Married With Zombies
Book 1: Living with the Dead
By Jesse Petersen
Release date: September 2010
Married With Zombies is the first book in Jesse Petersen‘s three-book series entitled Living with the Dead in which we follow a twenty-something year old married couple, Sarah and David, as they work through their ample relationship issues while they slay their way across the U.S.A. in the hopes of finding loved ones alive and not undead during the sudden zombie apocalypse. Told with sarcasm and frustrated humor from Sarah’s point of view, Petersen paints a realistic portrait of marriage in the age of handheld video games and the wives who compete with them for their husbands’ attention. The zombies are almost beside the point right away as I wondered whether these two would kill each other first.
The story begins in present-day Seattle, which drives home the point that a zombie apocalypse could happen anywhere on any day of the week, as it happened to unfold late one afternoon when Sarah and David show up for their weekly marriage counseling session only to find their therapist chowing down on the “perfect perky” couple whose sessions were regularly scheduled right before theirs. Our young couple instantly finds themselves in the fight of their lives and with an admirable display of teamwork, kills their undead therapist as she tries to eat Sarah. This is the beginning of their renewed love and respect for each other, though the two bicker constantly until they eventually realize they’d better band together if they want to stay alive.
Initially armed with only their knowledge of zombie movies and hokey relationship advice, Sarah and David quickly adapt to the realities of a world that literally turned upside down one fateful Wednesday afternoon. Of all the practical obstacles they face during the zombie apocalypse, such as avoiding being eaten, dumb cheerleaders, cult leaders, and dying cars, the biggest one may be learning to get along with each other.
Petersen’s story, as told in Sarah’s snarky voice, reads like a gal pal recounting a nightmare to her BFF with humor and plentiful f-bombs. In other words, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you enjoy sarcastic, badass females, this book is for you. It’s one the reasons I stayed drawn to the story and began to care about the characters. Sarah’s tone rings true; she could be anyone I know. She could be me!
Here’s an excerpt:
“I don’t know what came over me, really. I guess it was instinct”¦or maybe the faint but wholly unpleasant memory of my days working in retail when I wished I could kill snotty holiday shoppers like I now killed zombies. Either way, I hit the cash button on the old cash register and the drawer flew open.
It smacked Zombie Cindy right in the temple, breaking her rotting flesh and sending a light spray of tissue and blood across the countertop. She roared in pain as she glanced up at me with annoyance on her face.
Yep, that was just as satisfying as I’d always thought it would be during all those years ringing up ill-tempered shoppers.”
Married with Zombies doesn’t exactly break new ground in the zombie arena, but it’s a quick, fun read. Short chapters keep the action moving along nicely and zippy chapter headings such as, “Build mutual friendships. Just be ready to end them when your friends start trying to eat you” offer practical advice that could apply in any circumstance.
I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in Petersen’s Living with the Dead series. Book two, Flip this Zombie, was released in January 2011 and book three, Eat, Slay Love, is due out in June of 2011. Learn more about Jesse Petersen and her Living with the Dead series at www.jessepetersen.net.