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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead - review

David Brown

How many movies have you looked at where you have thought “I don’t think this is realistic” or “I would do things differently if that were me”? Do you look for realism in everything zombie related rather than suspend your belief? Do you wonder how things would really work out during the zombie apocalypse including how it would start and the potential consequences? If you said yes to any of these questions than look no further that Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead written by Jonathan Maberry, author of many horror novels and a winner of the Bram Stoker Award for best nonfiction title with his book The Cryptopedia: A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange & Downright Bizarre.

In Zombie CSU, Maberry sits down with many experts in various fields including priests, religious historians, forensics experts, law enforcement officials, doctors, filmmakers, and members of the media. During this time he crafts a zombie attack scenario in a realistic setting and examines all sides of the case. He starts out with discussions on police investigation techniques and the time-frames for evidence collection, crime scene set-up, and initial search for “patient-zero”. During each chapter Maberry looks first at the facts, recounting the scenario he sets up as well as looking at public domain information on the subject being discussed. He then goes on to a section detailing conversations with expert witnesses, talking with each about the techniques they currently employ in real world scenarios. He finishes up each chapter with a look at how the experts would react in a world where the dead rose.

As stated earlier in our review, this book deals with everything related to a “realistic” zombie attack. Sections covered include (in order): the previously mentioned crime scene unit and evidence collection, medical examinations of the living dead, zombie forensic psychology, police tactics, spiritual and philosophical implications of the walking dead, legal ramifications, armed and unarmed combat, news reports, and zombies in pop culture. Each section is masterfully written, including conversations with many experts from different fields. Maberry does not just sit idly and talk to one expert in each section, he looks at each piece of information from a number of different viewpoints and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions based on what experts in each area have to say.

Maberry may have his name as author but the book in not filled with just his thoughts. Scattered throughout the book are a number of conversations on many topics whether it be legality in dealing with the living dead, sections of zombie trivia questions, or continual conversations on whether experts prefer fast of slow zombies. For a typical author this would be enough, but Mabery goes a step further still by showcasing not only conversations with a number of artists on their reasons for becoming interested in zombies, but their artistic creations such as drawings, paintings, or photographs. Each artists and expert is given the same amount of consideration which truly adds to his credibility as an author.

Through reading the book you come to realize a number of things about yourself. This book makes you play through the scenarios in your head and rethink everything you have thought. It also does a great job of squashing any fears you may have regarding zombies. I don’t want to spoil anything, but just know that this is a must read book if you are a zombie fan. It takes everything you think you know about a zombie apocalypse and puts it into a real world perspective. The superb writing and excellent illustrations do a great job of making this a must own. If you are able to get this do so as soon as possible, you will not regret it.

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