Audiobook Review: Death Warmed Over by Kevin J. Anderson

4 10 2012

Death Warmed Over by Kevin J. Anderson (Dan Shamble, Zombie PI, Bk. 1)

Read by Phil Gigante

Brilliance Audio

Length: 8 Hrs 45 Min

Genre: Paranormal

Quick Thoughts: Death Warmed Over is a haunted Halloween treat that pulls from The Police Squad as much as classic monster tales. Kevin J. Anderson has created a tableau for storytelling that should please a wide plethora of fans across many genres. Death Warmed Over is a tragic yet beautiful romance, an action filled buddy comedy, and a unique legal thriller all rolled into a tasty noir zombie shell and readers will want to take a big bite out of it.

Grade: A

I know right now it’s maybe not the coolest thing in the world to admit, but I do believe in God, or at the very least, a mystical Santa like figure who sits somewhere over us granting us little niceties to allow our miserable existences a little bit of pleasure, I see this God figure in the little things in life, a cool breeze on a hot day, a kind word when your feeling down, and a clutch hit in the bottom of the ninth when all seems lost. I know that there is a benevolent powerful figure because books like Death Warmed Over exists. Yeah, I know what many people are thinking, if there is a God why waste his time on creating awesome pieces of fiction tailored to my likes. To that I say, BAH! this is my God figure, and I will allow him what priorities I see fit. One of those powers is taking my divergent likes, and mashing them into one book, and throwing in my favorite audiobook narrator as icing on the awesome cake. While I tend to review a lot of fiction within specific genres, I never really feel comfortable calling myself a true fan of the genre, on the level we assign fandom these days. I don’t automatically geek out if you tell me there is a new horror novel being released. I like specific types of horror, specific authors, but there is also a lot within the genre I don’t like. The same goes for science fiction, fantasy, mysteries and thrillers. I consider myself fans of certain subgenres more so than any genre as a whole. I love noir mysteries, legal thrillers and zombie novels. I love monster mashups, and slapstick comedies featuring genre blending characters. Yet, if you told me there was a genre bending novel that combines noir mysteries, legal thrillers, monster mashups, and zombies and told in a slapstick comedic style with pun filled hilarity I would tell you to stop drinking my brain juice. But there is, and it’s called Death Warmed Over. And you say there is no God.

Private Investigator Dan Chambeaux, the top investigator in The Unnatural Quarter, was investigating his girlfriend’s murder when someone shot him in the back of the head. Two weeks later, he wakes up, dusts the dirt off his good suit, and got right back to work. Ever since The Big Uneasy, when a weird set of coincidences involving a Virgin, a paper cut and the Necromonicom changed the fabric of the world, Zombies, ghosts, Vampires and other monsters entered the world. Yet, these everyday monsters just want to do their jobs, and be left alone. Teamed up with his girlfriend’s ghost, and a vigilant Pro-Unnatural lawyer, Dan takes on a series of cases, and one real mission…. find out who murdered him. To be perfectly honest, Kevin J. Anderson is not an author who is typically on my radar. Years ago I read a book that he cowrote called Ill Wind which I enjoyed. I know him mostly as a science fiction author.  If it wasn’t for the insistence of narrator Phil Gigante, who compared Death Warmed Over to one of my favorite series, Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard series, I may have missed out on one of my favorite listens of the year. So, no surprise, I loved every moment of Death Warmed Over. For me, it may be the perfect Halloween tale for those who grew up on movies like The Monster Squad. On the surface it’s a mystery. Now, the mystery itself isn’t mind-blowing. Seasoned mystery readers should be able to piece most of it together even before our undead detective, but this is one of those rare moments where the plot itself doesn’t matter nearly as much as how it was told. Dan Chambeaux is a great lead. Tragically romantic, doggedly competent, and just full of corny puns, one liners and clever turns of phrase delivered in an awshucks, I’m serious manner that you can’t help but love.  The plot is full of clever legal scenarios that are both humorous, and yet intriguing, applying today’s laws to unnatural situations. For example, do property rights revert back to the reawakened dead? What legal rights do people have when being stalked by the ghost of a relative? These scenarios more than make up for any holes in the plot. Death Warmed Over is a haunted Halloween treat that pulls from The Police Squad as much as classic monster tales. Kevin J. Anderson has created a tableau for storytelling that should please a wide plethora of fans across many genres. Death Warmed Over is a tragic yet beautiful romance, an action filled buddy comedy, and a unique legal thriller all rolled into a tasty noir zombie shell and readers will want to take a big bite out of it.

So, yes, Phil Gigante is my favorite narrator, and so, I’m biased. I listened to this based on his recommendation, so again…. biased. That being said, if you have any interest in this book at all, you must experience it at the hands of Phil Gigante. Phil narrates three of my favorite series. The fast, funny and furious buddy action tales that are Joe Lansdale’s Hap & Leonard series, the dark, tragic noir styling’s of Andrew Vachss’ Burke series, and the over the top outrageous adventures of Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steele Rat. In Death Warmed Over Gigante blends the best of these three series together to deliver one of his finest performances. The key to pulling off good slapstick comedy is mastering the straight delivery. Your puns and corny phrases must be delivered as if you actually mean them, and this is exactly what Gigante does. With a tale so outrageous, there would be the temptation to ham it up, and this is a trap Gigante never falls into. He gives Dan Chambleaux’s undead voice heart, and flawlessly captures his true nature. Add to that all the sexy sirens, lonely vampires, righteous activists. dirty dealers, and hirsute lycanthropes and Gigante has a narrating playground to apply his many skills to, and he doesn’t skimp., Now, I want to be clear, Death Warmed Over is uncannily targeted to my tastes, and that makes it very hard to objectively recommend it to others whose taste may diverge from mine, but screw objectivity. Death Warmed Over is easily one of my favorite listens of the year, and, well, I listen to a heck of a lot of audiobooks. If you are looking for one Halloween themed audiobook to take a chance on this season, give Death Warmed over a shot. Not only will you get a great story, and meet a wonderful character, but you will have the opportunity to listen to one of the best narrators in the business. *end fanboygasm*

Note: Thanks to Brilliance Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

3 responses

4 10 2012
Dave

Hmmmmm. That does sound like a lot of fun, actually. Thanks!

4 10 2012
Chinoiseries

Fanboygasm? xD I immediately went and checked out audio samples by Phil Gigante. He also did a few Philip K. Dick short stories! I love him already 🙂 The right narrator can make a story so much better. My favourites include Stephen Briggs (Terry Pratchett books) and Stephen Pacey (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Sleep Pale Sister) because they put their everything into bringing the written story to life.

27 12 2012
My Top 20 Audiobooks of 2012 « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] My Review […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: