This followup to 2010’s Dust unfortunately doesn’t reach the bar set by the first novel; then again, that bar was exceptionally high. Turner has a gift for creating a horrifying yet realistic world, and for turning a deliciously creepy phrase. But this heroine lacks the zest and magnetism of Dust’s Jessie, and the last half is bogged down with confusing plot twists and incongruous paranormal details. This is the second in a trilogy, however, and one hopes that Frail will fit once the story is complete.
Amy is the sole human survivor of a mysterious plague that turned humans into insatiable zombie-like creatures, and zombies into something ... else. Now everything’s an ex: ex-human, ex-zombie — except for Amy, whose scent of mortality draws predators near. She’s searching for her mother, missing for years and presumed dead, for answers, and for a way to survive, especially now that she’s being haunted by a ghost dog. She befriends Lisa, an ex-human, and they get caught up in a settlement for exes, where the leaders seem to know a lot more than they let on. (ACE, Oct., 384 pp., $24.95)