Book Review: Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski

When Braineater Jones wakes up in a swimming pool with a bullet hole in his chest, he doesn't know who he is, where he is, or how he died, but he soon finds out that alcohol is the only thing that keeps him from turning into a true brain-eating monster. He quickly gets himself set up as a private detective for the dead, ends up with a severed head as a partner, and starts off his new undead life by attempting to solve his own murder case.

Book Review: Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery, zombies
Title: Braineater Jones
Pages: 235
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Most of the zombies I read about are the mindless, infected, and/or shambling kind. But I much prefer my non-human creatures to be main characters in books rather than monsters to be killed, so having a zombie protagonist this time made me all excited, and for good reason because this was such a unique, creative take on the creatures!

See, in this version, they’re still fully functioning, but they have to drink alcohol to stay “alive” because it pickles the brain, and, if rigor mortis starts to set in, they have to electroshock their bodies back into action. But since they’re dead, any injuries they get don’t actually heal, so, for example, our protag Braineater Jones here has to remove maggots from his bullet holes each morning, and all the zombies have their own little tips and tricks in order to keep their bodies looking and functioning as alive as possible. Also, their body parts stay alive even when removed, which leads to some extremely interesting scenarios, like Jones having a severed head as a partner in his detective business and a brothel where the men get to choose a head, a torso, and legs separately to form one woman. So what I’m saying is, I absolutely loved the creativity of the zombies and their whole little zombie society. The author really had fun with all the oddities and mishaps that would come with being a walking, talking corpse.

The writing was also great in that Braineater Jones had a fantastic voice. I’m no expert on the lingo and culture of the 1930s, but it felt pretty right. It was definitely not just a character from the present plopped into a 1930s setting. The way Jones talked, his thoughts, the slang he used—it really added a lot to the book.

The book was also funny in this sarcastic, bizarre, sometimes twisted, sometimes disgusting (literally, because their bodies were rotting corpses) kind of way. It’s not for the faint of heart or the easily offended, but the absurdity of some of the situations combined with Jones’s commentary made for a highly entertaining read.

There was also the crime noir/mystery aspect of Jones trying to solve his own murder case, but honestly, I’m not a big crime mystery person. I just liked the book for the fun zombie-ness.

So overall, it was a fantastically strange and unique zombie book that was so much fun to read!


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16 thoughts on “Book Review: Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski

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    1. Kristen Burns

      I haven’t read White Trash Zombie yet, so I don’t know if it’s like this one or not, but I really want to read it! As soon as I can afford them lol. Because I really wanna buy the paperbacks (love the cover art).

        1. Kristen Burns

          Well the zombies in this one weren’t mindless either, but I really do want to read the White Trash Zombie series! And I have a mini obsession with Dan dos Santos cover art lol.

  1. Ashley G.

    I don’t normally read zombie books, but this one sounds like it has a lot of different aspects than most others. It’s sounds really funny too!

  2. Lola

    This one sounds quirky and original for a zombie book. Although for some reason zombie books never have appealed to me, I know I probably should just give one a try once. I have read a few books with zombies as side characters, which does seem to work for me. I haven’t read any with zombies as the main character I think.
    The fact that they have to drink alcohol does sound like a original addition. It sure sounds like the zombie topic was handled creatively with the head sidekick and how in the brothel they can create their a women from different parts. That’s great the author really made it feel like it took place at that time period. And I like the sound of the mystery and how he’s solving his own murder. As you know I am really into cozy mysteries, but have read few crime/ mystery books besides that genre. I don’t think this would be a book for me, but I enjoyed reading your review and it sounds fun how the author handles the zombie topic!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Definitely original and out-of-the-norm for zombies. I’ve read a few post-apoc zombie books, but I don’t actually read those for the zombies, I read them for the characters in the situation. As far as MC zombies go, before this, I had read iZombie, and that was it.

      The alcohol and all the various other things were so unique, haha. Sometimes I would just laugh at the creativity and absurdity. And I love when books capture the time period really well. I’m not sure if it’d quite be for you either, but thank you, I did have fun reading and reviewing the book 🙂

  3. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I can’t wait to read this one now. Great review. You should check out the Dan Shambles, Zombie PI series by Kevin J Anderson if you liked this. There are 4-5 in the series and a few novellas. I love them.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Funny enough, I randomly stumbled upon the Dan Shambles series the other day and put it on my TBR because it sounded kind of like this book lol. I remember you also got this book from Netgalley though, so I look forward to seeing your thoughts too!

  4. AngelErin

    I’m not sure if I would love or despise this, but it sounds so unique! I would definitely try this one out. I like that it’s a blend of zombies meets noir. That just sounds cool. Excellent review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol is there no middle ground 😛 It really was unique though. And it was pretty much zombies meets noir. Thanks! You’ll have to let me know if you read it 🙂

  5. verushka

    You know what, I need to read this — everything from being based in the 1930s, to such creativity around the zombies and Jones’ voice too! Awesome find and review!