Given that it’s a Tuesday and I’m still studying for finals, I thought I’d take a quick break to post my review for J. N. Duncan’s Deadworld and remind everyone about the Maiden in Light giveaway that ends on the first.
FBI agent Jackie Rutledge is at least as tough as any of the supernatural killers she’s faced before, but when bodies start showing up exsanguinated and totally clean of evidence she finds herself faced with needing help beyond the FBI’s resources. For this case she and her partner Laurel are going to have to rely on the Bruce Wane-esque P.I. Nick Anderson and his team of odd ball supernaturals. Can they trust him though? Nick’s keeping secrets that stretch back over a century that may drag Jackie and Laurel far further into a twisted game of vengeance than they ever should have gone.
My impressions of J. N. Duncan’s Deadworld are colored by his use of a few tropes that tend to really annoy me as well as an immediate degree of respect for his writing for using them in a way that takes them from annoying to genuine feeling plot twists and bits of character development. Jackie is six kinds of emotionally messed up and hard to like because of it, but then character development happens. She’s still messed up, but it’s an understandable level of messed up that she doesn’t just magically get over all of the sudden. Laurel’s most blatant characterization for a big chunk of the book seems based on her sexuality, but she’s not written as just a bundle of stereotypes and gets nearly as much development as the main characters. Nick gets slightly less active development, the guy’s a pile of secrets and guilt from cover to cover, but he gets a back story that shows why he has that guilt and a personality that almost gives reason to the secrets. That said, the villain is never given any reason for his actions aside from doing it for the sheer evil of it and to mess with Nick for no adequately explained reason. I will complain that there were some moments of dialogue that seemed completely out of character and threw me for a bit of a loop, especially towards the end. It’s also a nitpicky little thing, it may be the stilettos or the leather pants, but I can’t see Jackie as the cover model. It’s also worth mentioning that Duncan didn’t immediately shoe horn Jackie and Nick into a relationship, a definite plus in my book as they’re both too damaged for something that fast to work out, but seems to be easing them towards something.
For the little things and the fact that I have problems with the lack of villainous reasoning, I give it a four out of five and wait impatiently for the October release of book two The Vengeful Dead.