Tag Archive: Nick Anderson


I’m really excited for this one because I get to be one of the early reviewers for it and because I really enjoyed the first book in the series.  I’m even excited enough to get this one posted on time, so wow.  On a less literary note, I’m also probably not going to be posting any more regarding the DC reboot for a bit, this is just a delay until September when I’ll actually get some of the rebooted comics.  On the the review!

Agent Jackie Rutledge is still haunted by the death of her partner.   She’s falling apart with no anchor and a forced vacation.  In comes a vengeance driven serial killer from the wrong side of Deadworld and powers that she doesn’t understand, the side effects of her previous trip into the land of the dead.  Jackie’s going to have to pull it together long enough to stop the furious ghost of a grieving mother and prevent herself from becoming suspect number one.

The Vengeful Dead by J.N. Duncan continues the story from Deadworld almost from its end.  Jack is still stuck dealing with the emotional upheaval of having failed her partner and being dragged into Deadworld.  She and Nick are still uneasy around each other, though he seems much more able to move on that she does.  They have to rely on each other to find Rosa and convince her to stop, and convincing her to stop could easily kill them both and destroy all they care about.  It’s also one of the most entertaining urban fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time with elements of a murder mystery police thriller and the best parts of a good romance novel.  It’s quickly becoming one of a handful of series that keep me interested in urban fantasy and make me want more.  In fact, the only low point I can think of is that the antagonist was painfully one note for most of the book, and I’m fairly sure that she was written that way on purpose.

It’s the character growth here that makes the book excellent Jack is still damaged, still angry and confused, and still incapable of standing on her own.  She’s stubborn beyond belief though and hits rock bottom quickly thanks to her new powers and the stress of literally chasing ghosts.  Nick is still prone to melancholy and worrying about Jack being afraid of him, but he grows enough of a spine to decide to live his unlife and try for the relationship.  Shelby seems to be growing more and more into Jackie’s trickster mentor, pissing Jackie off enough to make her tear down her own walls and grow as a character.  I’m a little disappointed with Laurel’s use in the book, she’s the only one who doesn’t seem to grow much and remains for the most part just Jackie’s worried friend who wants Jack to heal enough to function on her own.  That said I also expect that she’ll get more character development as the series continues and that makes me happy.

I’m OK with waiting for the next Deadworld novel only because I only have to wait until next April and because I get to be an early reviewer for this one.  The series is good enough and The Vengeful Dead is enough better than Deadworld that I don’t particularly want to wait, but I can. Duncan is now an immediate add to my “to read” list.  Where does that leave my review of The Vengeful Dead?  It leaves it at a four and a half out of five because I still can’t get Rosa out of my head as just a horribly driven monster.

So, editing on 8/31/2016, I stopped doing half stars in my reviews pretty quickly since most places that host reviews require an even number out of five. So, for the sake of the new “Rating” category, this is counted as a five star book.

 

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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.