PARIAH by Bob Fingerman (2010 Tor Books ./ 365 pp. / tp)
Everyone from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY to FANGORIA has been raving over this one. Despite being a zombie fanatic, I'm about at my limit with zombie novels, but had to see what all the fuss was about.
Fingerman (author of the well-praised vampire novel, BOTTOMFEEDER), paints a grim picture of post-apocalyptic Manhattan: the novel basically takes place in a single apartment building, and much time is given to the few survivors who dwell within. Thankfully, there's much well-done humor here, and a couple of characters are quite interesting, especially an Italian guido named Eddie who lets his penis do all the thinking, and Mona, a strange, quiet goth girl who is able to walk among the zombies without being touched (hence our title character).
The zombies are described with all the grue horror fans love, and as a stand alone novel it's a decent read. I'm not sure if Fingerman is planning on another story, but PARIAH does read like part of a larger picture, and the end left me wanting. We're not told where the zombies have come from, and we're still not clear why the zombies are afraid of Mona.
Fingerman is a fantastic writer, continually keeping the reader's interest and bringing on the creeps just when you think the laughs might get out of hand. But with so many questions left unanswered, and being a second novel (or a series) isn't mentioned (or hinted at), I can only give this a middle-of-the-road recommendation.