Title: Abercrombie Zombie
Author: K.Z. Snow
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Abercrombie Zombie
Genre: M/M paranormal romance
Length: 136 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
Summary Review: A slightly spooky paranormal romance with an underlying thread of black humour.
For psychic mediums Quinn McConnell and Hunter Janz, dead folks pay the bills… barely. To make it into the financial comfort zone, they need an edge over their competition, and, as far as Quinn is concerned, some resolution to the sexual tension and unrequited love wreaking havoc with his psychic reception. Salvation comes in the form of dapper Dustin DeWind, a zombie who can obviously see and converse with the departed. In return for Quinn’s and Hunter’s help in finding the man who made him, he promises to steer them toward the elusive spirits that are their stock in trade. But once they forge an uneasy alliance, it almost seems Dustin is also nudging them toward each other….
Don’t be fooled by the cover, this isn’t an m/m/m ménage romance but rather a story of two psychic mediums, Quinn and Hunter who partner each other in using their skills for hire. Sometimes this means that they help the police solve murders, sometimes they appear on cheesy cable TV programmes and sometimes they get hired personally to find things. In this case the person hiring them is a zombie, Dustin DeWind, who hopes that the pair of psychics will help him to find his ex-lover. In return, Dustin promises to use his ability to talk to the dead to help Quinn and Hunter investigate a haunting in an old mental health hospital.
There are two themes going on in this short novel. Firstly there is the romance between Quinn and Hunter. The story is written from Quinn’s first person point of view. He’s got a huge crush on Hunter and has done ever since a rather ill advised sexual encounter which then led to rejection. Quinn’s trying not to let this crush affect his working relationship with Hunter but he finds this increasingly difficult especially as Hunter keeps sending out rather mixed messages. I found Quinn to be a very sympathetic character. He’s trying to be wise and pragmatic about his feelings for Hunter, but frankly fails spectacularly. His longing for Hunter is difficult to control and I felt rather sorry for him. He never come across as pathetic though because he has a strong sense of the absurd and this also colours the way he thinks about his relationship with Hunter. The first person narrative means that we don’t really get to know Hunter very well, although I felt that the author had done a good job in showing Hunter’s conflicting feelings for Quinn.
The second theme involves Quinn and Hunter’s dealing with Dustin. This part was a little creepy in places, but that was balanced with Quinn’s humourous insights which shines through the narrative, making the story a little black in terms of the humour. The scenes in the hospital had a nice tension to them as the men look for ghostly goings-on and I liked that this part of the book acted as a catalyst for Hunter. Later as the men look for Dustin’s ex-lover the paranormal goings-on become a backdrop to the twists and changes in the relationship between Hunter and Quinn, until an end which was both surprising and gratifying. I really liked the way that the individual strands of the plot slowly knitted together to create a story which was firmly rooted in relationship and love.
In the end this story is about what people will do for love – whether that’s for good or bad. It’s an uneasy theme in places, but meant that the story never verged on the too sweet. In fact the book has quite a thread of darkness woven through the romance which I felt worked really well with the paranormal theme. It never became too heavy or overwhelming though because of Quinn’s distinctive narrative voice. Those readers who are looking for an unusual paranormal story will enjoy this book. The character of the zombie gives the paranormal theme a freshness, and the psychic heroes an unusual twist on the romance. I really enjoyed Abercrombie Zombie and have no hesitation in recommending it.