Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
Not since the glory days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a female killer of the undead burst onto the scene with such aplomb.
Karina Fabian’s Neeta Lyffe: Zombie Exterminator is a chainsaw-wielding heroine who’s not afraid to kick some major paranormal ass. Whether she is dousing putrefied reanimated corpses with industrial-strength cleaning supplies or lighting them on fire, she’s not one to run the other way when confronted with the walking dead. Instead much like her day job of eliminating rats and fleas, she exterminates zombies who threaten to spread their disease by sinking their teeth into living human flesh. The only way to stop them is by severing the spinal cord, namely decapitation.
This gruesome work is so in demand by the year 2040 that Neeta is the star of her own reality show. Her mission is to train seven recruits through the staged trials of exterminator certification.
Right out of the gate, the book opens with the death of one of her plebes, surfer-dude Bergie. This life-imitating-art form of entertainment is so full of sensationalism that his death is seen in living rooms across the country. Neeta knows she has made a deal with the devil—namely the show’s producer, Gary—in attaching herself to such a project. However, faced with a lawsuit for burning down a property in order to save a group of people from a zombie attack, her monetary needs outweigh her moral objections.
Fabian shines in her ability to create believable supporting characters. Each participant on the show has a distinctive personality full of his or her own idiosyncrasies and quirks. It is a difficult enough for an author to mold a strong, multifaceted protagonist, but Fabian succeeds in bringing an extensive cast to life as authentic individuals, not clichéd stereotypes. Fashioning scenes of dialogue with eight people requires a skilled writer, and Fabian delivers with clear, precise conversations. The reasons behind the recruits’ personal motivations are given just enough background information to make their actions understandable for the reader. Standouts include shy—to the point of stammering—Spud, and attention seeking, publicity hound Roscoe.
With zombie fever raging across America with the phenomenon of AMC’s “Walking Dead,” lovers of the genre will certainly enjoy Fabian’s spin on things.
While staying true to the story’s horror/sci-fi theme, she also introduces a great deal of humor into the narrative. For example, the zombie outbreak originated with the unpredictable nature of the 2009 swine flu vaccine. Since then bodies have been digging themselves out of the grave, traumatizing the living, mostly by barging into their homes and monopolizing their TV sets.
Fabian also introduces a love triangle for Neeta involving Ted, the cameraman, and Brian, the big name Hollywood radio personality. Its resolution definitely leaves the door open to the possibility of a sequel.
Overall, Neeta is to zombies what Buffy is to vampires.