Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bastard Reaction: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

I've recently become a big fan of Diana Rowland reading all her Kara Gillian books, so when I saw that she was starting a new series featuring a white trash zombie I went and pre-ordered it right away. Diana Rowland came to my attention not long ago after I reading a review about how detailed and accurate her depictions of procedural and police matters were. Bought all the Kara Gillian books out at the time and really enjoyed them, and have been recommending it since.

That's not to say it was all smooth sailing for me. Those that know me are aware that I struggle through urban fantasy books that have a big focus on romance elements and on erotica. Particularly if they feature a love triangle. The Kara Gillian series had all of that, and the erotica portion is quite graphic. But I pushed on through and found myself immersed in what had brought me to the series in the first place; the procedural aspects and the mystery, and quickly became a fan despite the elements that I personally don't enjoy. Then My Life as a White Trash Zombie came along, and I thought, yep this will be right up my alley... and it didn't disappoint.

If you're looking for a fun narrator full of a sarcasm that finds herself in the oddest of situations and craving brain smoothies, then this is the right book for you. My Life as a White Trash Zombie is by and large an introspective book I thought, which makes sense since we're right there with Angel (how's that, a white trash zombie called Angel) going through the process of figuring out the changes that are occurring in her life. I don't know if this will be true going forward, I suspect not, but I think it's worth mentioning. I would like to see more dialogue myself as I'm a dialogue junkie in my urban fantasy reading.

The book has two major mysteries to take into consideration: figuring out what has happened to Angel and secondly dealing with a serial killer. Then add to that Angel re-defining herself both internally and externally, having a new job in a coroner's department, dealing with her old life,  family and friends, and trying to get clean of her drug vices and habits, and we pretty much have a formula for a very fun book. Which it was. Depending on what kind of reader you are, there's a high chance that you'll laugh out loud more than once.

As for the character Angel, she's a very likable character I thought and easy to identify with; even if you don't face the same type of problems she has faced throughout her life. You'll be rooting for her, particularly to get her shit together and overcome. That's pretty much what this book is about, overcoming. And funny shit.

Since I made it a point of talking about romance and erotica in Kara Gillian, I think it's only fair to address it in My Life as a White Trash Zombie. The romance subplot is very limited and there's no erotica to speak of so far, which is great for me. But I have my suspicions that we're going to have some fun sex scenes in the future; what can go wrong when zombies are going at it?

Diana Rowland is certainly a very talented author and seems to have lived a fairly interesting life. The authenticity of what a cop and a coroner is all about, as depicted in her novels, can be traced back to her real life experiences. It's nice to read something and get the feeling that the author knows what he/she is talking about.

Cover was done by Daniel Dos Santos and it's awesome in my opinion. It's even better in person. There's nothing cooler than going around with a pink colored book with a bloodied zombie in the cover.

You can buy My Life as a White Trash Zombie from The Book Depository.

For some reason my online bookseller sent me two copies of My Life as a White Trash Zombie, which I won't complain about. But it's one more than I actually need, so think I may plan a giveaway at some point, but don't hold me to it. Let me know if there's some interest though.

And for the doubters out there:

I've been told by a very reputable source that I have a "nice spread". Or something like that.

For more information on Diana Rowland and her books, please visit her website.


  1. Between you and Mihir, my to-be-read pile is obnoxiously large. Thanks. :)

  2. LOL, I hesitate to recommend to you. You're kinda of a hard man to please if I go with your SFFWorld comments.

  3. I don't know man... even after your good marks I am torn on this one. After World War Z, I don't know if I can dig a UF zombie roll. If you put up a giveaway I will definitely enter.

  4. That's what I hate about writing reviews. I'm mostly used to dealing with people I know and deciding whether to recommend books to them personally or not. I don't recommend books around simply on the merit that I enjoyed them.

    I don't *think* you're much of a UF reader and when writing this review I have people who read a lot of UF in mind. So don't know what to tell Travis.

    The book is not really about Zombies. The zombie-ism in this book is more of a plot device I think just to have some amusing and funny scenes, and that will depend on how "haha" of a guy you are.

    Zombies here are more like supernatural beings and really behave like vampires would in any other series, with some unique twists of what that would entail. A hidden community of sorts.

    Hope that helps. I don't think the first book is really representative of what the whole series is about. If you enjoy detective work and procedurals, I think this could be something you would enjoy as the first book has some of that, and I think the series will have more of that going forward.

  5. Forgot to add, Zombie-ism is also a catalyst for our heroine, no pun intended, of our book as she begins to turn a page in her life and become a better person.

  6. While you may not directly recommend me stuff, I pay attention to what you and Mihir are commenting on and always seem to find one more book to look at.

    My problem is that I can rarely separate my internal editor and just read for fun. I'm always breaking the book down into its component parts and analyzing it to see how the writer has put it all together. It's really annoying.

  7. I was in the group that didn't like this cover until that comment about walking around with a pink book with a bloodied zombie. Now, I think we need more of these.

    Still undecided on this book though. You've definitely made a good case, though.

  8. If I got you pegged right, I think you'd enjoy it Seak.

    But right, think about it. People staring at you with your pink book, and you going "What? What?".

    @TM Yeah, I can see that. But other than Dresden and Hearne, and some books with twisted protagonists like Prince of Thorns, not sure what else you read and enjoy, particularly as far as UF goes.

  9. Okay, I have to say I've wanted the Kara Gillian series for a while but was put off some by what I heard about the erotica scenes. I'm not very big on them myself. But hearing you talk about the books, well I told you the other night, I got the first Kara Gillian book. And now hearing about this one. Well I think I need it as well. I was a little nervous about it so didn't add it to the want list at first but kept an eye out for the reviews and have heard wonderful things on this book from just about everyone. :) Thanks!

  10. Some really graphic erotic scenes in Kara Gillian, and the love triangle plot has increased as the series gone on.

    But I think you'll like the main character, and the issues she's facing and her insecurities, etc. I really do think that you'll love the series, plus she balances out the books with the suspense, mystery, and police work.

    If I can go through it and come out alive, I'm sure you'll be able to manage.

  11. That's what I'm thinking too. If you have come through the book and loved it, I'm sure I'll make it through with flying colors as well.

  12. @ Tim M.

    I'm glad to hear that both of us are directly/indirectly affecting your TBR pile. Though with your internal editor I'm not sure how much of it you enjoy.

    But I'm going to continue to do so :)



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