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Dead Mann Walking: A Hessius Mann Novel by…

Dead Mann Walking: A Hessius Mann Novel (edition 2011)

by Stefan Petrucha

Series: Hessius Mann

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668269,059 (3.47)2
Title:Dead Mann Walking: A Hessius Mann Novel
Authors:Stefan Petrucha
Info:Roc (2011), Edition: Original, Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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Dead Mann Walking by Stefan Petrucha



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A zombie pulp detective novel that tries too hard to be both and ends up being neither. Just meh on this one. ( )
  bookwormteri | Oct 17, 2016 |
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A zombie horror mystery that makes you think what it would be like to truly not be able to die.

Opening Sentence: Sixteen pieces. That’s how many chunks the newslady said Colin Wilson was cut into.

The Review:

Hessius Mann is a chak, a re-animated corpse. A cop before he was sentenced to death, he now spends his time as a private investigator. Hessius is hired by a lawyer to find a missing chak, at the same time the news is reporting zombies being cut into pieces, with one vital piece missing, the head. Hessius leads the search for the missing zombie, in a shantytown that is ruthlessly attacked by hakkers, humans/livebloods who like to beat up on chakz. One horrible event leads to another and that leads Hessius to believe that his missing zombie and the chopped up zombies have something in common.

Hessius is a smart chak, a zombie who still is highly functioning and thankfully fully intact. Unfortunately, chakz do have bad memories, Hessius has to rely on his digital recorder to remember his clues. He does live for the moment because he never knows when he could turn feral, lose his mind and be D-capped. Since he cannot heal he does act timidly in times of trouble, he is afraid of being hurt or losing a body part. Hessius is also obsessed with the true death. He doesn’t believe that zombies die when their heads have been removed. He is sure that whatever brings them back to life cannot be undone. And the story really carries with these thoughts in mind.

At times the plot can be very far-fetched, but in a world where the dead are brought back to life, who says things like walking skeletons and talking heads can’t happen. The zombies in Dead Mann Walking are not your normal horror movie zombies. They rarely attack the living and when they do they don’t infect humans with a virus turning them into an undead. Stefan Petrucha sets up a darkly horrifying world in which the livebloods and chakz live in. His take on the zombie genre is certainly unique.

Dead Mann Walking does have a few slow parts, but for the most part it had me guessing what the heck was going on, even when I felt I should have seen that coming. There is quite a bit of action but it was the mystery that kept me reading.

Ultimately, Dead Mann Walking is not a book I would normally pick up, but I did find it a unique and thought-provoking read. Hessius had me thinking what it would be like to not die, to still have awareness but you couldn’t do anything about it. Also, all I know is that I wouldn’t want to live in Fort Hammer, alive or as a zombie. I couldn’t find anything to say if this was part of a series or a standalone but if there is another book, I wouldn’t mind finding out what Hessius does next.

Notable Scene:

I got to my feet, screaming. I staggered out onto the highway, still screaming.

What a sight that must have been, zombie dirt monster raging in the middle of the highway. Cars zoomed by. I’m sure someone would have hit me if they weren’t worried about ruining their finishes.

One asshole driving an old Civic must have been texting or watching a DVD. By the time he saw me, he had to turn the wheel so hard, he nearly flipped his car. Instead, tires squealing, it spun and came to a halt on the shoulder. The air bag popped and he was just stupid enough to be angry about it.

Face in a fierce snarl, he pushed the air bag away, popped the door, and stormed toward me. He was early twenties, hair baked blonde and dried like the field, a football player, someone who’d kick a boulder in his way rather than walk around it.

“You stupid mother. . . “

I guess he hadn’t noticed I was dead and howling until about then. I saw no reason to stop screaming for his sake.

“Holy shit!” He backed up, put the car between us. I came forward, getting louder. I wasn’t feral, but I wasn’t real happy, either.

He thought about getting back in his car, but I hopped up on the hood and gave him a real loud one, nearly tore out my vocal cords. He started backingup. He didn’t want to give up the car, but he didn’t want to die, either.

With a final, “Oh, shit” he turned and started running.

I got behind the wheel. The engine still running, I put it in gear and drove past him.

The Hessius Mann Series:

1. Dead Mann Walking

2. Dead Mann Running

FTC Advisory: Penguin/Roc provided me with a copy of Dead Mann Walking. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Mar 4, 2012 |

Hessius Mann used to be a police detective, with a photographic memory, and anger issues. Now, he's simply a private detective with some memory issues to go along with his rotting skin. Dead Mann Walking is the first book in the Hessius Mann urban fantasy series by Stefan Petrucha, it was quite a cool novel.

A new technology was developed that enabled bringing back people from the dead, essentially making them zombies. Hessius Mann is one of these zombies, and he gets entangled in a serial killer's scheme of decapitating them, and also in an inheritance war between siblings, some that are alive and a zombie that is set to inherit everything. Problem is no one cares about zombies, so it's up to Mann to figure things out. Which is complicated, with people trying to kill him, particularly his former co-workers in the police who want to get revenge on him since they blame him for beating his wife to death. Of course, he's having memory problems; zombies are a bit forgetful.

Dead Mann Walking is a novel that I found to be highly amusing, mainly because the narrative has plenty of dry humor. Hessius Mann has a narrative style that is quite unique to me, reminds me a bit of Charlie Huston's Joe Pitts Casebooks. This is more evident in character interactions and on general atmosphere of novels coupled with the side characters. Mann in particular has an ability do some very interesting observations, which I personally find quite humorous. Often throwing some random phrase in the middle of paragraphs which seems out of place, but when you think a bit more on it things start making sense. Just love that kind of stuff.

The novel itself, though not a perfect comparison, comes off to me as a zombified Memento (you know the awesome movie with Guy Pearce with anterograde amnesia). Mann though also forgetting a lot of memories from his past, he has trouble retaining new memories. So he goes around with his voice recorder trying to get by, that is, when he remembers that he's carrying a recorder or where he has it stored. I find it to be a curious dynamic, when the character is chasing leads, then forgets about those leads, getting mislead by new evidence and unable to connect it with previous evidence he had collected.

Though highly enjoying the novel, it's not without it's flaws. It took me a bit to get into it; I thought the narrative had a bit too much exposition. This was balanced out with the interesting observations I mentioned before, but it made the plot progress a bit slower and the worldbuilding less organic. Also the mystery became predictable, though doing a great job in keeping things off balance early on, the reader should be capable of putting things together fairly easily. Mann's struggle to figure what's happening helps things out though, mainly because he has all he needs to figure things out, plus great instincts; he's simply handicapped.

In general, I'm not a fan of zombies, yet it seems like all I've done this year is read zombie books for one reason and another. Still, I found the zombies here to be really good. There are different types of zombies, with different levels of intelligence. Just a good variety within them, with different sort of problems they have to face, particularly one's that have experienced a traumatic past. Given that most of them seem to be people who seemingly have been wrongly executed (while they were really alive), then many of the zombies will be facing a lot of emotional distress. On the other hand, zombies have also an emotional detachment, they don't seem to feel, so it's a weird situation all told.

There's plenty to like here, particularly with the themes employed. Questions about the soul arise, what makes someone alive, questions about identity vs. your previous life's identity. A lot of social issues arise, and interestingly it might have some in common with the "Occupy" movement recently as well (don't quote me on this), as well with segregation and human rights. Also the cost of the quest towards immortality.

Quite an introspective novel also, as much as a zombie is capable of introspecting, but with a very curious ending which makes readers see Mann's experience through the novel in a new light as well as how he perceives the world, but more importantly himself. The novel is simply an exploration of Hessius Mann's world, both external and internally; society and self.

Also, if you say Hessius very fast it might sounds a bit like Jesus. Don't know, food for thought.

Stefan Petrucha's book is simply a winner. Though a bit disappointing mystery wise, it turns into an interesting thriller with an underlying abundance of concepts that will make the readers think beyond the scope of the novel. And just a lot of fun, with plenty of action, and my kind of humor. I recommend Dead Mann Walking to all urban fantasy fans, particularly one's interested in a different pace with a narrative voice that stands out from the norm. ( )
  BastardBooks | Feb 25, 2012 |
This book was a total surprise for me. I was a bit hesitant to pick it up but I figured I'd at least give it a try. I'm not a big zombie fan, some zombie books are okay and I've read a few that I ended up loving, but I'm still a bit wary of them. Luckily I'm open minded enough to at least try things because I would have missed out on a great story if I hadn't bothered! I ended up liking this one a lot!

This book doesn't have the typical zombies. No, they are people who were brought back by the government, usually because they were wrongly convicted and executed. Some were brought back by family members as well. And these zombies aren't really the typical zombies. They are at all different functioning levels. Some are able to hold jobs, others just barely hang on to a shred of sanity and others are completely feral and are more of the 'typical' zombies. They are usually 'put down' immediately though and aren't allowed to roam freely.

Now Hessius Mann is higher functioning zombie who use to be a cop. Now he works as a private investigator. Unfortunately remembering things is difficult and he has a nice liveblood (living human) assistant who is able to help with pretty much all his needs as well as kind of taking care of him when he needs it. She patches him up when he's injured, she helps him remember things (though his recording device does most of that) and she helps him stay sane. Because it's easy to lose it when you're a zombie and then you go feral and well, then you're killed for good.
I really liked Hessius and felt like he was portrayed realistically (you know, considering he's a freaking zombie!) due to his condition. He has a good heart and he works hard to be a good person, er, zombie. He also says some funny things and is incredibly brave.

While the story has one main plot arc, which was absolutely fantastic, it has mini arcs within it which kept me on my toes as there was constant action. There wasn't really any downtime! It was just one thing after another and it made the book a fast read.

There was lots of creepy and plenty of UGH moments. As a matter of fact, I advise you to not read while eating, or directly before bed. But either I'm not as creeped out in my old age or I'm just getting use to things because I was okay with it all. I mean, it was definitely more then I would think I would like, but the story overall was just so great I kind of had to take the creepiness and ugh along with it. And it all worked great.

I definitely recommend this to adults who enjoy zombies, urban fantasy, horror and mysteries. This is definitely one that would fit the 'guy book' category as there's no romance and lots of action and gross stuff. ( )
  Candacemom2two | Oct 27, 2011 |
Hessius Mann is a detective. He used to be a cop, back before his wife died. Before he was arrested and convicted of her murder. Then he was dead. Executed for her murder. Too bad he was innocent.

Then the scientists came up with this new treatment thing that brought the dead back to life. Well, make that half life. Hessius Mann is also a zombie.

Totally different look at the whole zombie thing, and I really enjoyed this book. It looks like there are more to come, and I will read those too. ( )
  cmbohn | Oct 19, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451464214, Mass Market Paperback)

After Hessius Mann was convicted of his wife's murder, suppressed evidence came to light and the verdict was overturned-too bad he was already executed. But thanks to the miracles of modern science Hessius was brought back to life. Sort of.

Now that he's joined the ranks of Fort Hammer's pulse-challenged population, Hessius attempts to make a "living" as a private investigator. But when a missing persons case leads to a few zombies cut to pieces, Hessius starts thinking that someone's giving him the run-around-and it's not like he's in any condition to make a quick getaway...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:12 -0400)

After Hessius Mann was convicted of his wife's murder, suppressed evidence came to light and the verdict was overturned-too bad he was already executed. But thanks to the miracles of modern science Hessius was brought back to life. Sort of. Now that he's joined the ranks of Fort Hammer's pulse-challenged population, Hessius attempts to make a "living" as a private investigator. But when a missing persons case leads to a few zombies cut to pieces, Hessius starts thinking that someone's giving him the run-around-and it's not like he's in any condition to make a quick getaway...… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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