Zombie Ohio: A Tale of the Undead by Scott Kinemore spins a tale through the eyes of a Zombie. Not a true zombie but one who is slowly turning.
Peter Mellor was a college professor at a university in – you guessed it – Ohio, who gets into a fatal car accident as a zombie virus is spreading across the world. Even though Peter has died and the virus has started taking over his body and mind Peter awakens after a few minutes mostly in his human form alive again but the virus did not have enough time to fully take over yet.
Peter finds himself at a near complete loss of memory, yet he is still able to remember vague ideas and purposes of his former life when he looks at building or runs across humans with whom he is familiar. Although he is initially in full conscious control of his body mechanics, his cognitive thinking, like his skin and ability to form words, is slowly deteriorating.
After a brief and failed attempt to re-connect with some old acquaintances, Peter saves someone’s life and viciously tears apart the attacker. This made him realize that, while he obviously still held onto enough humanity to recognize good and evil, he wasn’t fit to be around those he cared about. Trekking out through the Ohio countryside layered in snow, Peter tries to find a new place to fit it.
Zombie Ohio has a pretty fascinating plot doesn’t it? We’ve all seen a movie or read a book that has a part where someone is slowly turning but it’s always short and rarely from a first person point of view of an entire book. I was looking forward to this book and I desperately wanted to love it to the point where I was biased based on the summery.
The problem wasn’t the writing, as Scott is a superb writer. The biggest problem in the book in my opinion was the main character was dull and lacking in character. Granted, zombies aren’t bursting at the seams with personality, but a zombie in transition should have created much more interesting thoughts, situations, and emotions. The story was pushing the witty and funny angle but failed to execute too many chuckles; I often felt that it tried a bit too hard. In fact, I found the main character annoying, and I don’t think there was a point where I cared what happened to him. He was simply a weak character.
I kept waiting for the book to get more interesting as it went on but I felt like it peaked and leveled out in the first act, and didn’t get any better or worse. Just steady ‘as is’, but a bit directionless. At its core, Zombie Ohio is a character driven story, but with a protagonist we can’t associate with, it’s not as compelling as it should be..
As negative as I sound during this review there was something about this story that made me finish it. I think about the quality of the writing that I already pre-purchased the sequel, called Zombie Illinois, even though it hasn’t been written yet. That said, there are a lot of good zombie books out there. Given the opportunity, I would steer clear of this one.
Grade: C –