I first experienced the bizarre imagination of Andy Zach when I read his Zombie Turkeys: How an Unknown Blogger Fought Unkillable Turkeys (Life After Life Volume 1) which I reviewed for BookPleasures.com on Jan. 10, 2016 at:
In that romp, blogger Sam Melvin tracked a horde of carnivorous red-eyed zombie turkeys plaguing Illinois in a zombie apocalypse while his boss/ girlfriend Lisa used his blog stories to build her website where the couple hocked all manner of killer turkey merchandise.
Now, in volume 2 of the series, Sam meets a family of human zombies. They’re nothing like the usual relentless undead walkers you’ve come to expect. In Zach’s world, zombie humans don’t mind the changes their bodies went through as the changes are mostly improvements. Lost limbs grow back and bodies don’t quit. In particular, Diane Newby, the undead mother-in-law of the title, becomes a zombie advocate urging her family to share their blood with other people, especially the elderly and disabled, whose ailments are “cured” when the zombie blood transforms them. In addition, Diane “reasons” with savage zombie animals like turkeys and bulls, taming them to behave themselves and obey her commands.
Perhaps not surprisingly, medical authorities and the government are divided on deciding just what the best response to all this should be. Is it discrimination for the NFL and other leagues to ban zombies from sports? What sort of legislation should Congress pass?
If all that weirdness isn’t enough for you, toss in European crime lord Vik Staskas who wants to take over America using hijacked zombie blood. He controls deadly remote-controlled cyborg animals like rats, snakes, and monkeys. They can talk and threaten pilots and ship captains to go where the billionaire wants them to go. Thus begins the war between zombie humans, turkeys, and bulls vs. cyborg snakes, gorillas, and chimpanzees. If all that still isn’t enough for you, well, next comes . . . zombies at sea, vicious killer zombie hula-girls with shapely legs, zombies watching The Night of the Living Dead with the Trumps in the White House . . .
Obviously, Zach isn’t expecting his readers to take any of this seriously. So he doesn’t spend much time developing his characters, describing his settings, or doing anything at all that would slow his fast-moving narrative. Yes, it’s a violent, bloody book with considerable carnage, but carnage of a very cartoonish nature. After all, zombies of any species can’t be killed, and cyborg creatures being smashed, crushed, or blown up aren’t likely to distress any reader’s sensibilities.
So My Undead Mother-In-Law, while not publicized as a YA story, should appeal to a generation for whom blogging is part of their daily life. Zach even asked a less than famous blogger to write the humorous “Foreword” to the book. That’s really what any reader needs to enjoy this strange yarn—a sense of humor and a willingness to lose yourself in a world that never was and never will be. But a world that seems likely to appear once again in yet another sequel.
This review was first published at BookPleasures.com on Aug. 14, 2017 at: