Edward Schuett wakes up in the toy aisle of a store. At first, he can barely move and his hearing is impaired. With just glimpses of memories to go on, he tries to piece together how he ended up there and what might have happened to his family. The last thing he can recall is a family barbecue going awry as a bloodthirsty throng appears from seemingly nowhere and tears the attendants limb from limb. As he gathers his thoughts and tries to come to terms with the apparent loss of his family, the undead begin to rise around him.
You see, Edward Schuett is also undead – or a zed, as they are known in this particular world. It’s also been fifty years since the zombie apocalypse, or the uprising as it is herein referred. He is captured by a government organisation and taken in for tests. Edward can talk, which is a sign that something is amiss; zombies are not known for their conversational skills, and it’s this trait which seems to convince the powers-that-be that Edward is far from your regular zombie. He is, in fact, a Z7, a highly-evolved and sentient form of zed. Essentially, he’s an anomaly, a biological weapon that shouldn’t exist.
Aided by Liddie Gates, the daughter of one of his captors, Edward embarks on a road-trip through the desolate wastelands in an attempt to find answers.
As with all good post-apocalyptic fiction, we are introduced to characters with both good and bad intentions. Dr Chella falls into the latter category, whilst Edward is partially assisted in his quest by Liddie, who is also the designated love-interest, and Rae, a woman in possession of a pink gun named Spanky. Edward is never quite sure who to trust – if anybody – and with people constantly pursuing him due to his unnatural cognisance, the pace in the second half of the book is relentless. This is good, reliable post-apocalyptic fiction, and although it takes a while to get going, it’s worth persisting for the final third and its satisfying conclusion.
The Reanimation of Edward Schuett is unique enough to separate it from the glut of zombie fiction currently doing the rounds, with the humanized protagonist maintaining just enough zed to keep it ticking along nicely. His purpose is also noteworthy, driving him inexorably onwards in his search for closure. The fact that his daughter might still be alive, albeit a lot older, offers him a genuine objective in a world where nothing really matters any more.
All in all, this is a well above average tale with witty and interesting dialogue. Goodman is clearly a very talented writer, and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
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