Oct 27, 2011

Review: Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Title: Dust
Author: Joan Frances Turner
Publisher:  Ace
Publication Date: 9.7.2010
Pages: 384
Genre: Horror
Series: Yes (Dust #1)
Source: Finished copy from publisher

Rating: B+

Summary (from Goodreads):
Nine years ago, Jessie had a family. Now, she has a gang.

Nine years ago, Jessie was a vegetarian. Now, she eats very fresh meat.

Nine years ago, Jessie was in a car crash and died. Nine years ago, Jessie was human.

Now, she’s not.

After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie’s gang is the Fly-by-Nights. She loves the ancient, skeletal Florian and his memories of time gone by. She’s in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance together as one—something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs.

But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods—things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death. As bits and pieces of the truth fall around Jessie, like the flesh off her bones, she’ll have to choose between looking away or staring down the madness—and hanging onto everything she has come to know as life

Maggots, rotting flesh and zombies? Sounds like a truly grotesque combination, but not so much in this originally crafted novel by Joan Frances Turner. While there are some truly gross moments (there’s maggots, OK?), I love this completely unique approach. Turner actually humanized zombies, something I never, ever considered.

Jessie fascinated me. I loved reading about the world through her eyes, and how her life changed since becoming undead. I enjoyed reading about the community that her gang had created, and all the people, uh, zombies in it. The book lagged a bit in places, but I still enjoyed reading this nonetheless. I love reading anything than can give me a fresh take on an idea I had long-since stereotyped.

This book is NOT for the squeamish. Some of the details are quite gory and disturbing, but I only thought that enhanced the overall novel. It gave a sense of realism to the book. I mean … it’s zombies. It’s not like they sit at the dinner table eating hamburgers; they eat raw meat. They kill and are constantly surrounded by death. It probably sounds a little crazy, but I loved that. I felt like it took a serious amount of commitment on Turner’s part to not water this down and gloss over the less pretty aspects of being undead.

Buy: Amazon


  1. I have heard so many great things able this book. Going to have to move it up on my wishlist.

  2. This sounds absolutely fascinating! I usually don't read anything gory or with zombies but this premise is undeniably intriguing. I'm going to seriously consider grabbing this one. How detailed is the blood and gore?

  3. You are so right! Definitely not a tale for the squeamish lol

    But she did present a very fresh, unique spin to the zombie theme, and after having read Dust, I've been eager to read the next book in this series! Have you read it yet? Just curious what you thought :)
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.


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