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Braineater Jones
by Stephen Kozeniewski


Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder. But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.

As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism. Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

So, admittedly, I didn’t read the synopsis, look at the cover or even have an inkling what this book was about when I started to read it. I was assigned this novel and judging by the title, I expected it to be comical. Three percent through … I said, “Stop. What am I reading?”

Now, don’t take that as a bad sign, I asked this question with a smile on my face. After all, I was expecting a typical zombie novel with a slight Shawn of the Dead or Zombieland slant to it.Braineater Jones is far from typical. I looked up the book and caught glimpse of cover and that was all, really, I needed to know. I started the novel again. It has a Foreword and honestly, I never read any Foreword until I get through a few chapters. Just a weird thing, especially if I see it is an ‘explanation’ from the author. I take that mindset of ‘Let me read first and then I’ll hear what you want to explain’. I don’t like anything being put in my head.

Off I went, diving into this story with a brand new mindset. It reminded me, in a positive way, of one of those ‘dime story detective’ novels or a film noire shot and narrated by a slick guy with a deep bite and hook to his voice. Complete with that trouble starting Dame every old school mystery has.

Braineater Jones wakes up, or doesn’t wake, he’s dead, at the bottom of a pool. He opens his eyes and so our story begins. He wonders what the heck is going on and is determined to find out not only what happened to him but who he is. He can’t remember.

After a run-in with some thugs, he goes to some sleezy, two bit hotel. There he meets Lazar and we get more information about the new way of life or unlife that Braineater faces.

His journey to the truth is documented in diary entries. And you read each one with that voice in your head. Braineater dives into the community of undead, and learns that you can keep your brain working and body from dripping flesh if you pickle your brain. That is done with alcohol.

The story takes a different perspective, and a fresh one (no pun intended toward corpses). Its twists and turns weave a great and unique mystery as you follow Braineater Jones through his own path of uncovery with plenty of obstacles and bad guys that want him more dead.

The novel is witty, intense and keeps your interest from start to finish. It reads fast, I mean super fast and not that the book is short, it just reads that well. Nothing stumbled me. And that rarely happens. While some Zombie snobs may not like this book, I certainly did.

I can’t for the life of me think of any reason to give this book less than five stars. Stephen Kozeniewski has crafted a very well written novel, it’s crisp, funny, mysterious and just darned good. He is a writing force to be reckoned with and I think I’ll nickname him ‘The Koz’, as his superstar author name, because I am certain if he keeps this up, he’ll get there. And to steal a little line from his book, Thank Jesus, Murphy, and Joe Hooker that fellow ‘Koz’, he’s got another Zombie book out. Onward to that.

Jacqueline Druga, The Bookie Monster for HMS

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