Read by Phil Gigante
Length: 9 Hrs 7 Min
Genre: Paranormal Urban Fantasy
Quick Thoughts: Author Kevin J Anderson leaves no pun unturned as he masterfully blends tropes, satirizes pop culture and demonizes bigotry in this uproarious edition to his Supernatural Noir series. It’s like someone took everything I like in a good book, Noir detectives, legal quandaries, slapstick humor, and Zombies, and blended it together in a tasty treat that is also quite filling. After the amazing Death Warmed Over, Unnatural Act proves that Dan Shamble isn’t just some one trick Zombie
Sometimes when I watch the news I am reminded of just how simply ridiculous our world is. What makes it even more insane is how we like to broadcast out ridiculousness out into the universe for all of creation to see. This is why I have enjoyed satire for most of my life, because without it, I may fall into a heap of fleshy goo and spend all my days crying, trying to rip the sounds of some talking head’s latest comment out of my ears. Satire reminds me that it is OK to laugh at the ridiculousness of our culture, despite there being some serious issues. I recently read a review of the first Dan Shamble novel, Death Warmed Over, where the reviewer lambasted the novel for its PC sentiments of turning the white males into monsters, while singing the praise of diversity of monsters of all stripes, obviously representing ethnic minorities. After repeatedly hitting my head against the wall in existential angst, I got right back to listening to Unnatural Acts, and laughing as a douchey Senator tries to regulate the sexual activities of the Unnatural citizens of this great series. Because, all we can really do is laugh anyway. People will either choose to be bothered by the basic tenants of acceptance and make an issue of it and if I allow these types of people to affect my ability to enjoy my day than maybe I’m the ridiculous one. Because, these novels aren’t full of any agenda, just simple tales of acceptance in the guise of monsters and creatures of legends told with some great characters that make me happy. Plus, it’s full of jokes like, "What does a zombie vegetarian say? Graaaaaaaiiiiiinnnnsss…. Come on people, laugh a little. Grains….
The Offices of Chambeaux & Deyer is a beacon to the many monstrous citizens of the Unnatural Quarter, so it was the perfect place for escaped Golem Bill to seek help to bring down a sweatshop using unpaid Golem labor. Thus begins another adventure of Dan Shamble, Zombie PI. Author Kevin J Anderson leaves no pun unturned as he masterfully blends tropes, satirizes pop culture and demonizes bigotry in this uproarious edition to his Supernatural Noir series. The Dan Shamble series breathes a breathe of fresh air into the bloated corpse of urban paranormal fantasies. One of the things I love about this series is that although being a zombie with a ghost girlfriend has many issues, Dan Shamble is an uncomplicated character. He and his lawyer cohort exude a sort of innocent empathy and desire to help the oppressed in the increasingly murky world after the Big Uneasy. Dan is just instantly likable, a zombie boyscout without pretension and all his cohorts, from a Vampire bodyguard and wanna be comedian to the lowly Golem’s looking for a break, are so full of life even when they are not quite living. The lighthearted nature of the storytelling, full of cheesy jokes, breezy camaraderie and goofy dialogue never mutes the emotional outrage you feel when these likable monsters are being mistreated. Anderson fills this tale with social commentary, but in such a way that you really don’t think about it, until you realize how much these stories parallel the ridiculousness of modern culture. I love that there isn’t one single underlining plot, but a series of interlinking events that Anderson pulls together for an effective finale. These are all recognizable Noir storylines, blending with the paranormal, and filled with satire that allows Unnatural Acts comes off both comfortable, yet edgy. I had such a good time listening to Unnatural Acts. It’s like someone took everything I like in a good book, Noir detectives, legal quandaries, slapstick humor, and Zombies, and blended it together in a tasty treat that is also quite filling. After the amazing Death Warmed Over, Unnatural Act proves that Dan Shamble isn’t just some one trick Zombie.
Phil Gigante populates this tale with such a menagerie of wonderful character voices that I barely contain my fanboyish squeals. Like Anderson, Gigante calls upon his library of monstrous tropes to create characters that are both recognizable yet unique. At times I heard everything from Count Von Count to Bub the Zombie lend their voice to this tale. Gigante adds his soft southern charm, peppering it with a gothic Cajun feel, to the character of Dan Shamble. It’s almost like a Noir Forrest Gump with just a bit of Clark Kent added for good measure. The soft spoken Zombie is balanced by his sexy astral girlfriend and his pious crusading partner. Gigante manages to take all these characters and against all odds, make their dialogue flow naturally. His pacing is slow and steady, allowing the natural storytelling skills of Anderson to shine through. He does all this with the vocal equivalent of a wink, making it obvious to the listener that he is enjoying every moment of narrating this tale. There is a reason that Death Warmed Over was one of my Top Audiobooks of 2012, and these reasons prove just as true in Unnatural Acts. Unnatural Acts was simply a joy to listen to, full of humor, a wonderful story, endearing characters, and even some emotional payoff.
Note: Thanks to Brilliance Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.