Zombies at Tifffany’s is Sam Stone’s latest novel. It is a stand-alone novel, unlike Silent Sands (to be reviewed soon), which is part of her ongoing Vampire Gene series. As the title might suggest, Zombies at Tiffany’s is a zombie apocalypse set in and around the popular outlet in New York. Unfortunately, the title also suggests a certain popular song by Deep Blue Something, so do not be surprised if you find yourself mentally singing along to the aforementioned song.
Plot-wise, Zombies at Tiffany’s echoes George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which was set in a American shopping mall surrounded by zombies. Sam Stone has shifted the setting slightly from an anonymous shopping mall to New York’s Tiffany’s emporium, and shifted the time-frame from modern-day America to the American Revolution.
Unlike George A. Romero’s classic film, Sam Stone takes the time to establish her characters and their relationships, rather than dropping them in at the deep end. This slow-burn introduction to Zombies at Tiffany’s leaves us with a greater understanding of the story’s protagonist Kat Lightfoot, as she starts working for the exclusive Tiffany’s store.
However, as you might imagine given the imminent zombie invasion (and hopefully, this is not too much of a plot-spoiler, givem that they are mentioned in the title), this is no ordinary Tiffany’s. For starters there is an inventive genius lurking in the basement, who has just happened to create the world’s first portable gatling gun. And just why is the top floor permanently locked? As we can see, Sam Stone has taken more than a few liberties with the setting.
Alongside Kat, we meet the store manager of Tiffany’s and her colleagues, as well as said inventor. Unfortunately, due to the condensed size of the novel (about 185 pages) and the necessity of maintaining the story’s pacing, these secondary characters are only lightly expanded, which consequently leaves them feeling shallow. There is an undertone of black humour running through Zombies at Tiffany’s, which adds a layer of parody to the events and pokes fun at some of the more ludicrous elements of our society.
The zombies within this novel are in the classic Romero style, with all the trappings that can be expected. Whilst the transmission of the zombie virus is through the usual methods (bites), we never actually learn the exact source of the zombie plague.
The book’s theme of materialism echo the aforementioned Dawn of the Dead. This theme is most notable when the zombies are refusing to leave the area surrounding Tiffany’s in search of easier prey than those hidden within.
Ultimately, the plot resolution to Zombies at Tiffany’s feels rather contrived. Whilst there was adequate foreshadowing that it did not come across entirely like deus ex machina, there was little reason or explanation as to why it should happen. Similarly, the speedy plot resolution means that there are some plot strands that are left unresolved.