by Scott Kenemore
"When you're going through hell, keep going." --A Famous Quote
A man wakes up, alone, on a country road at night. He discovers that he is the survivor of a car accident, but for the life of him, he can't recall what happened. In fact, he can't recall much of anything, including who he is. In short order, he learns that his memory loss is actually the least of his problems. In an unlikely turn of events, the dead have returned to Earth.
In an even unlikelier turn of events, the amnesiac is one of them.
Crafting a zombie thriller in which the protagonist suffers from amnesia is a subtle stroke of genius. In ths manner, we the audience can be thrown into the middle of the inevitable undead apocalypse, with our hero knowing no more than us. As he discovers something for the first time, we discover it too. Under the philosophy of Protagonist-As-Reader, this little trick goes a long way.
Astute readers will notice some subtle nods to the work of H.P. Lovecraft along the way, including the mention of a group of scientists working in the fictional Arkham, Mass. Lovecraft may not have ever crafted a traditional zombie tale, but Kenemore is obviously a fan. He wears his influences on his sleeve, and on more than one occasion weighs in on recent trends that plague the zombie genre.
Kenemore had previously penned a number of comical undead-themed books (which I have regretably not read), but this is his first novel. It still retains a biting humor throughout, however, and considering one of his previous efforts was titled The Zen of Zombie, it's no surprise that lead character Peter Mellor is a professor of philosophy. There is a great deal of loose philosophizing to be found in his narration, but its always enjoyable and accessible, never overbearing. This isn't Zombie and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance...although I would totally read that book, too.
The synopsis given on the back of the book may lead one to believe that it is about a murder victim returning from the grave and investigating his own death--a literal I Know Who Killed Me--but that's not what it's about. That is a small sub-plot at best, and is hardly the main theme of the story. Which was sort of a disappointment, as the detective genre and the supernatural work so well together.
It's true that the story kind of loses its steam in the final 50 pages or so, but that doesn't change the fact that Zombie, Ohio is a fun, fast and thoroughly enjoyable read, reccomended to any zombie fan with a sense of humor. It's the closest we're bound to get to a Shaun of the Dead sequel, as told by the other side.