I am of course a huge zombie fiction fan, so after I read Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore (which I enjoyed) and say his next book would take place in Illinois, I couldn’t wait! While Zombie, Ohio is told from the viewpoint of Peter Mellor a newly turned zombie, who unlike the rest of the undead around him, can think rationally, talk and more importantly, pass for a live human, though all the while loving brains, Zombie Illinois focuses on a group of people trying to survive. There is Maria, the drummer of an underground Chicago punk band, Ben, a news reporter for “Brain’s Chicago Business” and Leopold Mack, a pastor from the south side. Each chapter is told from their point of view of these characters.
We follow the three as they fight zombies and bad guys, deal with shady politics (it is Chicago after all) and corrupt police. Bodies buried or dumped in Lake Michigan begin to surface (or I should say walk?). When the mayor is eaten on live television (wait til you see who does it!), people start to scramble for money and control. Betrayal, kidnapping, murder… these are nothing to greedy city politicians and bosses. It’s a war… and not just against the zombies.
Mr Kenemore, who lives in Logan Square in Chicago, has completely done his research, spending a lot of time touring the various areas he writes about. His intimate description of the city, its neighborhoods and its politics brings a true sense of realism (and fear) to his book. I love the scene where he manages to throw in Rich & Creamy an ice cream place in Joliet ! I won’t spoil it! I also found myself caring deeply for the characters. Finally, the zombies were pretty nasty which is always a good thing! All in all this is excellently researched and written horror, especially for those of us who live in the area, that should be part of any zombie fan’s reading collection. Mr. Kenemore is also the author of Zombie Ohio (narrated by a zombie) and several other zombie satire books.