I don’t even know how I discovered Stephen Blackmoore. I think you can blame Chuck Wendig. And Twitter. That’s probably it. But I found him and oh my giddy aunt am I ever glad that I did.
I grabbed his newest book, DEAD THINGS, about a week ago as of this writing, read it in 2 days on transit, and I have to say that it was some of the best money I have ever spent.
The story is about a necromancer named Eric Carter who is called back to his hometown of Los Angeles by the sudden death of his sister. And hey, who says you can’t go home again? It’s only been 15 years for Eric and now that he’s back some big bad juju is stirring in the City of Angels and he’s at the center of it all. He’s being hounded by ghosts from his past, and he’s being watched with great interest by Santa Muerta, the Lady Saint of the Dead. The magic and mythology in the book blend so perfectly with the modern day setting it’s enough to make you believe in magic again.
My initial impression of this book is that it’s a darker, grittier and angrier version of the Dresden Files (by Jim Butcher, and I highly recommend those books for all of you wizard and noir detective loving readers out there.) Coming as a fan of Dresden, I have to say that DEAD THINGS filled a hole in myself that I didn’t realise was even there. It’s punchy and smart and gets right to the nitty-gritty without much set-up. We’re thrown directly into Eric Carter’s world.
By the way, Eric Carter is a clever, angry young man who deals with the dead on a daily basis and can’t get rid of them. He lives in a dark and dangerous world where the slightest mistake can kill him and everyone he cares about.
Blackmoore’s writing is sharp, clever, and it punches you in the face, grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the end. He skips all of the pop culture, talking for the sake of talking bullshit that tends to clutter up a narrative (especially in the noir crime genre) and gets straight to the action. The plot pumps along at a brutal clip but never feels rushed. I was completely immersed in the world and more than once I needed to stop reading and get my bearings because I forgot where I was. (Lesson here: Don’t read such amazing books on public transit on the way to work. Try something sucky. Like Twilight. Actually, don’t try Twilight.)
Anyway, the plot twists were subtle enough to surprise but not so far out of left field that you aren’t entirely blindsided. I had quite a few “I knew it!” and “AH-HA!” moments as I was reading this book, and I loved every single one of them. I’m already chomping at the bit for the next one and it’s not even written yet.
OH MY GAWD I DUNNO HOW I’M GOING TO COPE WITH THE WAITING. (Mister Blackmoore, if you’re reading this I sincerely loved this book and seriously am having withdrawals already because I can’t read the next one. You immersed me completely, made me forget about the real world and made me fall in love with the characters. Yes, even Eric. [Especially Eric.] Even Vivian. Even Alex. But not Griffin. Screw that guy. And also, this is a heartfelt plea to get you to write faster because, dammit, I am impressed beyond comprehension and I’m already desperate to see where this is going.)
I can’t recommend this book enough, I have a feeling that my copy is going to get passed around like a skin mag in Sing-Sing, but that’s okay.
Seriously. Go. Get. This. Book. And while you’re waiting for the next one, go catch up with Harry Dresden.