Another anthology shambles onto the zombie bandwagon.
This predominantly reprint collection sets a high bar for quality when it opens with Jonathan Mayberry's stellar "Family Business," which was rewritten as the opening of Rot & Ruin (2010). Starting an anthology with by far its best offering, sadly, makes all the other entries suffer in comparison. Despite the unflattering basis for comparison, there's plenty of solid brain-eating goodies here, from Kelly Link's tale of a boy who screws up exhuming his dead girlfriend to Nina Kiriki Hoffman's upsetting and sharply graphic tale of an abused and murdered teen prostitute looking for her own sort of closure. Scott Nicholson's "You'll Never Walk Alone" ruins a perfectly good zombie horror with its stereotypes of Appalachians as ignorant, racist hicks who can't decide if zombism is an "Aye-rab bug" or plague of sinners whose "souls are roasting under Hell." Other contributors successfully mine the gore and grotesquerie of undeath for Viking feminist empowerment tales (Christine Morgan), poignant stories of shambling love (Catherynne M. Valente), pirate adventures (Thomas S. Roche) or just gleefully gross thrills (Marie Atkins).
For those zombie enthusiasts who haven't already collected the other anthologies in which most of these were previously published. (Horror. 14 & up)