Payson Daley works as a pharmacist in a small neighborhood drug store. Late one night while closing, she is held up by a man who only seems to want some sleeping pills. No sooner does he find the pills than another man comes into the store waving a gun around. A struggle ensues between the two men with the second being shot with his own gun. After the first man saved Payson's life, he ran off into the night, only to be nabbed by two other men in a van. It was definitely a weird night for Payson, but her life was about to get even more strange.
Payson is one of the few humans who are aware of the existence of zombies, and her own roommate, Eileen, is one. When Eileen is tasked by the local zombie organization with babysitting Sean, a newborn zombie who is having trouble adjusting to his new life, Payson couldn't be more shocked to discover the guy is the same one who robbed her for the sleeping pills and then saved her life. Turns out he's a little claustrophobic after waking up in his crypt, which is a big problem, since zombies need to regenerate several hours each day in a small, dark place. Payson sets about trying to find a solution for his problem, but if that and being a suspect in the robbery isn't bad enough, she and Eileen find the body of her murdered co-worker in the basement of their apartment building and a zombie drug cartel seems to be out to get her for threatening their business with her herbal remedies. Just when she thought her life couldn't get more complicated, Payson finds herself falling for Sean, but even if she gets out of all her predicaments alive, can a human and a zombie really find love together?
Zombies for Breakfast was a light, entertaining read that was part paranormal romance and part romantic suspense with a liberal splash of comedy thrown in for fun. It even has some slight chick lit leanings as well, so it should appeal to a fairly broad audience. It took me a little while to get into it. I think this is mainly because it is written in first-person perspective in the present tense. I believe this marks the first time I've ever read a book written in this style, so it took some getting used to. I still don't think it will become a favorite style of mine, but once I got to the know the characters a little more and got into the meat of the story, I enjoyed it. It was also the first time I had read a paranormal romance centering around zombies, so I thought the premise was very unique and interesting. Much like the glut of vampires, werewolves, demons and other creatures of the night who inhabit paranormal romance, the zombies here are not the inherently evil, flesh-eating creatures of legend. Although their eating habits are a bit strange at times, their craving for human flesh is more of the sexual variety. They also don't appear grotesque, with rotting flesh falling from their bones, until they've reached a certain age or unless they don't get their "beauty sleep." Then they can start to literally fall apart. There are also some older and less well cared for zombies who develop troublesome medical conditions which can make them rather hideous, but it's mostly played for laughs rather than being gross or disturbing. The zombies were created through the use of a special embalming fluid used only by one funeral home. Once resurrected, they are still similar to humans with a few caveats. Although they have a long life-span, it isn't infinite like with most paranormal creatures. Overall, Zombies for Breakfast was an intriguing and different kind of paranormal romance.
Payson is a pharmacist who got into her field of work to help people. Her job isn't all she thought it would be though, and she's tired of essentially being nothing but a pill pusher. She has a strong interest in natural remedies and tries to recommend them to her customers whenever she can. Payson has a zombie roommate and is one of the few humans who know of their existence. Despite this, she leads a rather bland, boring life, just trying to pay the bills, but everything changes for her when the pharmacy gets robbed twice in one night while she's closing, her roommate gets tasked with babysitting a hot newborn zombie who is having trouble adjusting to life after death, and one of Payson's co-workers turns up dead in a basement storage room of her apartment building. Suddenly, Payson finds herself as the focus of a murder investigation that's sure to make her look guilty and the target of a zombie drug cartel run by the oldest known zombie. She instantly goes from dulls-ville to more excitement than she ever wanted, but Sean helps to make all the trouble and life-threatening situations worthwhile.
Sean is a good man... err... zombie, who was a member of the military before dying way too young. Now that he's been reanimated, he has a serious case of claustrophobia, which is a big problem since zombies need to regenerate in a small, dark place for at least eight hours a day. I liked Sean's kind nature and that he didn't hesitate to step up and protect Payson from the dangers lurking in the shadows. In his human life, Sean was a very caring man and that nature carried over to his zombie life too. My only small complaint about Sean is that I don't feel like I got to know him very well. There isn't a whole lot of depth to his character until toward the end when he begins to tell Payson a little more about his human life and remember how he died. However, I recognize that this is sometimes a weakness inherent in stories written in first-person narrative, and otherwise Sean was a very likable hero.
The murder mystery was an intriguing element which kept me guessing as to exactly what was going on, and I was surprised by how it turned out. Payson's roommate, Eileen, is a hoot, as are some of the human pharmacy patrons and a few of the nicer zombies. I enjoyed the Arizona setting, although I have to admit that it felt a little more like small-town Arizona than Phoenix, so I had to imagine it being more on the outskirts of the city. With a familiar setting, likable characters, an unusual premise, a little suspense and lots of light-hearted fun, Zombies for Breakfast was an entertaining read that definitely left a memorable impression.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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