deceased, he can relive their final moments. With the aid of his mortician friend, he begins to investigate a string of murders no one else seems to believe are connected.
My only real gripe with Habeas Corpse was the killer turned out to be exactly who I thought it was the whole time. So, a bit predictable in that department, but don’t let that stop you from picking this one up.
While Habeas Corpse is not too mysterious, it is rather clever and well written. Oh, and at times, very disgusting. This is a zombie book after all, and it is quite graphic.
If you ever wanted a mixture of CSI and zombies, then Habeas Corpse is the perfect book for you.