Frankie & Formaldehyde

Rated 4.33/5 based on 3 reviews
Frankie works at the Happy Restful Sanitorium, a housing facility for those who choose to keep their loved ones around long after their death. With so many hungry bodies around, life is difficult—Especially when Frankie’s husband, George, somehow becomes infected. Frankie soon discovers that hiding an illegal zombie isn’t as easy as she’d thought.
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Words: 33,090
Language: English
ISBN: 9780973046649
About M Jones

M Jones has been published in many venues, both online and in print, and made her first foray into the experimental medium of web serials with 314 Crescent Manor.

The fidgety dead have been known to rise and walk about, especially in M Jones's novel Frankie And Formaldehyde, available at Smashwords.

Experimental horror that blends science fiction, suspense, drama and a good scare are the tools of M Jones's trade.

That sound heard in the upper floors of a semi-detached home are the scrapings of poisoned knife tips on an old Olympia typewriter. The letters hit the blank page like clacking teeth.

Never read over her shoulder.


"A great story premise, a great cast of quirky characters, and fantastic dialogue." - Zoe E Whitten, author of Peter the Wolf

"A fantastic, fun, and philosophical read." - Nancy Brauer, author of Strange Little Band

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Also by This Author


Review by: Zoe E. Whitten on Aug. 31, 2011 :
Frankie and Formaldehyde is a strong story right from the start, and it just keeps building on those strengths as the plot unfolds.

Take a zombie nursing home similar to the kind depicted in Michele Lee's Rot. But instead of magic animating these undead, a corporation, Osmosis, Inc. has created a compound to bring the dead back to life. But unlike most zombie apocalypse stories, Osmosis does not entirely lose control of the situation, and the undead are herded into arenas and fed. Afterward, the company is even selling the compound to grieving family members using predatory ad campaigns to prey on peoples' inability to accept death.

Enter into this cold world an elderly woman named Frankie, who, along with coworkers Shirley and Larry, shovels rotting meat to the corpses in one of the arenas. She works constantly because Osmosis has taken over her bank and swindled her on her home loan.

Did I mention that Frankie's husband is a zombie? George isn't like the others, and instead of being a violent "rogue" he passes most of his days watching TV and eating bacon raw. But when Frankie leaves her door unlocked in a fit of worrying, George gets outside and begins to uncover a plot by Osmosis to strip everyone's land. Only…George seems to have discovered this before, back when he was alive…

Enter into this mess a S.I.R. investigating office, Chuck. A retired cop now working to investigate and eliminate rogues, Chuck is rightly seen by everyone as the corporate errand boy of Osmosis. Like Frankie, Chuck is in denial about how bad things have gotten, but as the story unfolds, Chuck sees how scummy Osmosis really is. Eventually, he must come to terms with this, but not before confronting George and Frankie in a truly explosive finale.

But, this is not a fast-paced story. The cast's ages range from 40-70 in most cases, so the pace moves a bit slower, befitting the cast's age. But this is not to say the story is slow or dull. It unfolds at just the right pace and delivers a great ending. There's resolution, but Shirley predicts that there can be no happy ending. And this is perhaps the most realistic assessment of their future.

So to recap, this is a great story premise, a great cast of quirky characters, fantastic dialogue, and a romantic angle that's all about love and sacrifice and nothing about sex. The scenes were descriptive enough to rip shudders from my jaded black heart, and toward the end, I was giggling gleefully with every line from Shirley or Larry. Can I gush about this story further? Yes, but I'll spare you.

I give Frankie and Formaldehyde 5 enthusiastic stars and recommend it to all zombie and horror fans who like a little brains with their blood and guts.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: amanda on Jan. 30, 2011 :
In a day and age where vampires and zombies seem to be coming more and more common, this book provides a philosphical edge to the boring old story. Is eternal life all that it is cracked up to be?? I really did like the story's plot, but I felt like it could have been taken further. I would read another book by this author.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Nancy Brauer on Dec. 22, 2010 :
Know this: I don't like zombies. At all. They're yucky and creepy and I'm very glad they only live in the land of make-believe. *shudder*

The only reason I started reading Frankie & Formaldehyde is because I've enjoyed M. Jones' other works, particularly 314 Crescent Manor. I'm glad I pushed past my zombie bigotry for this novel. It's a fantastic, fun, and philosophical read.

Former retiree Frankie works 80 hours per week at the Happy Restful Afterlife Home. Why afterlife? Because Osmosis Industries, Inc. is peddling the Osmosis 37 enzyme, which grants life everlasting to the deceased who can afford the treatment. The trouble is that the undead devolve into mindless, rotting, flesh-eating animals. Grief and Osmosis' marketing machine have blinded much of the populace to this fact. Consequently, Osmosis has built tens of "afterlife homes" to keep their dead customers from consuming their living ones. Jones has thought out the ramifications of this horrific business model and weaves them through the novel.

Frankie toils to support her husband George, who'd been incapacitated by a stroke. George died in his sleep... and woke up. He's a "rogue," albeit a mysteriously benign one. Although it's a capital offense to harbor rogue undead, George is still Frankie's husband. There's a bit of his soul in his pasty-skinned corpse. Frankie can't bring herself to turn George over to Osmosis, or worse, one of the afterlife homes. So she attempts to maintain the status quo until the other shoe drops, and boy does it ever!

The grim setting of Frankie & Formaldehyde is lightened by black comedy and gallows humor. How often do you see a zombie shop for Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts? I never thought I'd root for a zombie, especially one with such tragic fashion sense.

I recommend Frankie & Formaldehyde to zombie lovers and haters alike. The romance aspect is almost platonic, so you don't have to worry about mental images of the living getting it on with the dead. It's about life-long relationships, loyalty, and the natural order of things with a healthy dose of wit and social commentary. The novel is kind of a philosophical "Shaun of the Dead," as evidenced by these quotes.

"A man's got to choose how he lives. ... He shouldn't have to choose how he dies."

"Live, die, something else lives. The very soil humanity walks upon is built up from death. Digging into a flowerbed means digging into bones."

"The Happy Restful. Where all your screams are joyous."
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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