Title: Body Farm Z
Author: Deborah Sheldon
From the back: To solve murders, you must understand the process of decomposition. Australia’s newest body farm, the Victorian Taphonomic Experimental Research Institute, is hidden in bushland some four hours’ drive from Melbourne. Scattered across its 150 acres are human donor cadavers and pig carcasses arranged to mimic some of the ways in which police might find murder victims: exposed to the elements, buried in a shallow grave, wrapped in tarpaulin. Forensic scientists and graduate students meticulously track each stage of putrefaction. Today, Detective Rick Evans of the Homicide Squad is at VITERI for the re-creation of one of his cold cases. A human donor will be locked inside a car. But the donor has other ideas… So begins a facility-wide outbreak of the reanimated dead.
The gist: Setting zombie-geddon on a body farm is totally my new favourite apocalypse vibe. Sheldon writes with startling pace and humour – you’re whipped across a scientific establishment where if you don’t move quickly then the last thing you left there is probably going to eat you. It’s a hugely fun read, and delivers on all types of zombies – people, pigs, mad scientists, and my personal favourite; KANGAROOS. Kangaroo zombies should totally be in the next series of The Walking Dead, right?
Not only that but the human characters are interesting and diverse, and pull you through the action as though you’re there and wing-manning them with a blood-spattered spade in your hand. Each character has enough back story for you to care about them, but not so much as to slow the action down.
If you’re looking for a zombie thriller in an original setting, where you won’t realise you’ve been holding your breath until the last page turns*, then this is the book for you.
*Safety notice: Please remember to breathe while reading. Or read very quickly.
Favourite line: “this kangaroo was a huge bastard, and looked like it had been hit by a bus”
Read if: You like your zombie horror fast and filled with a menagerie of cute zombie animals in various states of undress.
Read with: Nothing to do the next day so you can finish it in one sitting and not be late for work when it keeps you up all night.
Get it: Body Farm Z by Deborah Sheldon