[Review] Dead Man’s Drive by Michael Panush

Disclaimer: I received this book as a free copy from Curiosity Quills in exchange for an unbiased review. All the opinions below are my own.

Cover of Dead Man's Drive from Goodreads.com

Dead Man’s Drive is one of those books I treat as a filler; its cover and storyline reads like a B-grade film. Not classic, but something pleasant to while away the time. This is pretty much how I read the book after it was given to me. Despite the slimness of book (I finished it at 242 pages, on my mobile) there’s a lot packed in this book.

The plot is simple: Undead demons and an unscrupulous developer are trying to take over a small town (La Cruz). The town’s self-appointed, heavily-armed Donovan Motors are the town’s only line of defense. The cast, while entertaining, read like a typical misfits gang trying to do just good.

There’s Roscoe, the sentient but amnesiac zombie. Betty Bright, the college girl with a talent for the occult. Felix, the child genius who was orphaned in Nazi Germany. Crazy Wooster Stokes, Zoots Suiter and Angel Rey. All of them are led by a man simply titled, “the Captain,” whose military background makes him an excellent leader, or so they imply.

The action starts fast and furious. We’re introduced to the cast quickly and simply. There’s lots of bang bang bang and shooting and car chases. Then we’re introduced to the main plot with almost no breather… which introduces a host of other characters.

This brings me to an important point: If you’re reading Dead Man’s Drive, it’s best to switch off your brain and just enjoy the ride. There are some plot holes, some character development that’s a little sloppy, and loose ends that are tied up a bit too easily, but overall, it’s a fairly enjoyable book.

What I didn’t quite like about the book was how some issues were brought up and dealt with. It felt too fast, too out of character, and was very much tacked onto the plot. The tie between different characters also threw me for quite the loop (Captain’s leadership, Roscoe’s rage, etc). There was also that weird want to but not quite romance subplot.

If books could be mindless, guilty pleasure flicks, then Dead Man’s Drive is right up there. I like how they left space for a sequel; there’s more to explore in La Cruz and the writing is quite alright. I can also forgive the plot. More work needs to be done on the characterisation, but as this is a first book in a series, I think it might be worth checking out.

TL;DR review: Popcorn read with plenty of action. Writing is decent, and fairly enjoyable at times.