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This is on the tip of my tongue, but it was a book that I read somewhere between 2015 and 2020, in English, either as a paperback or an electronic book (I don't think I listened to it as an audiobook), part of a series with at least three books (that's as many as I remember reading). I don't remember if the main character was actually a detective, or just needed to occasionally find out more information, but what's sticking with me is that he occasionally kills the undead (the bad ones), and one of his informants is a zombie who resides in a heavily fortified movie theatre. One of the reasons for the zombie picking the location was that it was already built to be air conditioned (I think with an indication that the dead body of the zombie tended to decay and/or just smell when not kept cold) and that the zombie in question was a bit of a cinephile. They might have also been really into music, because I remember that the main character "pays" for information with rare collectibles, and I think one of them was a record. Although, in retrospect, it might have been a film reel, and part of me also wants to say that cigars and whiskey (said zombie could still smell and taste them) were part of the bribe.

The zombie has an extensive computer network, which is how they ferret out information, and the theatre's heavily fortified with security doors, booby traps, and weapon turrets. In one of the books, the main character realizes that his informant has been compromised, and tries to contact them to let them know, but only gets a dead connection. When they arrive, they find that the informant has survived, although the bad guys nearly got through their defenses, and they're rightly paranoid that the main character was the source of the attack.

I want to say that the zombie was described as being very pale-skinned, and maybe dressed in loud colors.

That's everything I can think of at the moment, will add more later if it comes to me.

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    You start out talking about a single book, but in the 2nd para you say "In one of the books"; was this a series?
    – DavidW
    Aug 31, 2021 at 16:33
  • Good catch. Yes, this was a series. I read all of the books I could get my hands on (three, I think) in a short period of time, I think. I don't remember if there were more books and, if so, why I was unable to locate them. It might have been as a simple as that my library didn't carry copies and I was being self-aware enough to realize that by the time they arrived via ILL, I'd have yet another backlog of books to work through.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 31, 2021 at 16:43
  • Was the protagonist a zombie too? Do you read Kevin J. Anderson?
    – DavidW
    Aug 31, 2021 at 16:51
  • @DavidW: I have read some of the Dan Shamble books, and was poking around for the character, but I think I figured it out.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 31, 2021 at 16:55
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    I'm sure there was a character like that in one of the "Sandman Slim" books by Richard Kadrey. Plus he lived in an old video store and had some rare/collectible films. Smoking and booze is very frequently referenced.
    – lolrus
    Sep 1, 2021 at 11:35

1 Answer 1

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OK, and I found it via an unexpected vector. While trying to research Space vampires and bounty hunters, I was looking at the TV Tropes page for Abnormal Ammo, which mentioned the Felix Castor series. That name caught my eye, and I followed to the entry, which includes a mention that their "zombies" are

ghosts who have possessed their old bodies and climbed out of their graves. Usually little more than shamblers, some are able to function in society. Especially with a bit of voodoo to keep things from decaying Fix's friend Nicky, a paranoid Conspiracy Theorist, is a zombie who actually thrives off being dead and "off the grid".

This blog entry mentions Nicky as being an informant who likes old records, wax cylinders, and red wine.

“Nicky Heath is a zombie that Castor uses for information,” the writer said. “Being a zombie he doesn’t have much use for the physical world, but what Castor does is give him things like old music on 78 records or wax cylinders. Especially early Jazz recordings. He also gives him red wine, which Nicky isn’t able to drink but likes to smell. Nicky is a great character to write as well. I did a Nicky Heath short story in an anthology called ‘The New Dead.’”

A Google Books excerpt in The Naming of the Beasts mentions:

Nicky makes sure that the Walthamstow Gaumont, the long-disused and recently renovated cinema he's made his home, is as cold as an Eskimo's sock drawer...

It seems there are five books in the series, and the first three have plotlines that sound familiar to me.

This was the unaccepted answer to Book about a demon and spooky stuff investigator with a musical instrument, which likely explains why I was turned on to the books.

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