Dead Love: Zombie Novel More Than a Thriller

No question about it, I LOVE a good rave. This one, which I found posted on Amazon, is truly diggable. The writer—Joanna Biggar, author of the rich, nostalgic and utterly scrumptious novel, That Paris Year—certainly knows how to turn a phrase. It’s awesome that she applied those killer skills to her review of DEAD LOVE. Definitely worth sharing. The whole unholy cast is in an uproar about it!

Dead Love Is More than a Thriller

Like a novitiate in a strange order, I wandered into the pages of Linda Watanabe McFerrin’s novel knowing little of zombies, ghouls, ninjas or their fellow spirits. I expected to enter something like a costume store window set for Hallowe’en. But because of McFerrin’s great gifts as a storyteller and poet, I found myself instead in a richly exotic, decaying world of odd beauty, like a garden planted with Baudelaire’s flowers of evil.

On one level, Dead Love reads like a thriller. It is fast-paced, moving quickly from continent to continent. From the neon-lit back alleys of Tokyo to the realms of black magic Vodoun in Haiti, to unsavory canals in Amsterdam and lush jungles of Malaysia, the action careens from place to place in a long, convoluted chase. The characters include the Japanese mobster Ryu, the ghoul Clément (a shapeshifter who inhabits and discards dead bodies like garments), and the near-Zombie girl Erin, who is pursued by the other two.

But the action, with its plentiful doses of gore, dismemberment, sex and drugs, is not all. The beauty of this book lies in the many layers beneath its surface, in its multiple underworlds. There, I found startling revelations as the story mirrors universal concerns about the meaning of existence: the thin line between victim and prey, possession and the possessed, death and resurrection. At the deepest level, the words Dead Love are almost like lament for the dead and a prayer for transformation, a chant to be sung while mourning — for a lost child, a damaged landscape, vanished beauty, or even books themselves.

—Joanna Biggar

—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/the Daily Slice