Thursday, March 5, 2009

Review – “Jailbait Zombie” by Mario Acevedo

FROM THE BOOK COVER:
Vampires versus Zombies, round one . . .

Vampire detective Felix Gomez has seen a lot of weird things since becoming one of the undead—nymphomaniacs, aliens, and X-rated bloodsuckers, just to name a few—but now he comes face-to-face with the worst sort of undead.

To stop a ravenous army of zombies, Gomez must team up with a precocious teen with clairvoyant powers whose cooperation comes at a price: she won't help unless Felix makes her a vampire . . . if the zombies don't get her first.
Jailbait Zombie is the fourth book in the urban fantasy series about vampire detective Felix Gomez and it is a blast. I always get a good feeling about a book when the opening line catches my attention. In this case the opening line is –
“Felix, drop your pants.”
OK there are a lot of directions a story can go with a line like that but trust me when I say that the first chapter of Jailbait Zombie is worth the price of the book all on its own. It had me in stitiches. Do not read this chapter if you have poor bladder control. Felix has his first encounter with a zombie and it does not end well for the zombie or a fellow vampire sent by the Araneum (vampire council) to assist. They meet their demise in a most unfortunate way. Felix has a rather dry and self-deprecating sense of humour that shines throughout the novel –
“If wisdom comes from making stupid mistakes, then someday I’m going to be a genius.”
This is not to say that Jailbait Zombie is all laughs and giggles. The Araneum has commanded Felix to find the source of a zombie outbreak as well as a powerful new psychic energy signal. The council wants the zombies destroyed to protect the secrets of the undead. The psychic signal finds Felix first and comes in the form of a dysfunctional and terminal sixteen year-old teenager named Phaedra. She uses her psychic abilities to torment Felix with flashbacks of his time in Iraq to persuade him to turn her. Because she is human and aware of vampires, Felix is required to kill her too.

Despite his vampire nature, Felix exhibits a very human range of emotions and is a wonderfully flawed character. This nature leads him to pity the abused Phaedra and break the rules. The relationship becomes complicated when he realizes her ‘family’ is the local mob. Mob members are disappearing and Felix finds himself both enlisting their aid and trying to avoid getting whacked by them.

The author has also created a truly inspirational Mad Scientist in the guise of the Red Bull swigging Dr. Hennison, the mastermind behind the zombie crisis. Like all great evil geniuses he can’t resist the urge to monologue. To Felix he says –
"Now that I've reanimated the dead, I've only whetted my ambitions. My goals before were laughably modest. Even juvenile. I wanted to even the score on every nuisance, every inconvenience, every parking ticket, every blind date who wouldn't return my phone calls." Hennison marched from the mirror. "Instead, my recent success has fueled my desire for complete mastery of the globe."
Jailbait Zombie delivers a truckload of juicy zombie fight scenes with all the gory details including a blockbuster of scene where Felix and Jolie (a vampire partner last seen in The Undead Kama Sutra) take on the Mad Scientist and his zombie army at their secret hideaway. There are plenty of nods to zombie cinema (brains!) and cult scifi pictures.

Jailbait Zombie is a tightly plotted and fast-paced adventure that is always funny, imaginative and impossible to resist. Felix makes mistakes, never allowing things to become predictable for the reader. How things turn out with Phaedra as the novel concludes caught me totally by surprise and it will be interesting to see how her role plays out in future sequels.

If you haven’t read any of the previous Felix Gomez books don’t worry, Jailbait Zombie stands fine on its own with no prior familiarity with the series needed. Fans of the series though will appreciate the small details from all of the earlier books that are neatly woven into the narrative as reminders of prior events. This is a standout tale and the Felix Gomez novels should be on every serious urban fantasy readers must have list. Jailbait Zombie will definitely be on my top ten list come the end of the year.


HarperCollins Publishers/EOS
Published: February 24, 2009
ISBN #: 9780061567148
Format: Trade paperback
Pages: 353

Read an excerpt of Chapters 1 and 2.

Recent Interviews:
Vampire Wire

Felix Gomez Series:

  1. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats (2007)
  2. X-Rated Blood Suckers (2008)
  3. The Undead Kama Sutra (2008)
  4. Jailbait Zombie (2009)

Watch the totally off-the-wall book trailer.



5 comments:

  1. I'm so interested in this series! I have yet to start them yet. Did you write a review for The Nymphos of Rocky Flats in 2007?

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  2. Hey Mishel while I have been reading UF for years, I only started my blog last summer so I don't have a review for Nymphos. All of the books are highly entertaining. Felix Gomez is one of the most interesting UF characters out there.

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  3. Ah okay, no worries. I was interested in what you thought of it (= Thank you, I'll definitely be checking it out.

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  4. Zombies freak me out badly but I may have to give these a try someday!

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  5. Lady_tink I don't think you will be disappointed. Felix has such a sardonic sense of humour and the series is very imaginative.

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