Married with Zombies (Living with the Dead)
Most people know what to do in case of a zombie apocalypse: Shoot for the head, don’t get bitten, find safety in numbers.
By definition, though, most zombie stories focus on their collective effect on the world at large. Married with Zombies takes a fresh look at such an infestation, via the personal relationships between the uninfected.
David and Sarah’s last-ditch effort to preserve their marriage is couples counseling. Unfortunately, one day they walk into their counselor’s office, and find her eating the previous clients.
Now, regardless of whether David and Sarah get along, they’re each other’s only hope for survival. The zombie outbreak is blossoming exponentially, and our protagonists must work together to get out of the city, and survive long enough to find help.
This novel is a surprisingly fast read. It hits all the major staples of zombie flicks: survivors who won’t leave their homes, driving down freeways congested with stalled cars, child zombies who suddenly turn violent, and the possibility of having to kill an infected friend or loved one.
The main characters even reference classic zombie movies as a way of learning how to handle the undead.
The interesting twist comes from the focus on the main characters’ relationship, and the fact that it was collapsing when the zombies attacked. Normal marital squabbles take place amid the shambling undead, and the fight for survival and escape. We get right into David and Sarah’s minds: They want to survive, but must overcome their own inadequacies with each other, in order to do so.
Married with Zombies is fast-paced and exciting. The genre familiarity carries readers through what clearly is the first novel in a series, and the Petersen builds her world with energy and a keen eye for detail.
Also by this author: Flip This Zombie, Eat Slay Love
This review originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on October 21, 2010.