Monday, February 08, 2010

Deadtown - Nancy Holzner



Deadtown
Nancy Holzner
Ace

Urban Fantasy

Lots of parents like to think they’ve got their kid’s life mapped out at birth. For Victory (Vicky) Vaughn, that’s pretty much true. Long before she was born, her father, a Cerdorion – Welsh shape-shifter – received a visit in a dream from Saint Michael and Saint David, in which he learned that he would have a daughter, she would fight demons, and she would be named Victory. Unfortunately, when it came time to name their newborn, mom was woozy on painkillers and dad filled out the paperwork. So, Victory she is.

Like all Paranormals, Vicky – a demon-slaying shape shifter - lives in Deadtown. That’s not a choice; that’s a law. Ever since a mysterious plague hit Boston and created a large zombie population, the norms have been much happier with all the ‘scary stuff’ contained in one part of the city, surrounded by a sort of DMZ. Of course there are those fighting for the rights of Paranormal Americans (PA,) most definitely including Kane, a handsome attorney who works tirelessly to bring the issue before lawmakers and just happens to be a werewolf. And Vicky’s sometime-boyfriend.

The night’s job seemed fairly routine: get rid of a Drude, a demon haunting her client’s dreams. Once the demon is dispatched, something strange blows through the room. No one notices but Vicky. Later events reveal that a Hellion – a demon who causes and feeds on destruction – is somehow loose in the city. Vicky and this Hellion have a personal history. At their last meeting, it marked her, and she’s not quite sure what that means for her.

This is the first novel in a new urban fantasy series, so a bit of time is devoted to introducing the characters and their various histories. This time around, the author chooses to toss readers right into the middle of one of Vicky’s jobs. It’s and exciting and original sequence and sets the stage for the rest of the novel. We meet Vicky, and Tina, the eternal zombie teenager. The way it’s written makes the reader eager to uncover both past and future events. It’s an original take on zombies, both with regard to their creation and their future prospects.

Vampires and werewolves are present, but are handled in a unique way. It makes complete sense in our current society that a large population of paranormals would be lobbying for equal rights, and, sadly, it makes the same amount of sense that there would be those who oppose that. The author does a great job of balancing personal lives and broader issues; action sequences and necessary history; what affects one character and what affects everyone. Vicky is a great new character and I hope we see a lot more of her.

Rating: 8
January 2009
ISBN# 978-0-441-01813-0 (paperback)

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