Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While driving to their weekly marriage counseling appointment, Sarah and David notice things are a bit unusual. There’s little or no traffic in downtown Seattle, the parking lot attendant has vanished and their therapist is running late and gnawing on her previous appointment.
Turns out the zombie apocalypse has happened thanks to a fast-spreading virus that converts the bitten into zombies within ten to twenty minutes of exposure. Thanks to their mutual love of zombie films, Sarah and David are able to survive wave after wave of attack, all while working out their marital problems (turns out that the zombie apocalypse is far more effective than therapy…who knew?) and figuring out their next move.
It’s official that zombies are now the next big thing in publishing. And while they’re not quite as sparkly as vampires, the brain eating undead are certainly making quite a march onto the shelves, with varying degrees of success. In the column of zombies really working in the context of a story and adding something to it, I’d put up "Feed" or "Boneshaker." Then on the other end, you’ve got "Married with Zombies" where the role of the undead is being played for laughs.
At some points in the story, it works well. But clocking in at just over 200 pages, "Married with Zombies" feels longer than that. Another reviewer pointed out that the book quickly falls into a pattern of find supplies, get attacked, fight it off and retreat over and over again. And it’s not hard to argue with that. We’re treated to first-person narration from Sarah, who does get in a few one-liners and zingers that do work well. But one-liners and zingers do not a complete story make. In many ways, "Married with Zombies" has that feeling of a Saturday Night Live skit that starts off clever at first, but slowly becomes less and less enjoyable the longer the central concept is stretched out. The initial fun of a brain eating therapist and a marriage on the rocks becomes a bit less interesting once we come across a crazy cult of religious nuts who believe the zombie uprising in book of Revelation come to life.
And yet, I still enjoyed the book enough to be curious to see where things go next. Part of this could be that the relationship and ups and downs of Sarah and David intrigued me enough to see what happens next to them. And part of it could be that the hook that comes in the final pages is just interesting enough that I wouldn’t necessarily mind spending another 200 or so pages with this couple. You’ll be rooting for these crazy kids to survive–not only the zombies but each other.