Five years after the Zombie Apocalypse, a community of survivors has made a home in the California vacation town of Devon. Glen Novak, one of the town fathers, has been bitten by a zombie head intentionally planted in his home. Now he has 24 hours to find who killed him before he turns. Undead On Arrival
is a zombie noir novel.
Undead On Arrival provides examples of:
- A House Divided: Devon is controlled by rival gangs.
- An Axe to Grind: Novak uses a hatchet in his dominant hand to split zombie, or "geek," skulls.
- Agent Peacock: Pulaski, Novak's transvestite enforcer, who spends most of the books gleefully cutting people and zombies apart with a katana (and dancing to Michael Jackson). Unlike everyone else in town, Pulaski doesn't use a gun. He doesn't need one.
- Anti-Hero: Glen Novak isn't exactly a nice guy. He's the best of a group of bad men.
- Badass Gay: Stew, Novak's right hand man, is gay, married, kills zombies by the boatload with a machete, and is probably the person most capable of leading Devon.
- Battle in the Rain: The second half of the book, featuring frequent battles, takes place in a rainstorm.
- Cue the Rain: Devon gets hit by a rainstorm right when the building zombie horde breaks through the town gates.
- Disney Villain Death: Subverted, as it's Novak who dies this way.
- Downer Ending: Novak murders his murderer after accepting the kid's apology, and then kills himself
- Drop the Hammer: Novak uses a small sledgehammer in his offhand. Additionally, other fighting men are described as carrying "guns and hammers." Makes sense, as after a zombie apocalypse, you take what you can find and there are hammers everywhere.
- Fantastic Noir: This is a classic noir story... WITH ZOMBIES.
- Genre-Busting: Noir. Zombies. Two great tastes.
- Hardboiled Detective: Sure, Novak used to be a gym teacher, but his murder isn't going to solve itself.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Novak strong-arms nearly everyone he talks to. The trope itself is averted as every one of these people lies to him, though that's not immediately apparent.
- Not Using the Z Word: Zombies are referred to as "geeks."
- Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Zombies are killed by destroying their medulla oblongata (the "medusa something" in the words of the protagonist).
- Sympathy for the Devil: When Novak finds his killer, it turns out it's one of his closest allies, a poor, scared kid who regrets the hell out of what he did.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Pulaski is one of the more heroic characters in the book. He's also the most fabulous.
- Zombie Apocalypse: It's five years later.
- Zombie Infectee: The protagonist of the novel, in the very first chapter.