It's November 1, 1934 and the protagonist wakes up face-down in a pool and dead. With no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he was killed; he stumbles around looking for a place to sleep.
I received a promotional copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Having found a a place to sleep, he is rudely awakened by some transients who call him "braineater" and makes his way to "the Mat," a part of the city where his kind are welcomed, to find a place to crash so that he can figure out his identity and who killed him. In the Mat, he stumbles across people that know people and gets a crash course in being a zombie. Instead of being insulted by the "braineater" slur, he adopts it as part of his name and calls himself "Braineater Jones."
After seeing to some basic needs, he helps out another zombie with her problem. Since he's running low on cash, he decides to become a private investigator for zombies and starts taking on clients. One of his clients gives him a missing "persons" case, and Braineater Jones discovers that the missing zombie is being held by a bokor, evil voodoo priest. After saving some of his fellow zombies from the bokor, he ends up taking one of the captive zombies, a head in a jar, on as a sidekick and the two take clients while investigating his life before his un-life.
Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski is a noir, "private dick" novel with lots of 30's slang sprinkled liberally with cynicism and dry humor. It is action-packed and filled with dames, mystery, sarcasm, sex, and violence. It's like reading a graphic 1930's-style private eye novel without the illustrations; which means that Kozeniewski does an excellent job of setting the tone and describing the novel's sleazy setting.
If I had to find some fault with the book, it would be with the foreword. It's really not the foreword or what Kozeniewski said in the foreword; it's the fact that he felt it necessary to add a foreword warning people about the slurs in the book. Braineater Jones is a private dick novel set in the 1930's and the terms used in the book are consistent with that era. If you do not think that you can handle the content in its correct context, then don't read it; however, if you don't mind some sex and violence, aren't opposed to zombies that use their brains instead of eating them, 1930's slang and slurs; and enjoy mystery and wit; Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski is definitely worth grabbing.
If you'd like to know more about the mind behind Braineater Jones, check out Stephen Kozeniewski's blog; which includes his bio, information about his published works, manuscripts that did not make the cut, an alternate cover to Braineater Jones, and appearances in 2015.
For the record, I like the version of the book cover that appears in this blog better than the alternate version. Braineater Jones reads like a graphic novel, and I think that the version of the book cover that you see on this blog reflects this. What do you think?