Little Things That Keep Us Together

White Trash Zombie Unchained — Diana Rowland
White Trash Zombie, book 6

White-Trash-Zombie-Unchained

2017’s White Trash Zombie Unchained is the sixth volume in Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series.

After taking a few months off to collect herself after the events of White Trash Zombie Gone Wild, Angel Crawford is very nearly her old brain-eating self. Dividing her time between work at the Saint Edwards Parish Coroner’s Office and college bio classes, she studiously avoids alone time with her ex, Nick, for whom she still carries a torch.

In this instalment, Angel is given an excellent distraction from hunky Nick. Too bad that the distraction is an apocalypse.


Regular zombies like Angel only act in antisocial ways when they are on the brink of starvation. Otherwise, there is very little about a zombie1 to indicate that it’s an apex predator whose diet is human brains. Angel and the rest of the zombie tribe in Saint Edwards Parish are very careful to avoid behaviour that might warn the far more numerous and heavily armed regular humans that zombies live among them. Those brains Angel snacks on, for example, are harvested from people who have already died.

Shamblers, on the other hand, have no self control. Someone infected with that variant of the parasite will attack humans on sight. Worse, unlike regular zombies, shambler bites are highly infectious and the infection progresses rapidly. An outbreak of shamblers is very bad news for zombiekind, because shamblers, if left unchecked, will draw all kinds of unwanted attention. As soon as she encounters a shambler in the parish, Angel knows the Tribe has a problem.

It’s a problem with a capital P, because this is a new and even more annoying kind of shambler. The condition is even more infectious than the usual shambler infection. If the sudden influx of zombie gators is any indication, the parasites have managed to jump species. There is even evidence that the infection can be spread by mosquitoes. This isn’t just “doom a small town” bad. It’s end of the world bad.

When Dr. Kristi Charish, talented researcher and murderous sociopath, offers her help to the Tribe, they have little choice but to accept. Charish will certainly try to turn the outbreak to her benefit, but as someone who would serve as a tasty snack to an exploding population of shamblers, Charish is highly motivated to find a cure.

 ~oOo~

Rowland keeps fussing with her setting. With each book, we learn more about the zombie world; with each book, the zombie parasite gains additional abilities. It’s usually interesting when an author fleshes out her world, but the process can go too far. Series (particularly superhero series) can collapse under the weight of accumulated continuity. While I would not normally class zombies as superheroes, Angel and her friends now have so many special abilities that they have more in common with the X-Men than they do with Romero’s creations.

Good old Charish, Saint Edwards’ answer to Doctor Mengele. There’s always a guarantee of good times when she shows up and by good times, I mean unacceptable levels of avoidable pain and carnage.

https://youtu.be/li7ZmYcG8U0

Zombie apocalypses are all well and good, but I enjoy this series for Angel’s ongoing struggle to overcome challenges (such as being a dropout with impulse control issues who died of an OD before the first book). Not only has Angel held onto her job, got her GED, and made her way into college, her determination to better herself seems to be infectious. Her dad has cleaned up his life and even her loser ex-boyfriend Randy has decided it’s time for him to embrace a vocation as a mechanic. Of all the brain-eating zombie series I have read, this is the most life-affirming.

But if you want death and horror and the very real possibility of the end of the world, Doctor Charish can help you with that.

White Trash Zombie Unchained is available here (Amazon) and here (Chapters-Indigo).

Feel free to comment here.

1: Strictly speaking, Angel is a ghoul, not a zombie, but I have a suspicion that trying to defend the purity of the English language may be an ill advised move on my part.


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