Monday, February 8, 2016

White Trash Zombie Gone Wild by Diana Rowland

Angel crawford has buried her loser past and is cruising along in undead high gear--that is, until a murder-by-decapitation sends her on a hazardous detour. As Angel hunts for the killer, she uncovers a scheme that would expose zombies to the public and destroy the life she's built, and she's determined not to rest until she finds out who's behind it.

Soon she's neck-deep in lies, redneck intrigue, zombie hunters, and rot-sniffing cadaver dogs. It's up to her to unravel the truth and snuff out the conspiracy before the existence of zombies makes headline news and she's outed as a monster.

But Angel hasn't quite escaped the pill-popping ghosts of her past--not with an illicit zombie pharmaceutical at her fingertips. Good thing she's absolutely sure she can handle the drug's unpredictable side effects and still take down the bad guys...or maybe she's only one bad choice away from being dead meat--for real this time.

Angel knows a thing or two about kicking ass, but now the ass she needs to kick might be her own.

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As is somewhat expected by this point in the series, we see Angel continue to grow and evolve in this book. Only this time she does a bit of regressing as well as she succumbs to chemical temptations for the first time in a long time. She's got her eyes open to it though, and resolves not to fall down that hole again after all the progress she's made in getting her life on track. Still, with events heating up and calling for her to bring her A-game to play more and more at the same time that she finds herself feeling less and less well, it's understandable perhaps that she would look for some artificial pick-me-ups to help her stay sharp. She can only hope that the cost won't be too high...

Angel's struggle not to succumb to addiction once more is quite admirable. She recognizes the danger, and resolves to stop before she can't stop because she doesn't want to go back to the way she used to be. Sadly, for all her resolve to quit she isn't able to for a variety of reasons, some of which are quite legitimate and serious, and others which are somewhat more questionable. Still, even though events spiral somewhat out of her control, she herself remains more or less in control, at least to the extent that she realizes that she can't continue the way she is indefinitely.

The story here is a continuation of what came before, building and expanding on it. Besides the addiction troubles, many other things from the past come back to haunt Angel and her friends here. Indications are that it will just continue to do so as well, despite any dubious gains that they make in this book. Actually, in the larger scheme of things, the situation largely ends in a stalemate. Big decisions will lie ahead for Angel's zombie clan, and odds are that things won't end entirely well for them in the long run. It's quite realistic actually I think, for in a situation as complex as the one they've been caught in for awhile now, it's to be expected that sacrifices will have to be made at some point and that compromise will often be the name of the game.

I enjoyed this book, perhaps a bit more than the last few, in large part because of the focus on Angel and her self-discoveries. In many ways it felt like this book was more about laying groundwork for future big developments in the overall story arc than it was about the immediate events at hand. This isn't a bad thing though, for it indicates that there will be more books in the future because the story is clearly far from over. I'll be interested to see where it goes from here. If you've been following this series, you won't want to miss this installment. If you haven't, then I'd recommend going back and starting from the beginning, because everything will make far more sense if you know all of what's come before. I'd definitely still list this series as recommended reading.

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