Dayna Ingram’s 2011 Eat Your Heart Out is a standalone zombie apocalypse novella.
Devin has it all: a postage-stamp sized apartment over what’s almost certainly a meth lab, an increasingly aloof girlfriend, and a new position as shift-leader at Ashbee’s Furniture Outlet (where the odd smells and stains are thrown in for free!). All this in a town that is a backwater even for a flyover state. The only possible way Devin’s slice of heaven could go wrong is if zombies attack.
The timing could not be worse. Devin is talking to a customer whom she recognizes as actress Renni Ramirez, a famed zombie film star on whom Devin has a monster crush. All is going well until a zombie shows up and chows down on Devin’s boss Biff. The two women find themselves fighting for their lives against the flesh-eating undead. As meet-cutes go, it’s not exactly conventional.
Devin is bitten while scuffling with a zombie. As a fan of zombie films, she knows what that means. Inevitable zombification. Drat! Just when it seemed that she might have a chance with Renni. However … she isn’t monsterified yet. There may yet be time for Devin and Renni.
And to save Devin’s girlfriend Carmelle Soufflé, whose sex shop is reported to have been surrounded by zombies. Good news! Not only is Carmelle perfectly safe, so is Bambi, the co-worker with whom Carmelle is found in flagrante delicto when Devin and Renni force their way into the closed sex shop1.
The US government is sealing off the town; Devin is too visibly bitten to escape quarantine. Her survival odds seem poor. But staying alive isn’t her greatest challenge (at least in her estimation). The greatest: choosing between her cheating girlfriend and the incredibly hot movie star who has saved Devin’s life several times already.
You may not think that choosing between an unfaithful girlfriend soon-to-be-ex and a crushee who has dared death for Devin could be much of a dilemma. However, Carmelle is Devin’s first serious relationship. Devin has taken a lot of abuse and it seems that she’s willing to take more. How long will it take for Devin reach her limit? I found that just as interesting as “how and how soon will Devin die?”
The setting is American. Guns seem to be easier to come by than cigarettes. The local high school, thanks to school shootings and lockdown drills, is prepared for a zombie siege.
“Well, my high school took measures in case of attack. They planned out these elaborate escape tunnels that go straight to the police station, the hospital, and — guess where else?”
The tunnels are intended to provide egress for those escaping shooters, but they can be re-purposed.
This novel was somewhat uneven. I was bored by the extended exposition delivered by a zombie-hunter who shows up in the second half of the book. However, this was not the usual as-you-know-Bob, because the zombie hunter is wrong, as Devin and her new pal eventually figure out.
Eat Your Heart Out is an amusing Woman Finds Herself Thanks to Zompocalypse romp. I see the author has published a novel. I will track it down to give it try.
1: Closed during business hours. This is James’ extremely judgemental face.