Book Review: River of Souls by T.L. Bodine

This is a fun little zombie read!

River of Souls by T.L. Bodine

Released August 2019

Dark Fiction  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon 

Source: Received for Review Consideration

Undeath is a manageable condition.

That's what the media says, anyway: with the help of the miracle life-extension drug, Lazarus, the Undead can retain their humanity and live normal, happy lives. Without it, they become violent, mindless walking corpses.

Davin Montoya was eager to believe all of that. Forced to drop out of college to take care of his teenage sister, Zoe, after their father drank himself to death, he was more than happy to sign the no-good alcoholic over to the government's Lazarus House for treatment. That was one less thing for him to worry about.

Until an accident left him joining the ranks of the freshly deceased himself.

Now, keeping his death a secret is the only way to keep his sister out of foster care. But to do so, he must venture into the underground society of Unregistered Undead - a dangerous world of drug deals and government resistance. But when their access to Lazarus begins to run dry, the truth starts to unravel...and it's not what anyone expected.

My 2 Cents For Free!

I, probably like many of you, have OD’d on zombies a little. Not so much in fiction, for me, but in movies and tv and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little wary of them. Sure, I’ll stick with The Walking Dead as it stumbles to its slow, cruel death because I am a glutton for punishment but I don’t seek out zombie novels to read in my spare time unless they’re funny or super disturbing or promise to bring me some new twist.

This one offers the new twist. So I read it. But I read it not really expecting all that much because honestly, how many books promise you the world and fail to deliver? Far too many, if you are asking jaded me. The blurbs, oh how they can lie and be deceptive creatures! No worries here though, I will always give you nothing but the brutal truth even when it gets me in trouble. And I have good news! River of Souls does have a somewhat unique storyline (unless you’ve watched IZombie) and I liked it a lot because it also has great characters.

In this world people who die continue to walk the earth but society has found a way to integrate them back into society with a drug called “Lazarus” which tames their worst impulses and allows them to function without eating people and being too disgusting. But it’s not working out too great for most people because dear old dead dad is now a walking vegetable that needs constant care and a daily dose of drugs and he’s not terribly thrilled with getting poked each day. This is asking a lot of citizens. Especially teenager Davin who is left alone to fend for undead dad and his younger sister (who has not been zombified, thank goodness, because she is full of sass and I love her). When Davin is invited to enroll dad into a new but secretive treatment program, who can blame him for wanting to relieve himself of some of his burdens? Not I. This poor kid has way too much on his shoulders.

Davin’s life takes a strange turn shortly after visiting the facility and I won’t spoil it for you because I’m not a complete jerk. But I wasn’t expecting the turn and the things that followed and I loved that. There are good characters here and I can always get behind a well written brother-sister bond and this writer does a fabulous job with their relationship. These are people you want to care about. People you want to win or at least people you hope can catch a break.

There are also a few side characters who are interesting too, namely Randy who is my favorite. He is fun, flirty, and colorful. Just full of life which is a weird thing to say in a book about the undead but there it is. There is adventure and, more importantly, some humor here and I’m always there for some humor. It’s a little gross and a lot of goodness and I can easily recommend it to you even if you are sick to death of zombies.I hope there will be a sequel because I want some more of these characters and their adventures, and that’s not something I say often because I already own a zillion books!

4 1/2 out of 5


  1. Zombie books can get pretty predictable, can't they? I still like to read them, but I'm always hoping to find one that's surprising and and fun and better than expected. I will be adding this one to my TBR list! :)

  2. I've never really been into zombies but I did like iZombie.

  3. This sounds pretty unique, and honestly I never get tired of zombies😁

  4. I love the sound of the brother- sister bond, for sure, and I'm with you. I'm a little over zombies at this point, but it sounds like this one is different enough! May have to try it...

  5. I want this one. I love zombies but I do agree they sometimes get boring. The Walking Dead starts back up this weekend and I could care less. However, I won't stop watching it on principle. I mean, I came this far dammit and I refuse to cop out now. Also, I'll always love Daryl and Dog, but I'm even getting to the point where they all can die (OMG did I just say that) and just have Dog saunter into the sunset. Guess I digressed. Great review!

  6. great review. i do enjoy reading a good zombie story, but i really don't 'watch' them.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  7. I love iZombie and now I'm very curious about this book!

  8. I never get tired of trying new zombie books though I generally like the traditional story. When it goes off into love, humour, smart or different I have mixed opinions of it usually and a few DNFs! I'm not sure about this one so I need to look at a few reviews!


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