Friday, May 10, 2013

Review: Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

Working Stiff (Revivalist #1) by Rachel Caine
Synopsis (Goodreads):
Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn't the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment--until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele as part of an extortion racket. Now, Bryn faces being terminated--literally, and with extreme prejudice.

Wit the help of corporate double-agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem--pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She'd better do it fast, before she becomes a zombie slave--a real working stiff. She'd be better off dead...
My Thoughts: You know how sometimes you go into a book with some preconceived notions about it and it ends up surprising you in a good way? Yeah, that was me with this book. I don't even know what my issues were going into it, to be honest. I knew I wanted to read it because I love Rachel Caine's style of writing but I kept putting off starting this one. And then I put it off a little longer. Then I read it. Now I'm kicking myself because I like this take on zombies and I like the world that's been built. So, yeah. Rachel Caine's writing = 1, Kelly's issues that she can't pinpoint = 0

Bryn is... huh, how to describe her? She's cool under fire (her time in the military helps her in that regard) and she's not afraid to branch out and try new things (a new career as a funeral director, anyone?) but she's also nicely flawed. She makes some assumptions about people that end up being very wrong. Some of those assumptions end up getting her killed. She has a complicated relationship with her family. Above all, she's stuck in a situation that is really, really horrible. It's not so much that she died, as that she's now tied to whoever holds the drug that keeps her functioning. This is non-negotiable. She's seen the side effects of not having the drug. Short of getting someone to take care of her in a very permanent and saw-to-the-throat sort of way, her options are limited.

I liked Patrick. I liked Joe. I liked the peripheral characters. The whole idea of forcing people to work for the thing that keeps them functionally alive is very creepy with so much potential for badness. Bryn's in an unenviable situation and the things she has to deal with aren't pretty.

So. Zombies who are a little different. Bad guys who are REALLY bad. Family dynamics that are just twisty enough to have you raising your eyebrows. I ended up liking this one.

Books in this series
1. Working Stiff - Paperback | Kindle
2. Two Weeks' Notice

Author links
| Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |


  1. Was I the problem? I remember checking this out from the library and returning it partially read. It is a very cool take on zombies, though.

    1. I don't *think* it was you. I had it sitting on my shelf for a while and I started and stopped it more than once. It wasn't until I sat down and powered through several chapters that I realized that I *really* liked it. Because, yeah, the zombies are different and cool.

  2. I have both of these sitting on my shelves! I need to read them (if for no other reason that I actually like zombie books).

    Great Review!

  3. Ahhh I have the same thing with this one. I love her writing but just have not been able to get myself to actually read this one. I think it's the cover. I don't know why but for some reason I think that's what's holding me back. And yeah now I'm gonna get over myself and pick it up. It does sound really good! Thanks for the push on this one. I so needed it :)

    herding cats & burning soup

    1. All I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised. Give it a try.