When you write about zombies, you tend to form relationships with other fellow zombie writers. We are a dying breed, you know (pun intended) and must rally together in support of one another. Actually, zombies are on the rise (ha,ha--another pun). Zombies are the new shiny vampire.
When John Abromowitz approached me about reading his novel ATTICUS FOR THE UNDEAD (released today. YES, today folks!) I said sure. I love reading about zombies and any new take on the subject matter intrigues me. I love to see how creative, how different, people can be when it comes to zombies.
But I worried. This was the month of November. NOVEMBER. Not only I was I jumping on board and doing the NaNoWriMo write a novel in 30 days thing, but I was also in the middle of working with my editor on revising WANTED:Dead or Undead for it's February 2012 release date. I was pretty dang busy and wasn't sure I could fit reading a novel into my day. So my yes was a soft yes. If I got it read, I got it read. If not, I would have to let him know I just didn't have the time.
I read his book in two days.
I couldn't help myself. The writing was extremely well done--especially all the lawyer talk (I actually emailed him and asked if he was a lawyer, because I couldn't imagine anyone writing the way he did without having a background in law. Sure enough, John is a lawyer. It shows in his writing. Very believable and well done).
So what is this book about exactly? Well, I took this from John's site:
It centers around an idealistic young attorney, Hunter Gamble, who works in a very special area of the practice -- arcane defense. Twelve years ago, the world discovered through an event called The Unveiling that vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other creatures previously thought purely mythical were, in fact, real. This changed the fabric of American life in a number of ways, not least of which -- they needed somebody to go to court for them! And so, with the help of shy-but-energetic research attorney Kirsten Harper, Hunter sets out to make the world a better place -- one arcane client at a time. (Don't call them supernaturals, it's rude!)
When a young zombie walks into Hunter's office accused of murder (by brain-eating, of course), Hunter must navigate a complex web of political, legal, and cultural obstacles to secure the man's freedom -- if he can.
If you like zombies (or witches or vampires) and if you like law, then this will be a great read for you. I mean, can you imagine what it would be like trying to defend a witch or a zombie or a vampire? How do you prove their innocence with the types of laws we have in place today?
Now, imagine trying to prosecute the undead for a crime. How difficult would that be when zombies and vampires leave no fingerprints? No DNA? And witched and vampires can levitate so breaking and entering of a 4th story window is possible.
Well, for an example of what the prosecutor is up against, John has put together this little snippet together from the prosecutors point of view (this is entirely for fun, but could you imagine?).
Enjoy a sampling of his writing. Then go out and buy his book so you can experience it for yourself.
Vampires and Drunk Driving
By ELLIS BOYER
Let's face it, the Unveiling has thrown many parts of the American justice system into disarray. For instance, given that roughly 95% of zombies possess only the most basic level of awareness, how could one ever be competent to stand trial when it kills a man or woman? Similarly, should werewolves be held criminally responsible for acts committed during the monthly Change, since most scientists agree that those acts aren't voluntary? And lawyers and judges throughout the country are scrambling to determine what effect the existence of so-called "undead" beings has had on inheritance law.
But there is one area in which our legal code inarguably needs reform: our drunk driving laws, which were written before the existence of vampires was widely known. There is general consensus in the scientific community that it is possible for a vampire to become inebriated -- while they cannot consume alcohol itself, they absorb it indirectly if it is present in the blood they drink. There is also consensus that intoxication affects them in familiar ways, including loss of fine motor control.
Therefore, a drunken vampire behind the wheel poses every bit as much threat to the safety of his fellow travelers as a drunken human. Yet it is much harder to determine whether or not a vampire is drunk. After all, how would one administer a breathalyzer to a creature that doesn't breathe?
While it is well-known that I oppose most aspects of the Post Unveiling Tort Reform Act (sometimes called "PUTRA") sponsored by Congressman Hoyt Boone, one thing he and I agree on is the need for warrantless blood tests of persons suspected of driving while intoxicated. This would greatly reduce drunk driving by the vampire population since, although their hearts don't beat, the blood a vampire consumes lingers in his or her body for some hours, and can be extracted through the same process by which humans give blood samples.
Many have cited constitutional concerns. I sympathize. All persons would have the right to refuse such tests, as they can refuse breathalyzers now. But murmurs from some elements on the left that this reform amounts to a "police state" or is somehow "totalitarian" are baseless. Rather, this common sense policy would allow us to both honor the rights of our arcane neighbors and prevent countless drunk driving deaths, which are a tragedy for humans and arcanes alike.
Mr. Boyer currently serves as the district attorney for Travis County, Texas.
Who would have thought that zombies, witches, vampires, and werewolves would need lawyers? If nothing else, it's sure fun to think about and John did a fantastic job of weaving that kind of world together for us in ATTITCUS FOR THE UNDEAD. Congratulations on your book launch, John! Best of luck.