Dia De Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that is actually two days honouring the dead. The first day celebrates infants and children and the second celebrates adults who have passed away.
In honour of the Day of the Dead here are some of my favourite books where the dead are not quite so inanimate.
A Hidden Fire – Elizabeth Hunter
A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mysterious manuscript he’s hunted for over five hundred years. He never expected a young student librarian could be the key to unlock its secrets, nor could he have predicted the danger she would attract.
Now he and Beatrice De Novo follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, though the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation hundreds of years in the making.
The day itself makes an appearance in this urban fantasy book.
Get the book: Amazon
““Do you know much about Dia de los Muertos?” Beatrice asked as they walked.
He shook his head. “Not much. I haven’t spent a great deal of time in Latin America.” He knew plenty, of course, but he preferred to hear her explanation.
“It’s not usually celebrated until November second, but the art center hosts a family fair on Halloween so parents have an option other than trick-or-treating for the kids.” Beatrice smiled at a pair of small children in skeleton costumes with flowers in their hair as they rushed past on the way to the carnival games.”
My Life as a White Trash Zombie – Diana Rowland
Angel Crawford is a loser.
Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she’s a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who’s been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.
That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn’t have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there’s a job waiting for her at the parish morgue—and that it’s an offer she doesn’t dare refuse.
Before she knows it she’s dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey—just when she’s hungriest!
Angel’s going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn’t, she’s dead meat.
Highly entertaining zombie series.
Pet Sematary – Stephen King
Sometimes dead is better….
When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son — and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.
But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth — more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.
King at his finest.
Halfway to the Grave – Jeaniene Frost
Flirting with the Grave…
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father – the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.
In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner – are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.
Very raunchy but still fits the urban fantasy bill.
The Lesser Dead – Christopher Buehlman
The secret is, vampires are real and I am one.
The secret is, I’m stealing from you what is most truly yours and I’m not sorry—
New York City in 1978 is a dirty, dangerous place to live. And die. Joey Peacock knows this as well as anybody—he has spent the last forty years as an adolescent vampire, perfecting the routine he now enjoys: womanizing in punk clubs and discotheques, feeding by night, and sleeping by day with others of his kind in the macabre labyrinth under the city’s sidewalks.
The subways are his playground and his highway, shuttling him throughout Manhattan to bleed the unsuspecting in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park or in the backseats of Checker cabs, or even those in their own apartments who are too hypnotized by sitcoms to notice him opening their windows. It’s almost too easy.
Until one night he sees them hunting on his beloved subway. The children with the merry eyes. Vampires, like him…or not like him. Whatever they are, whatever their appearance means, the undead in the tunnels of Manhattan are not as safe as they once were.
And neither are the rest of us.
One of the best vampire books I’ve read.
Synopsis from Goodreads.