Eat Your Heart Out by Dayna Ingram is a lesbian romance with zombies, or a zombie story with lesbians, depending on how you want to look at it. This does not mean the zombies themselves are lesbians (well, some of them might have been before they died but the book doesn't go into that), not that that matters since there is thankfully absolutely no zombie on human action (except for all the biting), nor zombie on zombie action for that matter.
It starts out as an ordinary day for Devin, trainee assistant manager at a furniture store in a small town in Ohio. Arriving late for work she unexpectedly meets Renni Ramirez, an actress famous for her leading role in the Rising Evil movies. Still reeling from this brush with fame, Devin shortly afterwards has her first encounter with a zombie, who comes into the store and attacks her boss. Devin soon finds herself on the run with Renni, trying to rescue her girlfriend Carmelle and make it out of the quarantine zone around their town before the army comes in to shoot anything that moves.
Things never go to plan for Devin, whose attempts to impress Renni result in some truly cringeworthy moments. Carmelle proves herself not deserving of being rescued and Devin and Renni get so wrapped up in their personal dramas that they briefly forget they are in a town full of the living dead. Things are further complicated by the appearance of a mysterious stranger and his crack squad of zombie hunters.
The comic tone of the book was a refreshing change from the more serious zombie thrillers I have been been reading of late (and I realise it sounds silly to describe a book about a zombie uprising as "serious" but you know what I mean). At times it's reminiscent of Shaun of the Dead, especially in the scene where Devin doesn't initially notice that what she is seeing is a zombie because who hasn't seen people looking like the living dead on their way into a coffee shop first thing in the morning. Ingram has a very witty turn of phrase and I laughed out loud in a couple of places.
The book has its scary moments too. I found the scene in the furniture store at the beginning genuinely chilling, and I really felt for the manager, Biff Tipping, who for some reason I pictured as looking like Bill Bailey (there's a casting tip if anyone wants to make a movie of this one). Then there are the more tender parts of the story.You can't help but feel sorry for Devin, whose love for and idealisation of Carmelle blinds her to her girlfriend's faults.
At just shy of 150 pages, Eat Your Heart Out is a quick, fun read that would be well suited for a morning bus ride to work or a quiet rainy day spent curled up on the couch. It's sometimes funny, sometimes scary, with a touch of sweetness tempered with a little well placed profanity. Here's hoping for a sequel.
Eat Your Heart Out is available on Amazon.com for $13.00 in paperback or $3.99 for the Kindle version.