Thursday, October 16, 2014

Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski Review

Hey readers! Happy Thursday! I've got a fun and spooktacular review for you guys! A Zombie read that I had heard great things about and was excited to get my chance to review it. This time on the chopping block? Braineater Jones  by Stephen Kozeniewski! Here's a little bit about the book and our author before we get to my thoughts!

Braineater Jones Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.
But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.
As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.
Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.

Stephen Kozeniewski
Stephen Kozeniewski

Stephen Kozeniewski lives with his wife of 9 years and cat of 22 pounds in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. He was born to the soothing strains of “Boogie With Stu” even though The Who are far superior to Zep, for reasons that he doesn’t even really want to get into right now.

During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. The depiction of addiction in his fiction is strongly informed by the three years he spent working at a substance abuse clinic, an experience which also ensures that he employs strict moderation when enjoying the occasional highball of Old Crow.

He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s degree is in German.
Find Stephen Kozeniewski

Check out this awesome audiobook trailer for Braineater Jones 

My Thoughts:

A few months ago, I jumped on the zombie bandwagon for the very first time. Before that point, I despised anything that had to do with zombies. I don’t know why, but I had this complete aversion to the entire genre. Thanks to the works of a few amazing authors, my eyes have been opened up to an entirely new realm of paranormal possibilities! It was through those authors that I was connected with Mr. Stephen Kozeniewski. Stephen sent me a copy of his newest zombie read and asked for my thoughts on it. Unfortunately my schedule has been CRAZY so I was just now able to sit down and finish this read! Here we go with my thoughts!

I generally never rate a book based on its’ cover, but I wanted to say some words about this one. At first, I hated it. I thought it looked cheap and tacky. I guess that was just me, because I didn’t understand how it could possibly fit into the story. Now that I have completed the novel, it makes perfect sense. I love it. It is so different than any other cover I have ever seen. The magazine-ish layout really paralleled well with the 1934 time setting that the novel has. I think it was a bold move by the author to pick such a cover, but in the end, I think it will play out well for those who read the novel!

The Setting. Our story takes place in 1934 “Prohibition Era” in the city of Ganesh. Intriguing right? This was the very first zombie novel I have read that doesn’t take place in the modern day or future. How interesting to think about our American history with Zombies involved? I loved that take on it! The entire novel has a very dark 1930s mobster feel about it. There isn’t much talk of the Depression, but you definitely get the feel that this is not the greatest of time periods to be alive during. Along with the time period comes a rather larger vernacular that our author has made sure to include in his novel. Some of it was pretty common knowledge, but a few of the phrases even had me confused. Thankfully, our author was cool enough to include a glossary in the back of the book, which I found to be a fun touch! The only negative thing I have to say about the setting was that there were several times in the book that I had to stop and think about some of the quotes, phrases, things mentioned to determine whether or not they would have been around in 1934. Some of them were a stretch, but that is just me knit-picking. None of those references took away from my overall enjoyment of the story. I am just a history guru and like to look up things like that as I read! 

The Characters. Unlike any other zombie novel I have ever read, the zombies in Braineater Jones aren’t really a problem. They are more like…. Well… dead people still walking the earth. Essentially in this novel, “zombie” isn’t an infection, it isn’t spreading rapidly through the population threatening our way of life. It’s completely random who comes back from the dead and there really wasn’t a way to prevent it. This led to some really interesting scenes in our story, especially between our MC and a gravedigger. It was really unique to read a story about zombies, that really wasn’t “about” zombies. Does that make sense? The zombies in this book had their own issues to deal with and were not going around munching on the brains of the living. Pretty awesome. Not since Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies have I had feelings towards the undead. It’s a pretty interesting feeling to have! Anyway, back to our MC. “Braineater Jones” as he is called, is our narrator and primary protagonist. Essentially our novel follows the first 30 days of his life in journal format. Braineater Jones wakes up as a zombie on day one and has no recollection of who he is or what is going on. Over the course of the next month, we follow the life of Braineater Jones as he ultimately tries to discover his identity, with many, many stops along the way! Braineater Jones was really an interesting character to watch develop. From page one all the way to the end, he intrigued me. There are some big shockers about his life that you will learn about that had me going “whhhaattt?” at times, but I think that made the story really interesting! I will go ahead and say that there are many, many characters in this novel, but most of them are only in passing. None that I feel the need to elaborate on any more than our MC. He does gain a few friends throughout his story that really add depth and emotion to his plight to rediscover his identity, but I can’t say much about them without spoiling the story! 

The Plot. I don’t really have all that much more to say aside from what I’ve already said, but I will add at least one more key point. The plot of this novel was laid out in a way that was almost more unique than any I have ever read before. It read like a video game! I don’t know if that is really possible, but I really think this storyline would work well as a game. So essentially, Braineater Jones is on the path to discover his identity. Well, in order to do that he has to help out others to learn more about himself. These “missions” he performs, create our plotline. Each chapter more or less ends a particular mission and the next chapter starts out with a new issue to solve. It was really interesting. I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed this about this novel, but I really enjoyed it. It really made finding a “stopping point” a lot easier for me. By the time the novel ends, you realize that the plot line was actually pretty fulfilling. Maybe not every little mission had a huge purpose, but you do realize that each one taught our MC something that was vital to his overall goal of obtaining his memories. The big “finale” was actually a bit of a shocker for me, it was not one that I saw coming. I really enjoyed that about the plot line! 

I am not sure if there are plans for more Braineater Jones stories, but the ending definitely left the door open for more! I think this has great series potential and I would love to see where Kozeniewski could possibly go with it! This story was well written and a great read for any Zombie lovers out there. Especially during the spook-tacular month of October, just in time for Halloween! All-in-all, I am granting Braineater Jones a 4-star review! A great novel that was a little slow at times, but one that I definitely think any fans of the genre will enjoy! The perfect blend of history, paranormal, and a little fantasy (steampunk?): Braineater Jones was one of my most unique and original reads this year!

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Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski! What do ya think? Sound up your alley? Go check out the buy links and get a copy of yourself. Already read it? Let me know what you thought about this read in the comments below? Also, got any big Halloween fans reading this? I've got an awesome event for you to check out! Here's some details:

Before you leave, I have really exciting news, I am hosting a HUGE Halloween Facebook event this month, the Halloween Author Invasion! Come join a host of nearly 20 Halloween-ish authors in a celebration of all Spooktacular reads! Come check out the event by clicking either graphic below
Until next time, Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to review my book, Ethan!