Valley Of The Dead by Crystal M Romero is a sometimes hilarious, sometimes scary, sometimes romantic but always utterly charming zombie apocalypse novel. And what makes it even better is that it has a lesbian leading lady.
The novel starts on Gay Pride weekend to the backdrop of much celebration, since the USA was finally celebrating equality. In Silicon Valley Yvonne had just dumped her long time, cheating girlfriend and was feeling free at last. That is, until she gets a frantic phone call from her very gay best friend, Reggie. He and a bunch of drag queens are stuck in his apartment and need rescuing from the zombie apocalypse that has taken hold of the city.
She jumps in her monster of a vehicle, puts on her no nonsense butch approach to the apocalypse and ends up picking up a group of survivors along her route out of town. Eventually the survivors include Reggie and the drag queens, a young couple and two police officers.
One of the officers is Captain Jacqueline Rhodes, a competent, gorgeous woman who leaves Yvonne thinking about more than just survival.
Together, the survivors must overcome a number of challenges, the least of which is getting out of town and find somewhere safe to settle down.
Romero has created a brilliant cast for this novel. The main cast and side characters are memorable and well written. Even with a large cast like this, Romero manages to write the characters so differently that I could keep track with ease.
I also love the fact that there are both heterosexual and homosexual characters, not just lesbians and that Romero busts the stereotypes for many of the characters – for example she had the drag queens doing some construction work – you go girl, just because he looks fabulous in heals doesn’t mean he shouldn’t know how to swing a hammer.
The Writing Style
I wish that I had discovered Crystal M Romero’s work before. She is a great writer. Her work is clean, snappy and unpredictable. The book is a page-turner and the mix of humour and serious moments is perfectly balanced.
This is a great book, especially if you want an action, horror novel that is a bit lighter.
I also love that the main character is an older black lesbian. She is feisty and I would read more about her in a heartbeat.
For those who are looking for a lot of traditional romance, this is not the book for you. Having said that, I thought that the romantic element in this book was perfect for what the book was. There is enough angst to keep you interested and wanting Yvonne and Jacque to get together.
I am also not a fan of the cover. It really doesn’t do the book justice.
Go get it. This is the book to read when you want something unpredictable with a perfect combination of horror, humour, romance and adventure. Nicely done Romero, I have officially become a fan.
Excerpt from Valley Of The Dead by Crystal M Romero
Yvonne pictured the horrific image of Reggie inside his condo. The background noise from his phone was enough to tell her that he was in trouble. Although she wasn’t sure if she could help, she was damned if she was going to sit back and do nothing. Without thought, she ran to the master bedroom and into her closet.
Scanning her shoes and remembering Reggie’s strict orders, she grabbed her relatively new Doc Martins. Although she loves them, she hardly wore them for fear that they would date her age. Now, she hurriedly pulled on socks and boots while chuckling, “Just call me fashion forward for this Fall’s Shit-Stomper trend. Mark my words: it’ll be all the rage in Milan.”
As she laced up, she looked around the room and cursed herself for being staunchly against weapons.
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Bits and Bobs
- AISN number: B014WIJYRA
Crystal M Romero Online
Note: I received a free review copy of this Valley Of The Dead by Crystal M Romero. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.