Undead L.A. 1 by Devan Sagliani

"On September 20, the zombie virus was released into the dense population of transients on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. It spread like unstoppable wildfire in all directions, decimating everything in its path for six full weeks before outside measures were taken to cleanse the scourge. These stories take place in those final times. They are told through the eyes of several different Angelinos, each offering a unique perspective to the events as they unfolded and to the aftermath of the virus. "

Undead L.A. 1 compiles the remaining weeks after the zombie plague overtakes Los Angeles as told from the perspective of six distinctly different characters. Each vignette, while very different, has subtle links to the last. If you're like me, you bore easily. Not a chance of that happening with this read! Undead L.A. 1 has something for everyone to captivate them.

Sagliani's vivid (and sometimes disturbed) imagination flows through the pages of his writing. His love for his home town clearly comes across in his work. While I have no doubt Angelinos will eat up the extensive shout outs to their city and cultural icons, for me it was the little references that made his work so intriguing. Sagliani not only gave a nod to one of my all-time favorite books, Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, but also my favorite band, Godsmack. Ya, buddy! Having never explored the streets of Cali personally, Sagliani helps readers to envision the landscape and local venues with ease.

Fair warning, Undead L.A. contains a plentiful amount of graphic violence. But if you're a true fan of the zombie genre, it's probably one of the caveats you most enjoy. In my profession, I've seen some pretty nasty things, but the acts committed in Undead L.A. were gruesome enough to make even me squeamish. Several times I found myself wincing in empathetic pain with his victims.

Two stories really gripped me and got the wheels of my brain oscillating. In No One is Watching, the once coined city of angels quickly becomes a city in ruin. When order is no more, and rules no longer apply, morality and ethics become a thing of the past. Detective Gary Wendell uses the opportunity created by the chaos to settle an old vendetta with the one who got away. Seeking out Randy, a pedophile guilty of the heinous rape and murder of several young girls, Gary delivers sweet revenge and doles out his own sadistic justiceWith an animal desire not unlike the zombies that infect the city, a years' worth of built up hate and animosity for Randy has turned him into the very animals he spent his life putting behind bars.

Kathleen, a woman left with no hope, faces her end at the bottom of an Oxycontin bottle in To Live and Die in LA. Polluted with terminal cancer, schoolteacher Kat visits Los Angeles as her dying wish and attends the Emmys on the arms of a hunky star.

I found myself giggling by the following excerpt, specifically because I, as a member of the chick-clique, always keep a set of tweezers in my car. No, not for the chin hair, thank you very much! You just never know when an eyebrow will go rogue. 

"She was surprised by how distracted the drivers around them were, texting and talking on the phone and spacing out. One car they passed had a old woman with a large beauty mirror plucking the hairs on her chin as she inched forward in traffic."

If Kat's story doesn't stretch your heart strings to their limit, I officially declare you a cold-hearted bastard. I love where Sagliani takes this story line. Its emotion and complexity bleeds through with every word.

Allow me to conclude with this: Not picking up a copy of Undead L.A. 1 would be a blunder. I challenge readers to dive into his work and not fall in love. Riddled with powerful story lines and intense characters, Undead L.A. 1 delivers its readers with a riveting roller coaster read. Keep those creative juices flowing Devan! This reader can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Visit Devan Sagliani's website for more information on where to obtain your copy of Undead L.A.  Click here to view an in depth synopsis on Goodreads. 

Don't miss out on The Bookie Monster's exclusive interview with author Devan Sagliani.

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