In I Left My Brains in San Francisco, Karina Fabian’s new novel, zombie exterminator Neeta Lyffe is travelling to San Francisco’s Moscone Center for ZomZeitgeber, the international zombie exterminator’s trade show. Yes, it’s a sequel to Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, which somehow I unaccountably failed to review when I read it last year. This is frustrating, because I was all set to point at my old review and say “As before, so now.” Alas!
OK, here’s the shtick. In Neeta Lyffe’s world, zombies are a fact of life. Anyone who dies and is buried without a whole spine is at risk of coming back as a zombie; and anyone bitten by a zombie is likely to die and come back PDQ. In general folks have learned to live with this, calling in a professional zombie exterminator when they get out of hand. And zombie exterminators, needless to say, rely on a variety of weaponry up to and including hazmat suits and spray bottles of cleaning supplies…because zombies really hate cleaning supplies.
Did I say that Fabian’s playing this for laughs? She is. Horror, too, but mostly laughs.
In Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, Neeta is tapped to be the host of a new reality show, Zombie Death Extreme, in which she trains a bunch of novices to be real zombie exterminators. Thing is, some of the zombies are real, and death is a real possibility. The producer’s a jerk (if I recall correctly), and Neeta hates the whole thing—she’s only doing because one of her customers (another jerk) sued her for property damage after she saved him from being zombified, and she needs the money. But she and her crew sure come in handy when there’s a massive zombie outbreak in Burbank, California. (Right across the freeway from Ikea and the Media City Center mall…Fabian described the geography so well that I could take you to the exact spot.)
In the new book, Neeta’s off to the trade show with her boyfriend; and of course, the course of true love does not Run Smooth. Plus, there’s another zombie exterminator hitting on her, and the zombie outbreak from the offshore eco-freak reef burial site. (Turns out that environmentalist zombies moan “Green!” as they attack you.)
I found this one to be more uneven than its predecessor; the romance subplot was occasionally tedious, and since the plot involves a new Government Motors vehicle that runs on fuel produced from human waste, the potty humor gets a little, um, ripe. But I enjoyed it; it’s a good, light read, and made me laugh. If Fabian produces another Neeta Lyffe book, I plan to buy it.