I know what you are thinking, of course I am reviewing this book, it has Zombie’s in the title, well before we go on, I want to make something clear, this is not a zombie book in the sense of what many of my blog readers expect. Yet, as I sit here and type that this is not a post apocalyptic tale of survival, I realize this is a story of survival just not one after a zombie apocalypse. Then I start typing, this is not a tale about the crazed undead running around obsessed with eating brains and I realize, wait, it is about obsession. In Zombie Candy there is a lot of focused and mindless obsession sprinkled throughout the novel. But I will repeat, though this book is not about Zombies it includes the obsession of zombies in today’s pop-culture as a plot device.
Let’s talk about titles, a title can make or break a book. This title is going to get Frederick sales because people like me are going to buy it. When we read it we will be a bit confused, but most of us will finish it and we will go on to recommend it to everyone, including and even especially to those who are followers of the zombie pop-culture movement. “But wait,” you are saying, “If it is not a zombie story, why am I going to want to read this?” Well let me tell you, it made me laugh at myself a bit because since it is a tale involving obsession and this one part is exploring the obsession of one individuals own zombie movies in particular, it is definitely worth the read.
OK, that is not enough? Frederick Lee Brooke has obsession down! Not just in his characters, but I am betting he has a bit of an obsessive personality, especially after reading the first Annie Ogden Mystery, his obsession of which caused me frustration. I was reading it because it was labeled as a mystery when it was more of a thriller, there was no mystery for the reader just the characters involved. The character development is very in-depth and therefore took up a lot of the novel. Was it badly written? No it was not a mystery and I got hung up on that one thing, hence my own obsession.
But we are talking about Zombie Candy, I already know who Annie Ogden is, her character and her personality. Do you need to read the first one before this? No, he includes enough development that we understand her, and her own obsessions. (seeing a theme here?) This was not an unusual story. Wife is has a dog of a husband. She hires private investigators to find out the dirt. Wife finds dirt out, wife decided to get revenge before serving him with divorce papers, yada-yada. The difference and what makes this an exceptional version of this story arc, is it’s intricacy and fearless reach outwards to the almost fantastical edge of crazy town obsession!
The main character is Annie’s best friend from college, Candice is someone who has pretty low self-esteem due to her weight and her husbands commentary over it. After the first book, Annie took classes at a PI firm and in the beginning of the novel is having dinner with Candice and her husband Larry’s. Candice is also a chef who teaches classes on cooking hence the weight gain. We open up with Larry being a verbal and psychological abusive jerk to his wife to the point of pinching her percieved fat roll.
So we open with Candice obviously upset, but she is upset with more than his actions towards her, but what she has found in his suitcase. In this brief episode at the dinner table we get a taste test for the flavor of the whole novel. Larry’s obsessive personality is introduced with his need to sprinkle cilantro on everything, Candice’s with cooking and the subsequent weight she has put on because this and Annie’s own compulsion and obsession over the happiness of all around her, especially her friends.
As the tale progresses each of these obsessions become bigger and more outrageous. We discover that Larry’s obsession with zombie movies is as bad as his obsession with sex and women. Candice ends up transferring her obsession with her weight into losing it and getting back at Larry before divorcing him by going on to what seems to be a further and further off-the-deep end aggressive attempt to gain control back over her life. Annie’s own obsession with making people happy instead of focusing on her own happiness becomes more prevalent and even begins to be resolved near the end.
In the end the obsessions above continue to grow and rise, much like a great dough recipe with Fredrick Lee Brooke kneading each person’s experiences till everything is just right. Throw in a delightful trip to a village in the Tuscany district in Italy and you have a complete dish! Serve it up finished with the lives of everyone changed for ever as the prefect ingredients. The sauce? All that zombie goodness and sauce is what makes or breaks a good Italian dish. Now just throw it in the oven and see how much a well cooked up zombie can changes your life too. Zombie Candy? Well read the book and see! I give this book a 4 out of 5 set of moose tracks! My obsession with zombies in this paragraph…?
For my special pizza recipe I created just for this book, head on over to Cabin Goddess I promise no brains or cilantro will be part of this pizza!