Dead Things - Stephen Blackmoore
Paranormal Noir Thriller
Fifteen years ago, Eric Carter left Los Angeles following the grisly deaths of his parents. They were both magic users, and that gave them power, and people with power inevitably make enemies. Eric knows who killed his parents. The last thing he did before he left was to take care of that person. He left his kid sister, Lucy, behind in the care of family friend Alex Kim. Alex has a bit of magic; Lucy has virtually none. Since she has no magic, Eric figured she’d be safe. He figured wrong.
Each person manifests a different aspect of magic, with a different degree of skill and power. Eric is a necromancer. He works with the dead and death magic and he’s good at it. He’s made a decent living travelling to whatever place/person needs his particular skills. Until Alex calls with the news. Lucy is dead; brutally murdered. You might think Eric would just know, but it doesn’t work that way. He has to go back now. He has to see the death scene, see what’s left of his sister. Because she can certainly tell him who killed her. And Eric will take out that person without mercy. That is, if he can stay alive long enough to do the job.
Eric is a tough guy who makes hard choices and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. A lot of his magic needs human blood to work. A lot of spells separate body parts from bodies. Eric works both sides of the veil. Turns out, most of the dead are not happy about it. He uses what (and sometimes who) he needs to get results. In all of the darkness, he’s trying to toe the line. He’s not looking to damn himself, but that might have happened last week or last year, or it might happen with the next spell. Liquor helps sometimes, but not often enough.
Eric tells the story in first person, and he doesn’t mince words. Even he seems surprised by the events in the final pages of the book. The cast of characters is surprisingly large and consists of everything from humans to gods. This is a gritty, bloody, violent, fast story. It gets ugly and it gets unhappy. And if you’re up for it, it’s quite a ride. The follow-up novel is due in August and is already on my must-read list.