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Breathers: A Zombie's Lament

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Author: 
S.G. Browne
Genre: 
Satire
Publication Date: 
2009
Publisher: 
Crown
Bottom Line: 
4

 The zombies are among us, but, in S.G. Browne's "Breathers", they aren't the crawl-out-of-your-garden variety flesh-eating zombies (at least not yet) but rather a put-upon sentient minority who spend their nights at Undead Anonymous meetings or cowering in graveyards. The recently reanimated Andy wants nothing more than to crawl back into the ground and die alongside his beloved wife until he meets Rita, a gorgeous suicide with bone white skin and scars to die for.
 
Andy and Rita, along with their porn fiend friend, Jerry, and a host of other misfits from Undead Anonymous, meet the mysterious Ray; a zombie who has his shit together. He drives a car, has his own place (if you can consider squatting in a granary having your own place) and cooks one mean venison.
 
Andy and his friends become hopelessly addicted to what they dub "Ray's Resplendent Rapture", as the meat not only tastes good (a sense that has long alluded the dead), but actually makes them feel good, as well. As a matter of fact, it makes them feel great!
 
Rita's scars are fading, Jerry's exposed brain is healing over with fresh skin, and Andy - who at one time could only express himself with scrawlings on a dry-erase board- has now found his voice!
 
It's only a matter of time before the gang realizes what they probably knew all along; Ray's mystery meat isn't much of a mystery at all. It's Breather, and while continuing to partake in this forbidden fruit could very well see them all end up as lab experiments or practice heads for plastic surgeons, the rewards far outweigh the risks. From the rapid healing to the phenomenal sex, these dead folks are finally living, and they're not going to give that up without a fight.
 
Written in a wonderfully breezy first person narrative, Breathers is a laugh-out-loud funny, occasionally scary, and surprisingly touching debut. Browne's witty prose and expert pacing make for an easily digestible and compulsively readable novel that will please both hardcore horror purists and non-genre fans alike.

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