Two Weeks’ Notice by Rachel Caine
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“After dying and being revived with the experimental drug Returne, Bryn Davis is theoretically free to live her unlife—with regular doses to keep her going. But Bryn knows that the government has every intention of keeping a tight lid on Pharmadene’s life-altering discovery, no matter the cost.
Thankfully, some things have changed for the better; her job at the rechristened Davis Funeral Home is keeping her busy and her fragile romance with Patrick McCallister is blossoming—thanks in part to their combined efforts in forming a support group for Returne addicts. But when some of the group members suddenly disappear, Bryn wonders if the government is methodically removing a threat to their security, or if some unknown enemy has decided to run the zombies into the ground…”
Initially, I wasn’t going to continue with this series after reading Working Stiff. While I definitely thought Caine had some interesting ideas, I didn’t think their execution was handled well. And although I enjoyed this novel more than the first one, I still think that there things that keep me from really liking this story.
For one, even though I think the fate of Bryn and her kind—slow dissolution and rotting once they no longer have access to the Returne drug—is pretty horrific, it is at least a different take on the undead. Bryn is fully herself and conscious of her actions, and that’s a nice change of pace from the shambling zombies of most books. On the other hand, the drug—or lack thereof—becomes an all-too-convenient plot device to threaten Bryn. It’s not just that not getting her shot will cause her to have withdrawal symptoms; it’s that she’ll physically rot away, as will all of the Revived.
Also, by the end of this book the whole unique zombie scenario is turned on its ear and made into nothing more than a cliché once again. I was willing to grant the author points for originality until that happened. Without giving too much away, the thing that leads to more common zombie-ish stuff comes about as a natural outgrowth of what a rogue government agency might do with a revival drug; however, there are probably other directions it could have gone instead of taking the obvious path.
On the plus side, there’s a new villain in town: Jane, a homicidal, psychopathic manic who will literally stop at nothing to get what she wants. She enjoys causing pain and gets glee from torture and death. She’s a bad guy you’ll love to hate. She walks the line of being something of a caricature, but most of the time, her actions and behavior make her truly creepy.
The plot takes some interesting twists and turns as readers find out who’s doing what and how far the government is involved in what’s going on with Returne. Personally, I felt that the convolutions could have been done with a bit more clarity, because by the end, I had to really think back to remember who supposedly did what to whom.
I found this book to be a quick and mostly enjoyable read, so I can’t complain too much. Two Weeks’ Notice is an interesting addition to the ranks of novels featuring the undead, but it relies a bit too much on plot devices that can get old by the story’s end.