Review of Tony Faville’s Avery Nolan, Private Dick of the Strange: The Case of the Zombie Menace

NolanI’ll be the first to admit that the title is a little strange…purposefully. Anyone familiar with the hardboiled detective noire of the 50’s will get the play on words. While not a huge fan of the 50’s detective noir on paper, I have an affinity for modern adaptations. Think about the movie L.A. Confidential, and you’ll be headed in the right direction. This was a fun read, at a time when I had just started to dig into the zombie genre. Faville pulls this off brilliantly.

“Easing into the Zombie genre is no easy feat. The sheer volume of books can be overwhelming, and like any genre, quality can run the the full spectrum. Most of these books are released by small press publishers and are relatively unknown outside of the Zombie-genre community. Fortunately for me, I had a shepherd, who regularly edits for these publishers…and has apparently read every zombie book on the market. As a disclaimer, I have read World War Z…which I thoroughly enjoyed, so this isn’t my first zombie book.

Tony Faville’s Avery Nolan: Private Dick of the Dead came highly recommended as a primer, and based on the title, I was skeptical…but this novella exceeded my expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to find a hard-boiled 50’s detective story, merged with a cold-war conspiracy that involves the regeneration of the dead. The term “zombie” didn’t exist in the early fifties, and Faville, true to the era throughout the story, honors this detail. The characters, props and settings felt authentic for this era, and captured the essence of one of my favorite movies, LA Confidential.

So, what about the undead? They’re in the story from the start, but they don’t occupy the story’s focus. The novella proposes an interesting take on the emergence of zombies, related to a cold war military experiment…and the chaos that descends on private detective, Avery Nolan, as he searches for the key scientist involved in the controversial research…and starts to unravel the forces behind the rash of murderously bizarre behavior spreading through New York City.

Avery Nolan: Private Dick of the Dead is a quick paced, enjoyable read, merging two genres into a unique story that kept me entertained. Tony Faville has a great sense of humor, which shines at numerous points throughout the story, adding to the experience. I would not hesitate to read another book in this series, if written by the author.”

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