Fiend by Peter Stenson (4 out of 5)

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I guess I’m shortchanging it by calling it a “zombie book”. It’s also a book about the evils of meth addiction, lost chances and second chances with love that missed the first go round, and the end of your friends, fears, and life as you know it. It’s definitely a twisted mix of The Walking Dead meets Breaking Bad meets any Simon Pegg movie (for the humor aspect). I like dark humor, and this has a lot of really dark scenes. If you don’t have the stomach to think of a little blond girl disemboweling a dog in the first chapter, well, then don’t pick this book up. There’s a high up on the gore level, and it doesn’t bother me. That doesn’t mean it won’t bother you.

Chase, a junkie, and his friend Typewriter, a fellow junkie, are strung out on meth when Chase happens to look out the bedroom window and see a little girl doing the annihilation station act on a Rottweiler. When their attempts to figure out if this is legit or not, the little girl hurls herself through the window, into the house, and it’s obvious she is one of the walking dead. They manage to outwit her enough to kill her with a typewriter (irony in its darkest form), Chase and Typewriter wig the hell out (who wouldn’t?) and get out of the house posthaste, and go on the run. Everywhere they go, everyone they love, every place they go, the story is the same. Dead bodies piling up, the junk that they have with them can’t erase the horror of what’s happening in front of them, and to those they love. While they were getting high for 168 hours, the plague infested the population and corpses begin reanimating. Before long, Chase and Typewriter realize the only people who survived this are meth addicts. Chase ends up finding his lost love, KK, because she’s still grappling with the demon addiction and therefore, still alive. Chase ‘dreams’ of a normal life, but we know that’s not going to happen. Not only because of what is going down at that moment, but because he really doesn’t want to stop doing drugs.

Peter Stenson does such a great job riding the line between zombie and meth addicts. It’s metaphorical, no doubt, based on Chase’s seemingly continuing love affair with meth. The group of meth addicts who survive and try to stay alive amidst this zombie infestation, are really some dark, but interesting characters. He really fleshed out (no zombie puns intended, I swear) the characters so well. I did like Chase, I did like Typewriter, and even Derrick. I didn’t like KK, the ex girlfriend. She drove me nuts. When is there going to be a cool girl in a zombie book? The girls always ruin the fun. I wanted her to go away in the worst way. I also wanted Chase to drop kick her into a zombie killing machine. The ending? Well, that’s quite the thing. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending to this, so I gave it four stars instead of five.

Overall, I really did enjoy this, but if you like happy-go-lucky zombies, this is not the book for you to start with. You’d probably want to start with those zombie take off parodies of classic books (Jane Eyre and Zombies, etc). This is a dark, bleak look at stone cold reality and addiction. I really love the parallels that Stenson is able to draw between the darkness of addiction vs the darkness of life as a zombie. It really makes you think. And yes, there are some truly inspired humorous moments here as well, and any other time, I would not care for Chase, but I think he’s got some true sympathy lying in that husk of a body, and Stenson’s writing makes it easy to tune into that. Like I said, great book, dark humor, and the ending left something to be desired, but overall, a really great “zombie’ novel.

*I received a copy of this book for a honest review through Blogging For Books. *

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~ by generationgbooks on September 10, 2014.

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