a list of good reads for this summer, including the Eric Carter series by Stephen Blackmoore. I adored the roller coaster ride that was book 1 and am eagerly awaiting the release of book 2, Broken Souls, in August. In the meantime, I decided to read Blackmoore's CITY OF THE LOST as an appetizer.
The blurb: "Joe Sunday has been a Los Angeles low-life for years, but his life gets a whole lot lower when he is killed by the rival of his crime boss-only to return as a zombie. His only hope is to find and steal a talisman that he learns can grant immortality. But, unfortunately for Joe, every other undead thug and crime boss in Los Angeles is looking for the same thing."
Set in a gritty world populated by even grittier characters, I really enjoyed this read. Most of the zombie books I've read are from the perspective of the people fighting/running from/reporting on the shambling zombie hordes, but in those books I'm less interested in the zombies as characters, more the humans fighting to survive. There have been a few books I've read from the zombie's perspective and treading that fine line between grossing you out and making you sympathize and root for the character to triumph is a difficult job. Blackmoore succeeds here with Joe Sunday, a criminal used to doing bad things to other (mostly bad) people. Joe quickly winds up over his head and thrown into the supernatural side of LA. He has to do what he does best (kicking ass) to save himself and the rest of the magical underworld of LA.
Like the best noir stories, you aren't quite sure who to trust until the end, and even then it's an iffy proposition. Fast-paced, action-packed with sly humor, this zombie book is going on my favorites list. There is some gore (it IS a zombie book) but not so much that it took me out of the story. I got Joe. True, I would never hire him as a babysitter, but if I needed someone to take out a crazy-powerful sorcerer then Joe's a good fit for the job. I also liked the secondary characters, and for some of them, I liked their comeuppance even more. They all came together in this very dark world where vampires are junkies, demons abound, and you can't take anyone on face value.
City of the Lost is set in the same universe as the Eric Carter books, but it is not a part of that series. Some characters from this book do show up in both Eric Carter books. I think I can remember at least one. I sense a re-read of Dead Things. There are also two short stories, one that will be in Fireside Magazine later this year, and Fix, a free short story on Blackmoore's website.
Note: Back in May 2012, Laurie recommended City of the Lost. Yes, I should have listened then, but I'm glad that I finally read this kickass zombie book.
CITY OF THE LOST Amazon | Kobo | B&N | Indiebound
DEAD THINGS (Eric Carter #1) Amazon | B&N |Kobo | Indiebound
BROKEN SOULS (Eric Carter #2) Pre-order Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
FIX (free short fiction) http://stephenblackmoore.com/fix/