Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Review: The Year of Eating Dangerously by K. Bennett

The Year of Eating Dangerously by K. Bennett

The Year of Eating Dangerously is the follow-up book to Pay Me in Flesh, a novel about Los Angeles defense attorney-turned-zombie Mallory Caine. The first book was entertaining, striking a good balance between comedy, mystery, noir, and horror. This book retains all the same elements and does a good job though it is a little darker.

Mallory Caine is now defending her father, a zombie-slaying zealot who charged with killing an ex-cop by chopping his head off with a sword. Mallory knows the act was self-defense because the ex-cop was a zombie ready to kill, but can she persuade the judge and jury to go along? Meanwhile, a ten-year old boy, Jaime, comes to her saying his mom is trying to kill him. Mallory's undead heart goes out to the boy, though his situation is a lot more complicated than it seems. He's part of an ongoing conspiracy to bring about the rule of Satan over the earth, starting in Los Angeles. She has to go through some legal shenanigans to get custody of him and some fantasy violence to keep him safe. All the while she is trying to find out who had her killed and brought back as a zombie.

The legal scenes are entertaining but wildly improbable (for example, the ghost of actor Darren McGavin provides expert witness testimony thanks to information he learned when he starred as Kolchak: The Night Stalker in the 1970s). In the middle of the book, she goes on a vigilante eating spree where she starts killing and consuming some higher-level criminals because they are just too evil and getting away with it. That part was a little too dark and too humorless to fit comfortably with the rest of the book. The big confrontation at the end doesn't really resolve anything, other than intrenching Mallory in her quest to save her soul and her city from the forces of evil.

The book is a fun, light read for the most part. I'd recommend it.

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