I’ve Been Deader by Adam Sifre: A Review

I've Been Deader
“About as interesting as slugs and moaned so much that, were Fred alive, he’d be sporting a hell of a migraine.” – on zombies.


I’ve Been Deader by Adam Sifre is a zombie novel. You may groan audibly at the prospect of yet more zombies but it’s actually a breath of fresh air. Pitched as a comedy horror by its creator, the humour is black, though I found it much more serious than I’d expected, especially following the halfway point.


It took me a little while to get into the book, I felt the opening was more slapstick than the rest of the story – I thought it was going to be some sort of bizarre “good” zombie love story at the outset, but boy was I wrong.


Adam establishes the rules of his undead horde quickly – they are much like all the other zombies we know and love, but there’s some brilliant, gory description to prop them up. There’s also Fred, one of the primary protagonists who, as it happens, is a zombie himself.


The difference between Fred, (45, pot belly and limp, bitten by clerk), is that he’s a thinking zombie who remembers his past life. He also learns he can control other zombies. The problems, though, are evident. He has no hang-ups over eating brains like his brothers, he enjoys them as much as your next zombie. He’s also falling apart and to top it off, he thinks he’s fallen in love with Aleta, a “breather” (human, not zombie), with amazing eyes. Also, “breathers” are fewer and farther between so he’s hungry and of late they appear to be fighting back; it’s almost as if they’re going to win the war.


I enjoyed reading about the initial spread of the virus immensely – George Potts the overly-friendly zombie postman and also scenes like Janet and the severely hen-pecked Stanley and the penis incident. I did feel we were, at times, learning about slightly throwaway characters when we perhaps should have been concentrating more on the main players, but this changed as the story progressed and on the whole I thought the descent into madness and anarchy in the world of zombies was well played.


We are also notably treated to Jon Tanner’s evil descent (a truly mad bastard) and Timmy, a kid heading for what could possibly send the dead back to the grave and a reunion with his dad, who just happens to be a zombie.


Overall I’ve Been Deader is a great, snappy read and suitably different from an at times, tired genre. I look forward to what Adam Sifre cooks up next – by the looks of it, a prequel.


Buy the book here.

I’ve Been Deader: Opening

I've Been Deader Friday the 13th is International Zombie Day. When it comes to shamblers, there’s no dead

like Fred. Author Adam Sifre a/k/a Splinker, is quite insistent about that. I’m posting the first

chapter of “I’ve Been Deader,” a near perfect blend of horror and comedy. Enjoy!



Fred’s ruined face stared back at him from a fractured, mold-spotted mirror. There was no

denying that he’d seen better days. The remains of breakfast pooled around his feet and a pair of

lace panties clung to his shoe, glued there by God knew what. Bits of flesh were stuck between

his yellow teeth, along with the sodden remains of a “hand wash only” label. Being a zombie

was no picnic.


He wiped his gore-stained hands on a filthy shirt, not sure if was cleaning the hands or

the shirt. He felt compelled to pause and take stock of himself. His right eye, now more crater

than ball, looked like a crushed egg yolk. His left leg was broken in at least two places. A large

splinter of bone poked through the skin above his thigh, fine dark lines etched across the surface

like a bad piece of scrimshaw. The open wound on his neck had started leaking again, but at least

the fluid was mostly clear now.


    No use dwelling on negatives. Time to get to work. He turned away from his reflection

and limped out of the men’s room of the Vince Lombardi rest area.


An overly bright morning sun assaulted him as he stepped outside. Fred gave a mental

wince, wishing again that he could blink. Sunlight had no adverse effect on the undead, but

he had never been a morning person. Today he had to shamble over to Terminal C of Newark

Airport, where eight breathers were making their last stand. Zombies were lone hunters and

rarely worked together. Every so often, however, a kind of collective broadcast signal went out

over the undead grapevine, announcing the newest brain buffet — in a shopping mall, a church,

or an airport – with satisfyingly predictable results.


Dozens were already making their way down the New Jersey turnpike. By their

mindless, “movie” slow pace, he knew they hadn’t fed. Zombies weren’t exactly Jesse Owens on

the best of days, but they tended to move a lot faster with a little brain in the old furnace.


If Fred could breathe, he would have sighed. It looked like hundreds of zombies would

be fighting over eight brains and assorted bits. Assuming the breathers were able to take out 10

to 20% of the attacking hoard before being overwhelmed, that still left about ten zombies per

breather. With luck, however, he would still be the brainiac of the pack by the time he got there.

Having one’s wits about it gave a zombie an edge in the hunt. Depending on the specific virus

strain or whatever it was that put the mojo in their mortified flesh, some undead could reason and

even remember who they were as breathers. So far Fred hadn’t come across any other “thinkers,”

as he called himself, but he couldn’t imagine he was the only one.


By mid-afternoon, he found himself actually enjoying his walk down the turnpike. Most

of the fires had burned themselves out and although the air still reeked of burning gasoline, the

skies were relatively smoke-free. Even a walking corpse could appreciate a warm, spring day

like this one. Fred pulled his lips up in what should have been a grin.


    Death, ruin and destruction improved the New Jersey Turnpike.

Not that there wasn’t a black lining to be found around his own little rainbow of a life.

Most of the zombies were a few hundred yards down the road, but two lesser undead doggedly

tagged alongside of Fred, putting a bit of a damper on things. The virus left them as nothing

more than, well, nothing more than zombies. They were about as interesting as slugs and moaned

so much that, were Fred alive, he’d be sporting a hell of a migraine.


All in all, however, the day was turning out quite well. He could almost convince himself

being undead wasn’t so bad. Sure, it was bad luck that he was 45 years old with a rather large

potbelly when he had been bitten by that damned clerk. Being cursed to wander the earth in

search of brains was bad enough, but why couldn’t it have happened when he was twenty years

younger and thirty pounds lighter?


He was imagining wandering the earth in search of fresh brains as a slimmer, sleeker and

younger Fred, when the head of the zombie on his left exploded.


    Shit. He limped over to an abandoned Ford Explorer and crouched down, scanning

the area for the source of the ambush. The other walking corpse stopped and stared vacantly,

a low “Braaaaiiiinnnnsss?” emitting from its drooling mouth. Fred felt a sense of relief when a

bullet took the second one through its right eye. Those two had just about gotten on his last dead



A glint of light in the tall grass by a pond off the side of the road revealed the breather’s

position. It looked like there was only the one.


    The lone gunman on the grassy shoal, Fred thought, mentally smiling.

He stood up from behind the Explorer, pointed at the area where the gunman was hidden,

made the undead scream of discovery – then ducked back down behind the SUV and waited.

Several zombies with lesser survival instincts turned off the road and converged on the field. A

bullet dropped another one and Fred saw a figure pop up from the tall grass and start running. A

collective moan escaped from the zombies and they began to shuffle a little faster. But unless the

breather tripped, broke both legs and fell asleep, he’d be fine — for now.


Fred got up and started limping toward Exit 14. It would be another hour or so before he

reached the airport. Most of the zombies were still on the road. After taking into account the ones

that had left to chase the gunman and Fred’s two undead groupies – now just dead — he figured

there would be plenty of brains for everyone when they got there. Fred was… well, he was — I’m

happy! As he shambled down the turnpike, he began humming a song that was popular before

he was turned. In his mind, it was a happy, catchy tune. But when he hummed it, it sounded a lot

like “Braaiinnss . . .”



    If you like what you read or just have some spare change lying around, you can

download “I’ve Been Deader” here: http://tinyurl.com/Shambler