I enjoy Caine’s writing. Her Morganville Vampires series stood out in a cluttered sub-genre as a classy, chilling take on the blood-sucking varmints – see my review of the first book, Glass Houses, here. The series I suspect she is more famous for, the Weather Warden series, is such a sharply cool idea that I recalling grinning with the pleasure of it as I read the opening pages of the first book in the series, Ill Wind – read my review here.
So when I came across this offering, I immediately scooped it up figuring that Caine’s take on zombies was likely to be worth reading – and I wasn’t wrong.
After dying and being revived with the experimental drug Returné, Bryn Davis is theoretically free to live her unlife – with regular doses to keep her going. But Bryn knows that the government has every intention of keeping a tight lid on Pharmadene’s life-altering discovery, no matter the cost.
Thankfully, some things have changed for the better; her job at the rechristened Davis Funeral Home is keeping her busy and her fragile romance with Patrick McCallister is blossoming – thanks in part to their combined efforts in forming a support group for Returné addicts. But when some of the group members suddenly disappear, Bryn is called in to find out what is going on – and suddenly her life is once more turned inside out…
That is most of the blurb. I hadn’t read the first book, Working Stiff, but Caine is far too an experienced and canny a writer to lose readers like me who still insist on picking up mid-series books, so it wasn’t a major problem. I soon came up to speed as slices of necessary information interleaved the action. For the more squeamish among you, I’d like to reassure you that although this is a zombie-chick book, stomach-churning descriptions of rotting corpses are kept to a minimum.
Which doesn’t mean that it’s all sweetness and light – it isn’t. There is a torture scene where the torturer waves a spoon threateningly near the victim’s eyes and mentions how she doesn’t have to hold back. And then we cut to the aftermath. Leaving the reader to join the dots and realise the full horror of being subjected to an extraordinarily painful procedure – then left to regenerate, before having to relive the ordeal all over again.
The pacing in places is a tad uneven, and the story did take a while to get going – which those of you familiar with Caine’s other work, will know is uncharacteristic. But it wasn’t a dealbreaker – I liked Bryn and enjoyed the premise far too much to be remotely tempted to abandon this entertaining book.
Caine brought the narrative to a satisfactory conclusion – while leaving a particular plotpoint regarding Bryn’s relationship with Patrick at an intriguing impasse. So I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series called, Terminated, and if you enjoyed Caine’s other series but haven’t yet given this one a go, then track it down. It’s worth it.