Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Undead on Arrival

Go To

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.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending: bear with me here. Granted, Novak is either dead or damn sight better off that way; however, over the course of the plot he took out all the other town leaders who were, by and large, far bigger scumbags than him. Moreover Stew, Novak's appointed successor and thus most likely to take charge, seems to be both a capable leader and a pretty decent guy. Granted, there is the small matter of a zombie swarm but beyond that things just might improve for the community.
  • Cue the Rain: Devon gets hit by a rainstorm right when the building zombie horde breaks through the town gates.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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.
  • Freudian Trio: Novak is the Ego, Pulaski the Id, and Stew the Superego.
  • 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.


Example of: