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Slimy Underbelly by Kevin J. Anderson
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I saw this book in the library in the science fiction section, and the cover caught my eye. It's definitely not science fiction. Of the two main, overarching genres of speculative fiction, this definitely falls into fantasy, although it has tentacles in other genres as well. It's and absurd, comedic, supernatural, zombie detective story. The protagonist is dead, to begin with. So is his girlfriend. He's a zombie. She's a ghost. Along with their partner (a lawyer who isn't dead), they investigate problems brought to them by their clients, which in this book include a young mad scientist evicted from his underground lab, an ogre opera singer who lost his voice (it was stolen), a frog demon who is opening a spa, and a weather wizard running for election. That's what it is. There are all sorts of things it's not. It's not terribly original, insightful, or clever. The characters, prose, and setting are not especially well crafted. The cases that form the interweaving story don't close every plot hole. This isn't serious fiction (which is a term I've heard but regard as an oxymoron). It is, however, a lot of fun. Between the derivative characters, puns, absurd situations, and references to elements of contemporary culture, it's an enjoyable light read. ( )
  DLMorrese | Aug 23, 2017 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales (http://darkfaerietales.com/)

Quick & Dirty: While I love zombies, this book about a zombie detective ended up being a bit too over the top for me in its use of puns and jokes.

Opening Sentence: It was a cold and snowy afternoon in the Unnatural Quarter.

The Review:

Undead life is never boring for zombie detective Dan Chambeaux. All of a sudden, he finds himself bombarded left and right with cases. There’s an opera singing ogre who has lost his voice, a lawn gnome gang on the loose, a weather wizard wanting to know who’s defaming his character right before a big election, and a 12-year-old super villain in training who has been evicted from his laboratory. That last case will be the one that brings Dan into contact with a dangerous tentacle half-demon who has far more up his sleeve than just stealing a 12 year old’s villainous inventions. Dan somehow has to solve all of these cases while trying to stay alive – or as alive as a zombie can be. Will he be successful, or are his undead days numbered?

Honestly, I wasn’t super excited about reading this book when I read the description. I love zombies, but the jacket description made the book sound like it was just going to be silly. For the most part, my initial fears were correct. While I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would, it is definitely intended for an audience who wants a lighthearted, silly read, and that’s just not the type of thing I go for usually. There were parts that made me smile, but the constant use of puns resulted in more eye rolling than laughter on my end. A lot of the humor was over-the-top, and that’s just not the kind of humor I enjoy in my books usually.

Aside from the over-the-top humor, another issue I had with the book was its lack of focus. With the numerous cases Dan was working on, it almost felt like the book had ADD, as it would hop from one storyline to the next, with no real connections occuring from chapter to chapter to make the novel flow better. I would finally find myself interested in a storyline only to be yanked out of it and pulled into a different one. While it wasn’t done in a confusing way, it still served to take me out of the story and made me wish that it was over already.

On the bright side, the world Anderson has created is an interesting one, full of many different creatures. I thought the use of lawn gnomes was particularly creative and funny. As someone who hasn’t read the previous books, there was enough backstory given that I didn’t feel lost in any way, which was greatly appreciated.

All in all, I just wasn’t thrilled with this one. I’m sure readers who enjoyed the previous books in this series will also enjoy this one. On my part, reading this book didn’t give me any desire to read the previous ones or to continue the series. While I enjoy a funny book, this one proved a little too over-the-top for my tastes.

Notable Scene:

Three hideous creatures rose up, standing erect and covered with scales, dripping greenish brown water. They had muscular arms, thick claws, and long snouts that bristled with teeth.

Their golden eyes had reptilian slits. I hoped they weren’t muggers.

I faced them. “You look like crocodiles playing dress up.”

The three creatures looked at one another, confused. “Crocodiles?” one said in a deep voice that sounded like a belch forming a word.

“Not stinkin’ crocodiles!” said the second, deeply offended.

“We’re alligators.” The third tapped the extended end of his face. “Note the snout.”

“How can we help you?” Sheyenne asked.

“We hear you’re looking for Ah’Chulhu. We’re his lieutenants.”

“If he’s a real-estate salesman, why does he need lieutenants?” I asked. “Why not additional sales associates?”

“Told you,” muttered one of the gator-guys to his companions.

“Lieutenant sounds better,” said the second one. “And we can’t spell associates.”

“Can you spell lieutenant?” I asked.

“L-O-O…” Then the creature gave up and shook his head.

A second tried. “L-U-T.”

“Not right either,” I said.

“Damn this reptilian brain,” said the first gator-guy. I started thinking of them as Moe, Larry, and Curly.

FTC Advisory: Kensington provided me with a copy of Slimy Underbelly. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Aug 26, 2015 |
Dan Shambles is a zombie who works as a detective. His girlfriend is a ghost. An interesting idea but I found the book to be a little bit of fun but mostly fluff.

I received a review copy of Slimy Underbelly by Kevin J. Anderson (Kensington Books) through NetGalley.com. ( )
  Dokfintong | Sep 1, 2014 |
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There's something fishy going on in the Unnatural Quarter. Bodies are floating face-down, the plumbing is backing up, and something smells rotten, even to a zombie detective like Dan Shamble. Diving into the slimy underbelly of a diabolical plot, Dan comes face-to-tentacles with an amphibious villain named Ah'Chulhu. With his snap-happy gang of gator-guys Ah'Chulhu wreaks havoc beneath the streets. Dan Shamble is running out of time before the whole stinking city goes down the drain.… (more)

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