Rachel Caine’s Working Stiff, the first book in her new series The Revivalist,  was probably one of the more romantic books I have read in awhile.  Considering this is a corporate espionage thriller first, and a zombie book second, with just a dash of romance that is saying a lot about how it was done.  As a character in the book says, “These are some fucked up times is that’s romantic.”  Yes, yes indeed.


When I picked this up I had just read the synopsis, saw that it was by Rachel Caine, and just assumed that it would be good.  I was expecting something a lot lighter than the book I ended up with.  The good news is that it was so exciting that I read through it in one day.  The bad news is that I won’t be able to make my usual zombie jokes.  (Which I still think is a valid lifestyle choice.)


In this book a major drug corporation accidently stumbles upon a formula to revive someone from the dead.  The mad scientist who created it goes rogue and starts selling it to people on the black market.  Once you are revived you need the injection every day in order to avoid decomposition.


The head of the corporation has a few screws loose and decides to take over the world by turning everyone into her own personal zombie.


Obviously the best way to do this is to have a huge convention in a hotel, kill everyone and then inject them all with the serum.  We are talking hundreds of people in one mass zombification.  Do I even need to point out the flaws with this plan?


Let’s get back to the story.  The main character Bryn is a little unlike most of the heroines we see in UF novels.  She is a former military member, who knows how to handle herself.  She is certainly no wilting flower.  When murdered and turned into the walking dead dependant on a daily shot, she quickly adapts with minimal sniffles.  I was pretty impressed.  There were enough tears involved to keep it realistic but there was also pragmatics that one would need to find in order to survive.


This was more of a high action spy novel than an urban fiction.  The fact that there were zombies in the story was pretty superficial.  With the exception of needing the daily shot to keep alive they were pretty much like a regular human.  There were no cravings for brains or other assorted super powers.


The romance was woven into this story subtly.  I think we may see it evolve more as the series continues but at this point it was not in the forefront.  The two main characters were really endearing together and have a lot of back story to tell.  It was a pretty sweet pairing as the two got closer to each other throughout this ordeal.


This book was really well done.  It was a huge deviation from what I usually read but I really enjoyed it.  I am certainly looking forward to more from Bryn and company.