cover image Zombie, Illinois

Zombie, Illinois

Scott Kenemore. Skyhorse (Norton, dist.), $17.95 trade paper (400pp) ISBN 978-1-61608-885-9

Political reporter Ben Bennington, troubled inner-city pastor Leopold Mack and defiant punk-rocker Maria Ramirez take on marauding zombies and crooked Chicago politicians in this wickedly satirical page-turner by Kenemore (Zombie, Ohio). Knowing where the bodies are buried is integral to the power struggle that ensues after a resurgent Al Capone devours the mayor on television, an effectively gory scene that hints at Chicago's buried past coming back to light. Ramirez's father is next in line to be mayor , but amid the zombie chaos, some conspire to usurp his power. In the ensuing melee, Kenemore steers our sympathies: "...zombies are more a force of nature than a sentient, evil entity.... The humans are the ones with murder in their souls." Nevertheless, both are lethal, and Kenemore creates an authentic sense of place and character in ravaged Chicago as well as wittily sustained tension throughout. Pastor Mack's statement that they "start by taking care of each other" invokes atypically hopeful sentiments for a zombie-genre offering: the self-reliance of the poor may set the stage for a renaissance of city spirit. This blend of idealism and wry political commentary infuses new meaning into the zombie ravages portrayed so graphically here. (Oct.)