Tuesday, September 18, 2012


No stranger to Day of the Woman, zombie expert, Scott Kenemore is at it again with his second zombie novel centered around a midwest outbreak.  Scott Kenemore is the author of the Zen of Zombie-series of humor/satire books, and the novel Zombie, Ohio.  A graduate of Kenyon College and Columbia University, Scott is a proud member of the Zombie Research Society and the Horror Writers Association.  When he's not writing,  Scott is a Chicago Drummer and is the drummer for the musical band The Blissters.  Scott has discussed zombies on the Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The Alan Colmes Show and other esteemed news outlets.  His books have been written about in the Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Hartford Courant, Indianapolis Star, Cleveland Plain Dealer, USA TODAY, Rue Morgue Magazine, Fangoria, Gawker.com, BoingBoing.netAOL News, and the New York Times “City Room” blog.  He's even such the zombie expert that he's been been asked to discuss zombies and horror-writing at conventions like Comic-Con International, Spooky Empire, and ZomBcon.

Zombie, Ohio was the first zombie novel that we had seen from him after his Zen of Zombie satirical book series, but Zombie, Illinois has taken his writing skills to an entirely new level.  The novel has three narrators-- a twenty-something Latina rock drummer in an all girl band, a thirty-something male political news reporter, and a sixty-something African American pastor. Zombie, Illinois follows these three characters as they interact with one another, fight zombies, and negotiate the difficulties of the first 24 hours of a zombie outbreak in Chicago, Chicagoland, and greater Illinois. Many of the themes and locales are drawn from Scott Kenemore's own experiences (being a drummer in Chicago bands, working in the media, and working for six years with community-improvement organizations in African American neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side).   

The most interesting thing about Kenemore's writing style is his ability to generate very different voices for each of his characters, while still maintaining his own style of writing.  Obviously the language between a girl in a band called "Strawberry Brite Vagina Dentata" is going to be far more vulgar than an African American pastor working in the slums of the South Side of Chicago.  Somehow, he manages to retain a sense of fluidity and the book flows seamlessly between the three different perspectives.  The characters are likable from very different corners of perspective, and everything feels very...real.  One of the easiest mistakes to make with a zombie novel is losing touch with reality, which is something Kenemore never does.  He has produced a zombie novel that is able to frighten, thrill, and entertain without ever becoming campy.  

Any Chicago native (or anyone who has ever visited Chicago) will be sure to enjoy all of the little homages that the book throws to us Windy City dwellers.  Kenemore has written a novel about zombies, yes, but the underlying exposition on the beating heart of Chicago is thrown right in our faces.  He has truly captured what it means to be a Chicagoan and what makes us different than any other city on the planet.  "West Coast, East Coast, how about NO COAST." He really did his homework with mentions of cities outside of Chicago, including a little nod to my overzealous religious city of Zion, Illinois just north of Chicago.  

The fact that Kenemore doesn't receive as much praise or notoriety as say, a certain zombie author with a very famous filmmaking daddy, is incredibly frustrating.  Kenemore has tapped into the human condition, underground issues in society, and of course, the zombie phenomena. The world in which is characters reside is one that is very, very convincing.  While reading Zombie, Illinois, it never once feels out of the ordinary and everything resembles how a zombie apocalypse would actually happen.  To put it simply, Zombie, Illinois is one of the most entertaining and realistic zombie outbreak novels in a very long time. 

You can purchase Zombie, Illinois on Amazon 
You can try to win one of the two copies I've got for giveaway by sending me an email 

2 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Zombie, Ohio was a great read. I'm looking forward to this one as well. I'm not a Chicago native...but I was born in a small town called Kankakee, Illinois (perhaps most famous for being destroyed by giant monsters in the old video game RAMPAGE!). Didn't even know this was coming out. Thanks for the heads up.

My ZOMBIE, OHIO review (if you're interested)


Unknown said...

Very cool. I remember quite enjoying Zombie, Ohio. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one. And you're right in that he knows how to capture the voices of his characters really well.

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