A couple posts ago, I reviewed Dying by the Hour, the hot, new, dark-as-the-inside-of-a-coffin-on-a-moonless-night sequel to Dying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum. Like it’s predecessor, Dying by the Hour is a gritty urban fantasy putting a spin on zombie lore.
Imagine that zombies have a lucrative place in modern society. Not pushing shopping carts or lifting boxes as Shaun of the Dead might have you believe, but as Death Replacement Agents. What if because of their ‘special condition,’ zombies–or Necronites, as they are known in the proper vernacular–could die for you? Death comes a-knockin’, gets its corpse, and you keep on living–you’d pay for something like that, right? Especially if all the Death Replacement Agents were as funny/sexy/cool as Jesse Sullivan. Between Death Replacement gigs, brimming insanity, developing powers, and a love triangle with her assistant Ally and landlord Lane, it’s a wonder she has any time to crack wise.
Fortunately, she still finds plenty of time for that.
The books are incredibly vivid, both in character and in world-building. Shrum dives deep into her own mythos, and in doing so, raises some great questions about our world as much as Jesse’s. In fact, I found myself needing to dig deeper.
As a former student of both literary and cinematic symbolism, I needed to understand the psychology of the undead mindset. Really pick that zombie brain. I needed to tap into the very mind of Kory M. Shrum herself.
Fortunately, there is a very scientific process by which curious scribes like me can delve deeper into the inner workings of a genius. A timeless study of the psyche from which one can extrapolate the very metaphysical strands of humanity itself.
I’m talking about a little game called 20 Questions. And fortunately, Kory is cool as heck and totally went for it.
Now, allow me to pretend I’m James Lipton of the literary world, and let’s do this thing!
1. First of all, we start with the biggie: Star Wars or Star Trek?
2. Correct! Now…would you rather be a Necronite or a government-engineered psychic known as an AMP?
3. #TeamAlly or #TeamLane? Just kidding…unless you have an answer….
4. When it comes to ‘the craft,’ do you prefer outlining or writing from the hip?
5. Cookies or Bars?
6. Necronite or a regular human?
7. Would you prefer to travel by plane or by train?
8. Beer or cocktails?
9. Pizza or Tacos?
10. Jesse’s been struggling with a new ability since Dying for a Living. For your ability, would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?
11. Mikey, Donny, Leo, or Raph?
12. Pizza or Lasagna?
13. Am I the only one that thinks Ally’s professionalism is her sexiest feature?
14. This is important. Is it weird that I’m attracted to a fictional character?
15. Whew, okay, that’s…Oh, right! The questions. Uhh…Pizza or Nachos?
16. Jesse gets one Tweet before the FBRD shuts down her account, what does it say in 140 characters or less?
17. What does Ally’s say?
19. We’ve seen Jesse’s perspective, and now Ally’s, and I can only imagine who’s next…but if you had to write a book from any character’s perspective OTHER THAN THE BIG 3, who would you choose?
20. Would you rather see the Jesse Sullivan saga as a movie or a TV series?
Well, we’ve learned a lot of things. Kory really likes pizza. And pugs. And that maybe I should eat something before the interview. Or possibly host a dinner party?
In any case, we’ve seen who’s behind the mind of the Dying novels. Thine own thirst be slaked! In all seriousness though, I strongly recommend you check out this sweet, sweet book series as it unravels. The setting is great, the characters rock, and the mystery will keep you awake at night. In a good way. Like herbal tea.
And, hey, this is still pretty much ‘ground floor’ territory here. When everyone starts copying Kory’s genius take on the undead, you’ll be a total zombie hipster!