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Dying to Live: Life Sentence Paperback – March 7, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Permuted Press (March 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934861111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934861110
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A thinking man's zombie novel. Paffenroth has looked beyond the initial bloodshed to what happens after the end of the world. He explores deep philosophical issues while never letting the horror fan go hungry for gore. --David Wellington, author of MONSTER ISLAND

More About the Author

I am a graduate of St John's College, Annapolis (1988), Harvard Divinity School (1990), and the University of Notre Dame (1995). I work at Iona College. I am married with two wonderful children. I am blessed to be able to write about the things that interest me and share my ideas with others.

Customer Reviews

I think this book is quite good for a zombie novel.
D. Allen
Fans of zombies, horror, action, and literature in general should all find something of value in reading this.
R. Clark
Great character development, I cared about the characters well being.
El Muan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nick Cato on January 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
After the author's impressive debut novel, DYING TO LIVE, I couldn't wait to get my hands on its sequel (but was prevented from getting to it sooner due to my ever expanding TBR pile).

LIFE SENTENCE picks up 12 years after the events of DTL. This time our survivors have cleared and fenced themselves into a large area just outside of a major city. The groups' spiritual leader, Milton, continues to use his supernatural gift to horde the undead into holding bins; the aggressive ones go to one area, the seemingly less aggressive to another. When Milton's protégé, Will, notices two zombies in the latter area behaving almost like "normal" humans, he soon befriends them.

Most of the novel is told from one of the intelligent zombies' viewpoint (we discover his name is Wade Truman, a former college professor who is slowly trying to remember his past life, and whose notes we're now reading). He meets an undead woman named Lucy, and together they spend their days and nights writing, reading, and playing the violin (but trust me . . . this isn't funny or cheesy in the least; Paffenroth truly develops his zombies as much as his human characters).

The second storyline the novel follows is Zoey, a teenage outcast who agrees to take her "vows" to the community. She's as deadly with a gun as she is with her wit, and eventually Will and her situations meet for a finale that's exciting, scary, and best of all, a HUGE cut above your standard zombie fare.

Paffenroth continues to explore zombies from a philosophical angle, this time bringing out the humanity of his two intelligent monsters: neither of them want to eat the living, despite it being a newfound instinct.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Adam Groves on January 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a sequel to Paffenroth's 2007 novel DYING TO LIVE. I haven't read that book but had no trouble getting into LIFE SENTENCE, as its subject matter was familiar to me from the films that inspired it. The author has written a book on the cinema of George Romero (2006's GOSPEL OF THE LIVING DEAD) and clearly knows the territory inside and out.
Yet Paffenroth has used his Romero-filched elements in thoughtful and literate fashion. There is the requisite gore, of course, and quite a few nerdy movie references (including a store named Argento and a play on the classic ALIENS line about "real monsters") but the book's true aims are strictly of the philosophical variety.
The setting is a world where the living dead rule and a band of non-zombified people subside in an abandoned museum. The two main characters are Zoey, a pre-teen coming to terms with life in this nightmare world, and Truman, an "evolved" zombie who was once a university professor. In his current state Truman's memories are all-but nonexistent, forcing him to relearn everything; as his curiosity about himself and the world around him grows, Truman finds himself rejecting the anti-social activities of his fellow deaders. Along the way he connects with a fellow zombie named Lucy, and love (of a sort) blossoms.
In the meantime Zoey is maturing into a full-fledged zombie killer, having undergone an intricate initiation ceremony. She and Truman mirror each other in their inquisitiveness about the world around them, and before long Zoey, Truman and Lucy will meet...with unexpected results. The conclusion is (in keeping with the novel's overall tone) thoughtful and contemplative, playing down the expected mayhem in favor of a deeply felt, hard-won humanity.
From a writing standpoint the novel is impeccable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Buccellato on February 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I received this book as a gift from a friend who didn't realize that this was the continuation of Dying to Live!
It did not affect my immersion into Mr. Paffenroth's world in the least and that is testament to the skill with which he so completely creates his world. His characters are multidimensional, especially his Intelligent Zombies. In fact we fear them all the more since their strong connection to we humans is made all the more apparent by our shared lust for blood. (this becomes evident during a battle late in the book with some marauding, bloodthirsty bandits).
This book has been lauded as a Thinking Man's Zombie book and it is that but it is also much more. Mr. Paffenroth wants us to see the Undead as part of the circle of life, inextricably tied to us and necessary for our evolution. Just as the young Zoey must evolve through the Rites of Passage in order to become accepted in her society, so to must the remaining humans at the end of his book, evolve and rise above their lust for murder or perish. This was an excellent horror book with all the gore and terror elements sure to please any Zombie aficionado! Buy it and enjoy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Penny on December 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Kim Paffenroth's first book, Dying to Live: A Novel of Live among the Undead; however, his follow up book did not quite capture me in the same way. I felt that I was split in that I was deeply enraptured by the subplot surrounding Wade, but I was much less enthused in reading about Zoey. Clearly this is a matter of perspective as the vast majority of readers seem to thoroughly enjoy the whole story.

Zoey's character just didn't capture my interest in the same way as the first novel held you rapt with Jonah and Milton. There was something in her thoughts and feelings that seemed a bit hollow or missing, and that lead me to be less interested in her story, especially in comparison to Wade.

Still, in the story of Wade Truman, the thoughtful zombie, Paffenroth crosses a line that hasn't been broached since Romero with his character "Bub" in Day of the Dead. Paffenroth explores the mind and feelings of the zombie. He pulls the reader in to see them in a different light, and in doing so, he confuses those seemingly clear lines between "good" and "evil". I still wish to read more about the story of Wade and Blue Eye. I feel that the story with them wasn't over, and I'd love to see it continue.

Despite my mixed review, I'd still recommend the book, particularly for individuals already familiar with Paffenroth's take on the zombie apocalypse. He continues to twist the traditional zombie template to hold the reader's attention and stir them to think in a genre that doesn't always command that.
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