Working Stiff-Rachel Caine

So there’s an evil corporation that makes drug that brings people back from the dead. Unsuspecting women gets caught up in the middle of, well, everything. Hmm. Feels like I’ve seen this story before…

“Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn't the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment--until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele as part of an extortion racket. Now, Bryn faces being terminated--literally, and with extreme prejudice.
With the help of corporate double-agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem--pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She'd better do it fast, before she becomes a zombie slave--a real working stiff. She'd be better off dead…”

Now, don’t get me wrong. Rachel Caine’s first book in her new series is good. Really good. Well written. Easy to read. Nice developed characters. An interesting story line. My main issue with this book is that it is being marketed as a “zombie” book. And I suppose, technically, it is a zombie book. Bryn Davis is killed and then injected with the magic drug that brings her back to life. And then, for me, that is where the whole zombie thing ends. To me, this book is more of a suspense thriller that borderlines on being something similar to Resident Evil. Yeah. I said it. I’m sure some of you how read this had the words “Umbrella” and “Alice” pop into your mind. The idea of a drug being developed by a very powerful company is strikingly familiar. At least for me anyway.

I did enjoy the idea of Bryn having the worst first day of work ever. First day as a Funeral Director and then sees her boss selling zombie drug to desperate families. She is of course caught and then that’s when, well, she dies. Thanks to Joe, who is basically a mercenary working for Evil Corp (that’s not the name of the company, that’s just what I call all faceless corporations that are betrayed as evil), she is brought back to life. She is then put into servitude for the pharmaceutical company in trying to sniff out who old boss’s supplier. Crazy action and suspense in sews and we are left at the end of the book thinking what will happen to Bryn and Patrick McAllister, the double agent working for said pharmaceutical company.

Here was my major issue with the book: Bryn. I had an issue with the main character. I loved her at the beginning of the book. There is some background information revealed about her time spent in the army and how she did a tour in Iraq. Great, I thought, a strong female character that is going to kickass and take names. But hell no. Instead of taking control of things for herself, she allows Joe and McAllister, two men she has absolutely no reason to trust, to take her by the hand and lead her down the deadly path. I felt Caine just kind of crapped on the back story that she built up at the beginning of the book. Now I get it, Joe and McAllister are the ones who give her the shots, blah blah blah. But to me, there was kind of the build up of her being tough and resilient that didn’t really appear. And I don’t mean physically. Bryn does get her ass beat quite a few time. Hell, she even gets shot up, but I didn’t feel like there was any struggle on her part to take control of the situation herself.

But, even despite that, this book was very entertaining and I totally enjoyed myself. It’s a nice departure for Rachel Caine from her Weather Warden and Morganville Vampire series. It shows that she was range to write in a different style and genre. The book had great dark humor and action and I loved the whole funeral home angle of the story because I have never read a book where there was a drug hustler using a funeral home as a front for his extra monetary income.

I have to say, I was hoping that Mr. Fairview, the owner of the funeral home and seller of the zombie drug, would still be around. I felt that Caine put a quite a bit of time in making him only to be killed off kind of lame. He was an interesting character for sure. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll reappear, though I’m really not getting my hopes up.

So do I suggest this book? Yes. I do. But don’t start reading this book like it’s a tradition zombie book, because it isn’t. But I will say, it is defiantly a new look at what it means to be a zombie. : )